The Dawn of iPhone

Susie Ochs's picture

The Dawn of iPhone


Calling iPhone Gamers
Developers and gamers alike see a world of potential for getting your game on, iPhone style.


Freeverse plans to release touchscreen-enabled sports games, as shown in this concept art.


Mobile phone games—often just called “mobile games”—are an industry built on impulse. You often pay little and get little in return. But a lot of people splurge, with Nielsen Research saying that 20 million Americans downloaded games in the fourth quarter of 2007. That compares to 93 million people playing on a dedicated console. But many game makers see the iPhone leading a surge in mobile games, and they want to get in early.


To find a list of game companies working on iPhone games, just look at a list of game companies. Almost every plausible publisher we contacted is developing iPhone products. And the few who wouldn’t comment publicly on iPhone plans seem to be waiting to make announcements.


Freeverse plans to release touchscreen-enabled sports games, as shown in this concept art.


Electronic Arts, one of the biggest video game publishers in the world, is preparing an iPhone version of Spore, among other games. With an anticipated September 2008 release, right alongside the Mac version of the game, iPhone Spore will likely be a condensed edition of that life-simulating romp. EA wouldn’t confirm details, but based on what we saw at Apple’s SDK press event, iPhone Spore will likely focus on Spore’s first stage, where your creature swims around, eating or avoiding enemies. The game uses the iPhone’s motion-sensing accelerometer to fluidly steer the spore as the player turns and rotates the phone in midair. And gamers use fingertip touches to upgrade their creatures, dragging to rearrange the body parts or add new ones.

For the same press event, Sega created a demonstration version of Super Monkey Ball. In this console video game hit, players roll a monkey-occupied sphere through 3D mazes, racing past traps and precarious ledges. Simple iPhone tilts steer the critter around hazards in this version. Sega hadn’t announced its plans as we went to press, but given how good Super Monkey Ball looks, we fully expect to see a complete release.


Casual gaming company PopCap Games is also creating iPhone titles. This Mac-and-mobile mainstay is responsible for Zuma, Peggle, and many other popular titles. Andrew Stein, director of mobile business development, explains how the company first dabbled on the device, saying, “A bunch of people here got iPhones, and they just personally wanted Bejeweled available for it.” So in July of 2007, PopCap launched an iPhone-formatted online version that can be reached through its website. “The response has been phenomenal—light years beyond anything we expected,” Stein says. “We are currently running nearly three quarters of a million unique visitors a month to on the iPhone and iPod touch browsers.”


And the list of traditional mobile developers goes on. Gameloft promises 15 iPhone titles before the end of 2008. id Software, creator of Quake and Doom, is considering an iPhone version of its mobile game Orcs & Elves, as well as “a completely original title specifically for the iPhone,” according to Technical Director John Carmack. Namco Networks is readying Pac-Man and Galaga updates. Others, including THQ Wireless, admit they’re working on iPhone products but haven’t announced specifics.


Freeverse plans to release touchscreen-enabled sports games, as shown in this concept art.


Mac developers are also eager to join the iPhone game, and many of them are excited to reach a new market. Ian Lynch Smith, president of Freeverse, says, “How many Macs are there now, like 38 million? They’re going to have 10 million iPhones at the end of this year, and they could easily have 50 million in three years.” Freeverse hopes to release a few products with the June launch of the App Store, including a driving game and some simple sports titles.


Peter Tamte, president of MacSoft parent company Destineer, also sees a huge iPhone audience. He comments via email, “We view the iPhone as a mobile software platform. The huge number of applications and games coming will make the iPhone a sustainable, long-term opportunity. You bet we’re going to make games for iPhone!”




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The all purpose solution is to use the Pwnage tool and allow your iphone/ipod touch to load any firmware you'd like on it, meaning when the iphone version 2 software comes out I will just go ahead and install it and then just go and custom hack it via the tool and have the software way before everyone else.

I see this method being the wave of the future because of the 90 surcharge that apple has.



Having a hand held game console that also has the ability to store contacts and call friends could enable a friend update aspect, Where you can see if your friends are playing a multi-player game you have. You can call them up and ask to join. Tap a "Join game" button under "end call" and connect.

You can play chess or checkers with random iPhone users as well. Apple is very astute. To me I see them understanding their closeness with Nintendo and therefore setting themselves as Nintendo competitors.

On another note. The timing will be important to target college bound students who are looking for a new cell phone, laptop, or handheld console. Apple could push the idea of students who don't have their laptops with them can simply look at their cellphone (iPhone) and use back to my mac to access files and perhaps remotely fax or print through the school's server.

Once again Apple is leading the way into a new niche. I wonder where the competition is? If there isn't a threat of competition could Apple's awesomeness vanish? Or perhaps it's the fact that they push innovation above competition that they are so awesome.


Ann Onimis

I hope multiplayer games allow you to use speaker calling or use an ear-piece to talk to friends during the game, like Xbox Live. Like the corner of the screen could have a barely noticeable circle which you can hold your finger to talk and then release.

Think about faster internet, touch response screen, more storage, and possibly a larger more comfortably grippable iphone. This tells me multiplayer is sooo going to happen.

Since Apple is all about integration. You could stream your games to your apple TV or Mac and use your iPod touch or iPhone as a controller. You could play multiplayer games with friends on your computer and apple TV.

The more Apple expands it's web of products that exponentially enhance one another I don't see a true contender in the near future



do I really care about games??? Come on guys! Give me cut and paste, let me edit a Word document, let me save a file, give me to do lists and a calendar more like iCal... I didn't buy a $400 toy. If that's all the iPhone will ever be, it's back to T-mobile and a Treo in a year and a half...



@dave...dude, that stuff will be here in nine days. relax.



S'long Dave. Enjoy your Toyo--I mean Treo--and your trip back to the 90s.

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