The more I think about, the more clear it so to me that Apple is going directly after Sony and Nintendo, positioning the iPod Touch (and by extension the iPhone as mobile gaming platforms). One look at their latest ads should pretty much confirm this. Apple is correct, the iPod touch is the a gaming machine and a contender against the Nintendo DS. Why? It is not tied to a mobile phone contract; it is a great audio/video player; it has WiFi enabling multi player games along with web surfing and email. In reality it is the first successful MID although Apple wisely doesn’t market it as such. Here are a few reasons why the iPod Touch works.
- Games for the iPhone & iPod touch are for the most part, much cheaper than Nintendo DS and Sony PSP titles. Although I’m seeing a small price creep on game pricing there are lots of titles at $0.99.
- There are quite a lot of free titles available. Game play is a very accessible feature, even for those on a budget.
- iPods are still cool, even as you get older.
- If the original iPod brought 1,000 songs in your pocket, the iPod Touch is bringing an entire game library. No disks or cartridges to carry around.
- The iPod offers a better game experience than either Nintendo or Sony offers as media centric or Internet experience.
Here’s some of what I’ve been playing, titles tend to fall into two categories, classic genre titles and iPhone optimized
Rebel Onslaught – It’s a typical 3D rails shooter that’s very reminiscent of StarFox and the like. Plays well, and there’s not a lot new here in terms of innovation. But it is fun.
WordsWorth – Think Bookworm genre word game. Again, not much new but well implemented.
Low Gravity Racer – Think Wipeout racing style game. Fun and well executed.
All these titles are interesting as they do represent tried and true formulas on the platform. They work well and play. Consider them the table stakes. What gets more interesting are the two iPhone optimized titles I tried.
Crayon Physics – It was a YouTube sensation last year and it’s something that’s totally optimized for the iPhone experience. Draw with your finger, use multitouch to navigate and zoom and shake to erase. It’s totally fun and totally not something you’d see on a PSP.
Dropship – It’s a semi-3d shooter with a difference. The controls materialize on screen when you place your thumbs there. Multi-Touch is the way the game is played. It’s not totally new in terms of gameplay (lots of elements of older titles, noticeably Choplifter) but interaction that could only be done on this platform.
It’s titles of this quality that are making the platform look more and more viable as an alternative to dedicated mobile consoles. If I were Sony and Nintendo, i’d take some notice of what’s going on here and start thinking about how my platforms need to evolve.