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iPhone's Game Potential As a Threat to Java Phone Games

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the your-tempest-is-boiling dept.

Communications 260

Ian Lamont writes "In the runup to Apple's WWDC 2008, Chris Tompkins thinks that the iPhone's gaming potential 'might finally put the lackluster Java-based cell phone gaming market to death.' He cites the iPhone's use of Core Animation adapted for ARM processors, which he says allows for the advanced effects of OS X and now OpenGL-accelerated 3D games, as well as the importance of an on-demand store and Internet connection. Tompkins says that while certain genres lend themselves to the iPhone's touch controls, such as real-time strategy games (think StarCraft) the lack of physical controls will force developers to creatively approach the multitouch and accelerometer on the iPhone. His advice to Apple — make a compelling overture to independent game designers, and treat them like rock stars. Tompkins, incidentally, is one of several people who have recently pointed to Apple's mobile gaming potential."

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260 comments

5000 Java Games Torrent Here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705363)

Well not really, but I was wondering WHAT market? Will the Iphone really make a dent in the huge trading arena of java phone games?

mobile phone games .. (0)

sinserve (455889) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705367)

battery drain!

Re:mobile phone games .. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705391)

And they also contribute to global warming.

Re:mobile phone games .. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705431)

And they also contribute to global warming.
So do anonymous cow-farts.

Umm, no. (4, Insightful)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705369)

The iPhone will only put the "lackluster Java-based cell phone gaming market to death" when most phone users out there are iPhone users.

Apple has captured an impressive portion of the smartphone market, but their overall market share among all cellphones is minuscule.

Re:Umm, no. (5, Interesting)

catch23 (97972) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705477)

Yeah well, when they came out with their first version of their iPod music player, it was expensive, bulky, and claimed only a small percentage of the market. Wait a few years and you'll have iPhone Mini/Nanos replacing your Nokia and Sony Ericssons. When the iPod was initially released, one could argue the Mp3 player market was already saturated with no clear winner. One could argue the cell phone market today is pretty similar.

Re:Umm, no. (1, Insightful)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705525)

One big difference though is the ipod is an open platform - the iphone isn't.

Re:Umm, no. (5, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705599)

One big difference though is the ipod is an open platform
In what ways in the iPod an open platform?

It's not open until you put RockBox or Linux on it, and as I understand it, that's no easier or harder than jailbreaking an iPhone.

Re:Umm, no. (4, Interesting)

ya really (1257084) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705727)

The newer ipods have their firmware encrypted so you cant even put rockbox on them. Open platform? Yeah right. Too bad as well, I love rockbox and all the extras it allows. I don't know why apple cares that much.

Re:Umm, no. (5, Informative)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705563)

When the ipod came out, the mp3 player market was empty, there was little to zero competition, and most people didn't own one. They captured the market pretty much by default.

The phone market on the other hand is completely saturated. There is a lot of tough, long-standing competition offering phones which are much better value for money. In many markets, new phones are given away 'free' with contracts, something which is incompatable with the iphone's business model.

Re:Umm, no. (3, Interesting)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705725)

I live in a market where phones often come "free" with contracts. And still, the iPhone came and conquered. The market for "phones" may be saturated, but have you seen mobile phones recently? Their user interfaces are designed by shizophrenic sadists. I know people who avoid entire companies because their UI is so horrible that they classify it as unusable. And these are people who want a phone for the basic functions, like calling someone and keeping an address book. Using the calculator is an advanced usage case for them.

The iPhone taps into that market in addition to the techies who want it for the geek factor, and the marketing dudes who want it for the cool factor, and the Mac-heads who want it for the integration. And the market for people who want a great phone that's easy to use is HUGE. If the rumours are true and Apple will allow subsidies, they could've trouble mass-producing iPhones fast enough.

Re:Umm, no. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705731)

The phone market might be full, but the phone gaming market sucks terribly. There is a lot of opportunity for someone to come in and do it right (unlike, say the Nokia N-Gage).

Look at it this way: the smartphone gaming market is pretty much empty.

Re:Umm, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705985)

I had an mp3 player for years before the iPod came out. It wasn't new, it was cool and well-marketed.

Re:Umm, no. (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705577)

When the iPod was initially released, one could argue the Mp3 player market was already saturated with no clear winner. One could argue the cell phone market today is pretty similar.
Except it isn't similar... at all. First, the iPhone is locked in with AT second, it's a GSM device and only 2 of the big US carriers are GSM; and third, an MP3 player needs to do only one thing: play MP3's. The smart phone market is rife with variations, each targetted to a different facet of the market. I guarantee you're NOT going to have Crackberry addicts or rabid texting teenagers going to the iPhone, with its predictive/presumptive bullshit "keyboard".

Re:Umm, no. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705627)

I guarantee you're NOT going to have Crackberry addicts or rabid texting teenagers going to the iPhone, with its predictive/presumptive bullshit "keyboard".
Actually, I'll bet you'll have a good number of them wanting it for the keyboard alone. The rabid teenagers might not, though, given how expensive they are now.

Re:Umm, no. (3, Interesting)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705741)

As an iPhone owner, I'll be the first to tell you not to buy it for the keyboard. It functions pretty well most of the time, but I'll often find myself hitting return rather than space (it shouldn't be that big of a button) and the auto-correct is really hit or miss. I'll take it over having a physical keyboard and losing half of the screen, but I'd love to be able to carry around a little fold-up keyboard and my iPhone and ditch the laptop when I'd be focusing almost entirely on heavy email and web browsing. I've typed out a few-paragraphs-long email on the virtual keyboard, but it's not to the point where it would replace my laptop entirely for more frequent work.

You'll get more teens buying it than blackberry-lovers, though, especially come tomorrow (?) when apps start becoming available. Money be damned, teens and early-twenties are the ideal market when it comes to spending disposable income, and it's an ideal device for that market (I'm not saying it's overpriced for what it is - I don't regret spending $600 a couple days after it came out - but the majority of cell phones are either provided by businesses to employees (blackberries) or cheap, crappy, free-with-contract types). It will end up as this little bizarre do-everything device at that point, though you can be sure that Apple makes sure that it's core features aren't neglected. The blackberry is too email-centric and if that's your #1 priority, you'll want the "real" keyboard. I'd buy one in a heartbeat if it were to become available, and certainly wouldn't say no to a slide-out version like so many crap phones have today if it didn't compromise anything else on the device (that's probably the one thing that would get me to buy iPhone 2.0, seeing that I have enough trouble getting any signal out here, let alone 3G).

Having played a few games on it of varying quality, it's a pretty nice platform if developers adapt to the interface. Trism is a great example. The NES emulators not so much, since you're just forcing games made for physical controllers in to a touch/accelerometer device (they work well enough, but are awkward as hell). And teens + games = profit. Again, not so much on the blackberry market.

Re:Umm, no. (5, Insightful)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705947)

it's a GSM device and only 2 of the big US carriers are GSM
Did you know that the US only represents a small portion of the world? did you know that GSM is used in every market in the world, and CDMA is only used in the US? sure only 2 US carriers are GSM, but so are all the other carriers in the world! :P

From a futurist's perspective (3, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705533)

This entire discussion about the iPhone's new bling features, in 10 years time will read a bit like the bling new features of a calculator watch. I remember as a kid how everyone sat around comparing who's digital watch had the most buttons, or whether every watch will some day tell you your altitude and temperature and all sorts of other useless rubbish.

I smell feature-creep.

Real futurists look ahead, not behind (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705613)

I smell feature-creep.

A long winded way perhaps, of saying that the iPhone game potential is "Lame"?

OK Mr. "futurist".

Re:Real futurists look ahead, not behind (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706089)

A long winded way perhaps, of saying that the iPhone game potential is "Lame"?
Nah, just that they are putting features into small devices which aren't addressing the real shortcomings which prevent them being as useful as they could be. Speech recognition is much more important IMO, and, in the fantastic future, gaze-detection (eg: direct a pointer with your eyes and say 'go'). Then you can just look at your wrist and say "get me tomorrow's weather in Seattle" and the thing will say "I'm sorry Dave.. " etc.

Re:From a futurist's perspective (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705809)

I remember something similar. We all wanted computers we could carry around. And, we got it. They weren't on our wrist, unless we bought a strap to put it there for some reason. But wearable computers is what we wanted, and we have them now. Bring on more feature creep if that's what you want to call it.

Re:From a futurist's perspective (1)

jwisser (1038696) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705857)

Let's take stock:

1. Digital watch: Does not provide access to the digitized sum of human knowledge from your wrist.
2. iPhone/other small web device: Does provide access to the digitized sum of human knowledge from your pocket.

The iPhone and its ilk provide an entirely different type of experience. In fifty years, the iPhone will be long gone, but it will still be known as one of the devices that popularized truly ubiquitous network computing.

Re:From a futurist's perspective (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705939)

Yeah, it's a cool thing to think about, I agree - the world at your fingertips wherever you are, etc., but after the dust settles and, in the end, we go back to our day-jobs, whatever they are, is it such a big deal?

In the medical field, for example, things like handheld computers have helped for carrying reference material around, and sometimes in fetching patient information quickly, but it isn't revolutionizing patient care. Though what I think will change things, fairly soon, is when we see doctors walking down corridors of hospitals whispering away into their wrists as their mobile computers interpret their jargon talk with near-100% accuracy, attributing it to the right patient practically every time, into the right section of the notes, etc., and when the device responds to the voice of the master reliably in a noisy room, etc.

Instead, at the moment, we have interns who do all of that.

never going to happen (0, Offtopic)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705655)

Apple will never drop the price of the iPhone to the point where it can beat out the competition to become the standard phone people use.

Same as every other product they've launched.

Fixed it for you. (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705817)

BMW will never drop the price of the 5 Series to the point where it can beat out the competition to become the standard car people use...

Nor do they need to.

Every time one of these stories surfaces some marketing "genius" proclaims that the Mac/iPod/iPhone will never be the "standard", and that Apple needs to drop prices in order to be "competitive".

Guess what?

They don't need to either.

Re:Fixed it for you. (2)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705911)


They don't need to either.

Ah yes, of course, because they already dominate the worlds home computer market, how silly of me.

Oh wait...

Re:Fixed it for you. (2, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706041)

Define dominate. They're already skimming the lion's share of the premimum computer market (70% or so?). And the online music and video market. And the mp3 player market. And they're making a pretty good dent in the premium smartphone market after just one year and one phone.

If you ask me the smartest thing they can do is just keep on doing what they're doing, and let the other idiots fight it out in the $495 beige-box zero-margin marketplace.

Re:Fixed it for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23706069)

No, because they make shitloads of money just by doing what they are doing now.


You don't have to be the number one manufacturer to make a decent profit. And you certainly don't have to have the cheapest product or the most bought product.


Re:Fixed it for you. (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706171)

Ah yes, of course, because they already dominate the worlds home computer market
Ever considered that perhaps they don't want to dominate the world's home computer market, but simply to make good computers?

Not everyone is Bill Gates (must eliminate all competition!).

Re:Umm, no. (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706017)

The Apple dude could have totally Godwined it if he'd said "put the inferior Java based cellphone gaming market to death."

ideas supported by so-called "Progressives" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23706187)

Eugenics
The Temperance Movement (precursor to Prohibition)

Do you guys seriously believe this? (0, Flamebait)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705399)

Do you guys seriously believe that the gaming market for the iPhone is going to just kick off? The iPhone was designed to play music, to surf the web, and to talk. Playing games was not and is not the focal point of owning an iPhone. You can't just release a device like an iPhone, wait a few months, and then call to arms the video game industry. The problem with the iPhone and gaming is that the iPhone isn't a gaming platform. People are not going to buy an iPhone with the express purpose of gaming.

Re:Do you guys seriously believe this? (3, Insightful)

mstahl (701501) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705429)

Nobody really buys a Blackberry for the express purpose of gaming, and it's not at all a gaming platform, but games are very popular on them. Same goes for other phones. Though gaming is never going to be the focus of the iPhone, games could be the thing that pushes some people over the edge to get one.

Re:Do you guys seriously believe this? (1)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705993)

I play this [youtube.com] game [youtube.com] all the time [youtube.com] . this is a game that can not be done on any other platform. it's like the wii, it's a brand new gaming market.

Missing the point. (5, Insightful)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705419)

The threat isn't to shitty cellphone games. The threat is to the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable. The iPhone has a touch screen like the DS and can play movies like the PSP, and WiFi like both of them, plus it has a tilt sensor and oh, yeah, multiple gigs of storage space. Once the iPhone costs the same as a PSP and game manufacturers are allowed to build for it (ie. after Monday), Nintendo and Sony are going to be entering a world of pain.

Re:Missing the point. (1)

ragethehotey (1304253) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705463)

the problem with the comparison to the DS and PSP is that the iphone has no dedicated buttons, and is absolutely awful for the type of games that play on those systems. this is not to say that games on the iphone wont take off, but expect way more "traditional" phone style games than people are predicting (read: board/card games)

Blue tooth buttons and video interface. (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705591)

According to TippyCanoe at MacTipsToo, a third party has integrated game buttons into one of those rubberized protective holster for the iphone. Speculation is these communicate via a blue tooth interface or maybe the camera. So if that's actually true then problem solved. The neat thing would be if that make different kinds of button interfaces for different kinds of games(flight simmulators, etc.).

Re:Blue tooth buttons and video interface. (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705789)

Problem 'kinda' solved. Traditionally, anything which has required an additional add-on has spelled death for a gaming platform.

Re:Missing the point. (1, Insightful)

Aerundel (1174409) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705487)

Where are the buttons? To think that an iPhone is on par with either the DS or PSP is ridiculous when you consider it has no input other than multi-touch. Sure, you could develop a following of multi-touch-specific games, but that doesn't put a dent in the rest of the game genres that require a gamepad. Moreover, any virtual gamepad devised will take up screen space which both Nintendo and Sony trump Apple on already.

Re:Missing the point. (5, Insightful)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705585)

So you mean it might require innovation on the part of the developers?

Dear heaven no, we better cancel WWDC.

Re:Missing the point. (0)

Aerundel (1174409) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705601)

No, I mean it would require nothing short of a controller attachment on the part of Apple.

Re:Missing the point. (3, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705799)

I'm glad you're not going to be developing games for the iPhone then.

I've played quite a broad array of current iPhone games (jailbroken phone). The ones that were designed for button-based input - the console emulators in particular - really suck. They're functional, but the input is awful, just as you would expect when the game wants buttons and all you have is a touchscreen. The games designed around the iPhone's input devices (accelerometer, multi-touch) are far better.

Of course, putting together some sort of RPG given those inputs would be a hell of a challenge. It's not impossible by any stretch of the imagination (I'm not so sure about accelerometer-based character movement, but multi-touch menus could still work quite well) but you'll really be looking at two completely different styles of gameplay that are centralized around the input device. I had an old GameBoy kirby game that had a primitive accelerometer built in that was used for character movement rather than the typical d-pad. It was kind of hack-ish and didn't lend itself especially well to the device, but perhaps if treated as an early proof of concept, it shows that there is potential.

The iPhone is NOT a traditional device, and no matter your opinion of Apple, you have to admit they changed the rules. If you try to develop for it while following the rules of traditional devices, you WILL fail. So porting over your DS/PSP games is right out unless you intend to give them away. If you want to develop games that need buttons, go right ahead - but keep them on the DS and PSP.

I don't think you'll see any real collision between the portable gaming and cell phone markets for quite a while, but rather see the two coexist with completely different styles and genres of games.

Re:Missing the point. (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705825)

A rpg could certainly be done with the touchscreen. Look at "The World Ends With You" for the DS. Very enjoyable, and 100% playable with stylus.

Re:Missing the point. (0, Troll)

Aerundel (1174409) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705869)

If you believe that having DS/PSP game types on the iPhone is off the table, then why did bother replying? The whole point of this part of the thread is whether or not the Apple can compete with/beat Nintendo and/or Sony. I never said multi-touch gaming wouldn't work. In fact, I basically said that's all Apple can hope for right now, barring a physical button scheme.

cheap plastic buttons (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705879)

"virtual gamepad devised will take up screen space"

Even a total interface noob could spend five minutes noodling and come up with the idea of near-transparent hot-zones near the corners that indicate buttons but without hiding much screen real-estate. Define some hot corners, use a context menu, and use the accelerometers for navigation (front/back turn) and doing a Doom/Quake interface would be relatively simple.

One might also mention that plenty of phone-based games have been produced that didn't need a dedicated gamepad.

Further, gamepads exist primarily in their current incarnation for one reason only: they provide a reasonable amount of control in exchange for a few cheap plastic buttons. As the Wii has shown, we can do better.

Joysticks, keyboards, mice, controllers... both developers and gamers will adapt.

Re:cheap plastic buttons (1)

Aerundel (1174409) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706033)

If you're gonna pull my quote, at least keep it in context. You're not going to get a DS/PSP beating experience with touch and motion controls. Transparent buttons? Sure, you could see the game under them, but can you make my thumbs transparent too? You're innovating things to make up for inadequacies. The Wii has also shown Super Smash Brothers is still better with a Gamecube controller, and that the Wii Wheel sucks.

Re:cheap plastic buttons (1)

Aerundel (1174409) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706063)

Btw, I love the Wii. And I recently bought a DS, so motion and touch controls are not alien to me, nor am I knocking games designed for them. However, it takes more than those types of games to beat a dedicated gaming handheld.

Re:cheap plastic buttons (0, Flamebait)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706093)

"You're not going to get a DS/PSP beating experience with touch and motion controls."

You haven't even seen what's going to be offered tomorrow, much less a year from now after developers gain even more experience designing games for it, and you're still willing to make that pronouncement? It doesn't fit in with your preconceived notions of how a game works, so it's going to fail?

Does this sound familiar?

"No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame."

I bet you and CmdrTaco can be staring members in the same club...

Re:Missing the point. (4, Insightful)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705535)

Sony will be in trouble; they will have to compete on hardware specs and exclusive titles the same way the PS3 has to compete with PCs. Nintendo, on the other hand, has shown time and time again, they will take chances and innovate with unique games and hardware to an extent that other companies will not. If the iPhone comes to dominate handheld touch-screen gaming, Nintendo will come up with something new the iPhone doesn't do.

Re:Missing the point. (1)

Slashdot Suxxors (1207082) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705837)

they will have to compete on hardware specs and exclusive titles the same way the PS3 has to compete with PCs.
Umm...the PS3 isn't competing against the PC. It's biggest competitor is the Xbox 360.

Re:Missing the point. (1, Redundant)

Perseid (660451) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705587)

PSP = $170. NDS = $130. iPhone = $399.

Wikipedia says there are 70.6 million DSes out there. Nintendo is the handheld king and Apple will never touch those numbers cool as their games might be.

Re:Missing the point. (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705745)

Indeed. And to add to that, the DS and PSP have good, established game development companies, especially the DS with Nintendo itself making games, almost unquestionably the best first-party developer. While I suppose they're making Spore for iPhone, it's not like developers are flocking to make games for a device that costs twice as much as the closest gaming handheld, and probably has more power to boot.

Convergance (3, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705949)

"PSP = $170. NDS = $130. iPhone = $399."

Rumor has it that the price will drop, but you're missing the point. People won't buy a $399 game console. But they may well buy a $399 device that's a phone, and a text messager, and an email and internet browser, and camera, and music player, and movie player, AND a game player.

Further, if you have the iPhone, just how likely is it that someone is going to buy yet another portable device in any of those categories?

Re:Convergance (1)

Perseid (660451) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706087)

The iPhone will sell some games. Maybe the games will even sell some iPhones. This won't happen in sufficient numbers to hurt Nintendo, though. And unless the iPhone gets Mario, Zelda, Brain Age and Nintendogs many people who have iPhones certainly will buy a DS.

Re:Convergance (2, Interesting)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706113)

"This won't happen in sufficient numbers to hurt Nintendo, though."

Maybe so. Or maybe not. That's a matter of opinion, but either way it's certainly not going to HELP Nintendo.

BTW, did you read the article about how the inclusion of a GPS system in the iPhone has the world's largest dedicated GPS device manufacturer scared to death?

Re:Missing the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705609)

I'm pretty excited about having a general computing device in the pocket. So eventually this will happen. I think, though, that games are safe for at least this generation of devices. iPhone has no precision buttons. Not even one or two. Cell phone games suck not because they are coded in Java, but because cell phones are made with crappy buttons designed for making calls not playing games.

So iPhone games will likely be of the puzzle game, casual game sort but at a slightly higher visual quality. You'll also see some really horrible licensed games outsourced by companies like EA that get exclusive rights to intellectual property and who need to find every way possible to make it pay off. Then you'll get a handful of outstanding titles from independent studios (read: two guys in a garage) that will either stay tiny forever or go break up after a couple titles.

What is probably more at risk are the GPS companies like Garmin. They are headed toward a real world of pain once GPS becomes standard in all cell phones. Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom will be like Tivo, brand names that nobody needs anymore. This risk is coming from all cell phones, not just the iPhone. I've used GPS devices and they are really horrible. I don't understand it. Once real consumer electronics companies start throwing commodity GPS chips in everything they are going to just bury the old GPS companies with superior design sensibilities.

Exaggeration... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705611)

Nintendo and Sony are going to be entering a world of pain

world of pain?? come on. what a joke. the nintendo DS has sold over 80 million units worldwide in 4 years. with iPhones costing upwards of 400 dollars its never going to have the same market penetration as the DS.

and while it may have a touchscreen, its gonna be a nightmare to use without a D-pad. any hardcore gamer can tell that a device without a D-pad will never be taken seriously. most game genres are simply too dependent on traditional buttons. and the few games which are better suited at touch-screen input (as the summary says, games like warcraft3, heros of might and magic, etc) are simply not playable on a miniscule screen.

expect games along the lines of Tiger woods golfing and marble madness on the iphone. ninja gaiden, castlevania, mario, sonic, call of duty, GTA3/4, etc....forget about it.

Re:Missing the point. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705711)

Sony will be fucked. Nintendo, not so much.

The PSP as it currently stands is a iPhone with poor phone capabilities (it has Skype, but no built-in microphone), no email capabilities, lack of storage space, and a craptastic slow and buggy browser. Its specs are actually WORSE than the iPhone in all aspects. (iPhone's screen is bigger, it has better battery life, more memory, and a faster processor. Oh, yeah, and the whole tilt sensor and touch screen thing.)

About the only thing the iPhone lacks that would make it a PSP killer is removable storage. But with flash storage space increasing, it's not unimaginable that either a removable flash slot could be added to the iPhone or that in later iPhone models it simply won't matter.

The PSP is already basically dead as a handheld. The DS hasn't managed to completely kill it, but the iPhone will finish the job in time to ensure that Sony will never be a player in that handheld market ever again. Apple's already pushed Sony out of the MP3 player market, so why not games too?

How is the iPhone going to kill Java-based games? (3, Insightful)

Perseid (660451) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705437)

Last I checked the only company making iPhones is Apple. There are and will continue to be many Java-based phones and companies that will make games for them.

Re:How is the iPhone going to kill Java-based game (4, Informative)

Perseid (660451) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705545)

OK, so...flamebait? WTF? I'm not suggesting the iPhone won't be capable of good games or even that there wont be good games. But Java games, crappy as a lot of them may be, are an already established, cross-platform industry. There are lots of Java-based phones. There's only one iPhone. So the iPhone will not "finally put the lackluster Java-based cell phone gaming market to death".

lackluster? (3, Informative)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705503)

The mobile gaming industry was $2.6 million industry in 2005 [3g.co.uk] and expected to be $11.2 by 2010. I suspect most of that number is java games (never seen a non-Java games, except those that came with the phone).

Maybe he's only talking about the US marked?

you must be (wait)... (1)

Fallen Andy (795676) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705965)

(squints at the id) n .. e .. w here (oops). I don't think iPhone is going to fly in non US markets so even if it is capable of DS style games - anyone really think that little Yannis Questidis is going to be given an iPhone for *gaming* Yiks!

At least here in (southern) Europe, Nokia and Symbian SIS games are the most common. Not bought though - probably leeched off e.g. gsmforum.

Andy

ROFL (1, Offtopic)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705975)

ROFL. 2.6 million? That's it? The _whole_ market? That's not even the budget for _one_ game on any proper gaming platform.

Sorry, I didn't know those numbers, but if that's it, now I understand why they call it lackluster.

Re:ROFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23706027)

The linked article says $2.6 billion.

Re:lackluster? (1)

chgros (690878) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705987)

The mobile gaming industry was $2.6 million industry
You mean billion. Million would be much worse than simply "lackluster"

Java Apps on Mobile phones are crap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705507)

Java Apps are a piece of slow loading, miss-designed, bad looking crap. No one will ever miss them when they go away; which hopefully will happen very soon.

Re:Java Apps on Mobile phones are crap! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705589)

Netcraft confirms it: Java is dying.

Java valley (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705521)

Java is definitely everywhere in the Silicon Valley job market. It might be because Sun is here & the kinds of jobs that need to be here are related to Sun's world.

There's someone writing a Java spec for every problem imaginable & no-one willing to program them. But outside Java valley, it's nowhere. People briefly switch to a cell phone game or a blu-ray game, say gee wiz, and that's it. Back to the native stuff that does what the product was intended for.

Java is here to stay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705667)

bzzz wrong, my recent Samsung TV/LCD have build in linux and uses Java. Blu-Ray - you have to use it if the disc has it - no opt out. On the other hand does it matter, cpu power is inexpensive - development time matters, as well portability. Good luck with C/native assemblers.

iPhone will be another Apple's nitche product (iPod excluded), like Mac it wiil conquer exclusive 4% of the market.

hm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705527)

The iPhone/iTouch would only work good for games like bejeweled and starcraft (if it was ever ported), but what about sidescroller games, tetris, any other type of addicting game, heck even racing games. There are no tactile buttons to press, and virtual buttons are bust when it comes to gaming.

The graphics libraries avalible are nice, but I don't think it is going to kill the current cell phone game market. The current market will likely adapt before apple realizes what they have anyway.

Re:hm (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705687)

sidescroller games
Touch where you want the character to go.

tetris
Slide your finger back and forth -- the block follows to that column. Up and down, and it rotates.

virtual buttons are bust when it comes to gaming.
Only if you lack imagination. For that matter...

There are no tactile buttons to press
Only if you lack Bluetooth.

Re:hm (3, Insightful)

Aerundel (1174409) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705805)

What you're describing are approximations catering to an inappropriate control scheme. I'd like to see you play Megaman with your finger, or something more complex like Castlevania. I'd like to see you get past 50 lines in regular Tetris making those crossing motions you describe. Virtual buttons have no tactile feedback, imagination has nothing to do with it. They take up screen space, and what you have left is a graphically superior Gameboy Color. Gratz, you beat Nintendo c. 1998, albeit with even more cramped controls (iPhone's really thin to be playing Gameboy-style for very long). A bluetooth addon would either drain the iPhone battery faster, or require its own power source which would need to be charged also. That's not very enticing to me.

Re:hm (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705905)

I'd like to see you play Megaman with your finger
And I'd like to see you play Doom with a D-pad. It's got nothing to do with it being a better or worse control system -- it will be better for different games, like just about every game interface.

Not every game interface -- I strongly suspect the PowerGlove is worthless. It's so bad.

Virtual buttons have no tactile feedback
Actually, they do. [redferret.net] Not the iPhone, of course... yet. No reason to think it never will.

They take up screen space, and what you have left is a graphically superior Gameboy Color. Gratz, you beat Nintendo c. 1998
I didn't realize Nintendo had 3D this good [tuaw.com] in 1998 -- or at all in a Gameboy.

A bluetooth addon would either drain the iPhone battery faster, or require its own power source
Am I missing something? Because I thought Bluetooth was a wireless protocol. I don't think we have wireless power yet, if such a thing can exist -- that would imply it would require its own power source.

Now, think about a simple IR TV remote. How long does that last? And often on AAA batteries?

Re:hm (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705931)

Am I missing something? Because I thought Bluetooth was a wireless protocol.

Yes you are. Something pretty simple and important. It costs power to receive and transmit wireless via Bluetooth, just as turning off WLAN on your laptop will give you up to an extra third battery life.

Re:hm (1)

Aerundel (1174409) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706169)

And I'd like to see you play Doom with a D-pad. It's got nothing to do with it being a better or worse control system -- it will be better for different games, like just about every game interface.
Doom 2 was ported to the GBA, and is one of the best games on the system. Back when Doom came out, strafing was an option, not a requirement. As was mouselook.

Virtual buttons have no tactile feedback

Not the iPhone, of course... yet. No reason to think it never will.
Having a button click back at you isn't the same as being able to rest your finger on a button and feeling it move up and down as you press it. Moreover, you can rest your fingers on real buttons and not worry about slipping onto adjacent buttons, which the iPhone's screen has no protection from.

I didn't realize Nintendo had 3D this good [tuaw.com] in 1998 -- or at all in a Gameboy.
What part of "graphically superior" did you not understand?

A bluetooth addon would either drain the iPhone battery faster, or require its own power source

Am I missing something? Because I thought Bluetooth was a wireless protocol. I don't think we have wireless power yet, if such a thing can exist -- that would imply it would require its own power source.

Now, think about a simple IR TV remote. How long does that last? And often on AAA batteries?
Bluetooth is communication. Power is power. You could potentially have a bluetooth device use the iPhone's battery with a direct link while communicating wirelessly (if we're assuming there's no way of communicating over that direct link as well), or you can have a fully wireless solution.

How long do you think a TV remote will last if you act like it's a gamepad and press the buttons constantly?

tro77 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23705579)

exactly w>hat you'7e there are some

iPhone a threat to Java games? Fat chance (5, Insightful)

radimvice (762083) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705607)

Even if the iPhone is enormously successful, there's no way it poses a threat to Java phone games.

1. The iPhone's market share is a tiny drop in the global bucket, even if all the Apple-loving tech media journalists would like to have you think otherwise.
2. iPhone game development restricts you to a MacOS development environment. This basically guarantees that even if the iPhone becomes hugely successful, its place in mobile game development will never capture more than a minority status among game developers.
3. Unless all of the other mobile industry players spontaneously decide to line up behind Apple, Java is not going to lose ground to C# anytime soon as the language of choice for game developers.
4. Java is a programming language and a set of industry standards for mobile hardware, not mobile phone hardware itself. Pointing to the cool new hardware features that the iPhone supports isn't an argument against java phone games, it just points towards Apple's decision not to play nice with the rest of the industry standard apps and developers out there. If anything, this decision will limit the scope iPhone-specific game development (who wants to waste their resources on such a small market segment when they can make games that will run on a much larger amount of phones out there), it doesn't pose any threat to the use of Java as a mobile game development standard. At the very least, it means that Java game developers will have to wait for Sun (or any other company) to provide a good set of translation tools that will let them develop for the iPhone's hardware in Java.

Re:iPhone a threat to Java games? Fat chance (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705781)

2. iPhone game development restricts you to a MacOS development environment. This basically guarantees that even if the iPhone becomes hugely successful, its place in mobile game development will never capture more than a minority status among game developers.

Why would that be an issue? If a developer feels the market is worth going after, then buying a Mac is no big deal. In fact, I'd be surprised if there were many developers who didn't have at least one Mac in their business, even if they don't use it to develop on or for.

Re:iPhone a threat to Java games? Fat chance (5, Insightful)

radimvice (762083) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705887)

Why would that be an issue? If a developer feels the market is worth going after, then buying a Mac is no big deal. In fact, I'd be surprised if there were many developers who didn't have at least one Mac in their business, even if they don't use it to develop on or for.
It's not as simple as "buying a mac" and clicking a 'compile game for iPhone' button, it's forcing your project cycle to incorporate the entire MacOS environment into your game development, which is a very big deal. Now, assuming that the developer makes the decision that it's even worth making an iPhone port of their game, this means that not only do they need to port any of their existing Java code over to objective-C, but they have to either (1) purchase Macs for all of the programmers put on the porting project, allotting them enough extra time to learn the quite unfamiliar OS, IDE, and programming language combo; or (2) hire an extra, separate team of Mac-capable developers just for the iPhone ports.

The other option is to just do iPhone-exclusive game development from the start, which right away corners you into an extremely niche and unproven market. You'd be better off developing for the portable consoles (DS, PSP, etc) which have markets large enough to actually justify this sort of device-specific exclusive game development.

Re:iPhone a threat to Java games? Fat chance (2, Interesting)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706135)

I suspect that you're forgetting a major incentive for a game company. As it stands, EVERY game downloaded to an iPhone from the AppStore will be paid for, unlike some platforms where you're lucky if one in ten users isn't ripping you off.

Re:iPhone a threat to Java games? Fat chance (3, Interesting)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705995)

True. Any major game developer isn't going to mind spending a few grand on Macs. Heck, even smaller developers like PopCap can afford it (and are doing so).

Further, you get an added bonus. Develop a game for the iPhone and you're probably close to having a game that could be upgraded and sold to the entire Mac audience. Develop for Symbian, however, and... well... you have a game for Symbian.

Sorry about that.

Re:iPhone a threat to Java games? Fat chance (2, Informative)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705783)

3. Unless all of the other mobile industry players spontaneously decide to line up behind Apple, Java is not going to lose ground to C# anytime soon as the language of choice for game developers.
Maybe you meant Objective-C? C# is Microsoft, not Apple.

Re:iPhone a threat to Java games? Fat chance (1)

radimvice (762083) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705841)

yea, my mistake, I meant objective-C. If it was actually C# it would be slightly more flexible, since it would then have affinities with all of Microsoft's .NET game development stuff (XNA), but objective-C really only has traction in the Mac universe.

Wow, what an ignorant douche (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23706049)

That mistake alone should get you kicked out of slashdot.

Non-Button Gaming (3, Insightful)

davepermen (998198) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705673)

While there are a lot of possible ideas with tilt and touch only, the lack of real tactile buttons is a major problem for a lot of games. cellphones, ds, psp, all gameboys till today, all consoles, pc's all have buttons, which get used in most games.

the iphone looks like a sweet psp, but it definitely doesn't feel that way.

People play Java games? (4, Insightful)

blumpy (84889) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705743)

"might finally put the lackluster Java-based cell phone gaming market to death" I thought "Lackluster" was being generous. When was the last time you've heard someone say "OMG! You've got to play that 'insert java game here' on my cellphone!" Handheld consoles like the DS or PSP should be the ones quaking in their boots.

Depths of stupidity (1)

wasaty (261555) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705763)

This is the single stupidest prediction I've ever seen here. So in his opinion all people on Earth should throw away their phones just because (potentially) there will be better games on the Iphone?

Using this logic why do we still walk, the bicycles are better. And why do we still use bicycles, the cars are better! Or why there are PC games, since consoles are better for gaming, etc...

Treat them like rockstars? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705767)

Why would the developers be needed to treated like rockstars? Surely, if they are any good - they will see the platform based on its merits, and decide to develop or not develop for it based on rational metrics?

If a developer needs to be given cocaine, or have the red M&Ms separated from the other colors by Apple, then I question the value of that developer's input. Someone like that can't be far from the drug-fuelled implosion of their career. When people with egos like that go down, they tend to cause collateral damage.

Apple isn't interested in gaming (5, Interesting)

SnappyCrunch (583594) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705821)

Gabe Newell of Valve Software (Makers of the Half-Life series, Portal, Counter-Strike, etc.) has said in an interview [kikizo.com] that they have spoken to Apple several times about getting their games on the Mac platform. Apparently, each time they're approached by Apple, Valve tells Apple what they'd like Apple to do, and each time Apple doesn't do it. Apple wouldn't say no to having games developed for the Mac or iPhone, but I just can't see them trying to cater to game developers. They've never done it before, despite ample opportunity.

Java Mobile Here To Stay (2, Insightful)

Heembo (916647) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705929)

Java Mobile = open platform used by cell phones from almost every vendor iPhone mobile = proprietary platform for 1 phone on the market

Re:Java Mobile Here To Stay (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706149)

"iPhone mobile = proprietary platform for 1 phone on the market"

Well, you're forgetting the iPod Touch, of course. Plus that iPhone development = Cocoa development = Mac development.

Or about 30-40 million or so Macs.

Good (1)

Zorque (894011) | more than 5 years ago | (#23705971)

I haven't played a good cell phone game in a hell of a long time, and anything that was fun was from Japan, where they consider the cell phone gaming market viable. Hopefully either the iPhone kills off the market or they get their shit together and start programming stuff that's fun.

Java sucks for games! Durdurdurdurrr (0)

flayzernax (1060680) | more than 5 years ago | (#23706109)

The iPhone won't kill writing games in java...

Java will kill writing games in java...

its not a high performance uber gaming language...

unless you don't like 3D pixelated shinies and bouncies...

Its great for monkey-zombie OCD click fests like SOLITAIRE! U know like bejeweled...

I think the potential killer here is the iPod Touc (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23706179)

As other posters have mentioned, the unique capabilities of the platform align potential iPhone games more towards the DS/PSP spectrum than the drek we see for Java-based phone games. (Although the reality may end up being more in the middle, given that developers don't always take advantage of the unique opportunities unique hardware may present - cf. third party Wii games)

I think, however, that the iPhone will continue to be marketed mainly as a phone, and for the immediate future, carrier lock in, price points, and the market locked up by either business phones or the giveaway phones from carriers will keep the mobile java game market breathing.

However, the lower price point of the iPod touch, the fact that it doesn't involve changing phone carriers, etc., and the likelyhood that at some point it may completely supplant the traditional iPod Video, makes me think it might be poised to become more of a gaming platform than it's cellular brother. I don't see Apple making big steps to roll it out as such, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it move into that space in the minds of consumers, at least.
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