State of play
APPLE as a gaming platform? Never.
And then the apps store came along and changed all that.
Since 2008 Apple has redefined the gaming market, making games cheaper than any console owner could imagine and turning serious men in suits into angry-birdflicking professionals.
Though Apple doesn’t give absolute numbers on how many games are in its app store, the thumb guides go like this: there are 350,000 apps, and of them, there are 65,000 games. Games are big. Very big. And as the big game-makers note the rise of the mobile platform, titles turning up on iPhone, iPad and (Apple’s almost dedicated gaming device) iPod Touch are becoming more sophisticated. Take EA as an example. The games giant has thrown its weight behind mobile platforms, including iOS and Android, launching once console-bound titles such as its FIFA franchise and other sporting titles such as Fight Night.
These two examples show how gaming development is evolving around the mobile device rather than simply being ported over from consoles.
FIFA 11 is a blockbuster in the console world, but suffers on iDevices because it uses a ‘‘virtual joystick’’ to control the action.
Clearly, FIFA 11 is suffering from being almost directly ported over from console.
Fight Night, on the other hand, takes full advantage of the touch screen: touch the top right of the screen and the boxer throws a right jab at his opponent. Touch left lower and the boxer throws a left.
It’s an excellent mobile interface, and it’s not ported directly from console (even though the console edition had its own tricky controls).
The other big joy of mobile gaming is it is not the big outfits dominating. Kids are banging out top-shelf — and high-grossing — titles that are grabbing serious attention.
And thanks to amazing gaming engines such as Unreal Engine 3 (used on consoles and somehow shoe-horned into iDevices) the gaming experience — think Rage HD and Infinity Blade — is getting to the quality Apple CEO Steve Jobs would call ‘‘incredible’’.
There is little doubt mobile is the gaming platform of the day.