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Thursday, October 8, 2009

The iPhone as a gaming platform: the App. Store business model is the killer factor

I've been reading many articles about iPhone capabilities as a gaming platform: the last one I read, Wall Street Journal's Apple to Sony, Nintendo: Game Over man!, was quite clear.

Curiosity is a powerful driver and in a matter of minutes I found myself digging into the App. Store to choose a game to drive a quick test with. I chose Need For Speed Undercover. The quality of the game seems impressive to me. Rendering, music, responsiveness of the iPhone (it's a game whose user interface uses the built-in accelerometer): despite the size of the display, it seems like I'm running it with a last generation game console. No doubt. At the end of this articles Here are some NFSU screenshots, if you're wondering about its quality.

But the great news for me as an user, as Wall Street Journal pointed out, is not the fact that I'm handling a mobile device which, incidentally, is a great gaming platform too. This is just a technological accomplishment I could expect any other producer to achieve. The news is that I, who never owned a gaming console nor am planning to, bought a game. Let aside the initial investment to buy, for example, an XBox. Console games are traditionally priced at much higher a level than I paid for NFSU, yesterday. Moreover, you have to go and buy it. Even if you downloaded it, you should still need to burn it. Apple's App. Store model is the winner and killer here. Yesterday night I was laying in my bed with my iPhone, wondering whether I would keep on reading a book with Stanza. I thought about the WSJ article, I opened the App. Store, chose a game, clicked on it and... started to play! Right ahead, just after waiting just a couple of minute for the download to complete. I did not moved from there and was charged less than 4 Euros.

Game addicts may well say that the gaming experience is not nearly as equal as it is when using another platform. I have to agree, but that's out of topic. What strikes me most is the iPhone gaming experience as an end user, from the initial purchase. Easy, comfortable, handy, cheap! The App. Store, moreover, is a growing library of applications here at hand: sometimes, what's most difficult is not buying but choosing.

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