I reported that recent findings suggest that gaming was actually one of the major uses of mobile handsets. But at last week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco it was all about the iPhone. While the console market – as in the systems from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft – remains the main battleground, and the PC is slowly dying (or at least that has been the word on the street for the past million years), the mobile handset is the platform that will dominate games.
This prediction has been around seemingly since the dawn of mankind too, well, OK the Mayans may have predicted the world will end in 2012, but they didn’t actually predict mobile gaming, so I’m stretching the point there. But the point is that every year I’ve heard that mobile is the up and coming platform. Yet long time players, such as THQ have actually retreated from the market.
But things could change as the iPhone is seeing something not seen in other handsets, namely original content. Several developers have taken the time to create original content for the iPhone. It’s as if the iPhone is being seen as a rival to Nintendo’s DS and Sony’s PlayStation Portable systems, rather than as a mobile phone.
This is notable as new games, such as Midway’s TNA Wrestling make their way to the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch. While traditional arcade “action” games haven’t translated well to the handset platform, these portable console style games have made their transition to the iPhone (and iPod Touch) with ease.
So why is this noteworthy? Well, as I’ve also mentioned in this blog, Apple’s clever ad campaign has tried to imply that the Mac is the cool desktop/laptop computer platform, while Microsoft’s Windows have been all business (no pun intended). The truth is that the PC has always been the dominant computer gaming platform. And Apple has always been a day late and a dollar short when it comes to games. Other than a SimCity title or a World of Warcraft release, Mac users have had to wait longer for games to come out on their beloved platform.
But the iPhone is again different. Not only are the games coming, the iPhone games are bringing something not being seen in a lot of other areas, namely innovation. That is something that mobile handsets came close to bringing, but never actually delivered. Bottom line, the iPhone is doing yet another thing most other handsets never have.
iPhone Not Top 20 Worthy?
One bit of mobile news that was interesting is that according to research firm Bango, the iPhone didn’t crack the top 20 handsets for browsing and buying content on the mobile Web worldwide. In fact, the Nokia 311c was top of the list, the Samsung M800 was in second place and the Nokia 6300 showed up third… the Apple iPhone arrived at 24 on the list.
Skype Coming to the iPhone
In other iPhone news, the word on the street (The Wall Street Journal) is that Skype will be coming soon to the handset. The paper reports that the eBay-owned Skype plans to release a version of the Internet-based software, which would be available for free. This would allow for free calls to other Skype users on computers or even supported mobile phones in Wi-Fi hotspots for free. Calls to landlines could be around 2.1 cents a minute, which could be far less than those daytime minutes should you run out of minutes in your plan.