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So, where are the iPhone games?

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iphoneplayingsupermario.jpg It’s got a large screen, a wireless Internet connection, and a touch interface a bit like the bestselling Nintendo DS, which you’d think would make it an ideal gaming platform. But for some reason, in all the avalanche of hype, I’ve read little or nothing about iPhone games. What happened?

There are a few tidbits out there, but as yet, more tantalizing than substantial.

A few weeks ago, for example, a tech blog reported a rumor that Apple and Nintendo would soon partner to sell games for the iPhone over iTunes. Which would be groundbreaking news, but as yet, still remains unconfirmed. In January there was a lot of early interest in iPhone as a gaming platform, by EA and other publishers– but so far, the only titles on the market seem to be simple indy games that are actually Flash titles converted for iPhone use. (Watch this YouTube video, for an example.)

So far, then, the apparent lack of iPhone games seems like a giant missed opportunity by developers, one that we’ll be keeping an eye on at GigaOM. (I fully admit that phone games are not my main forte, so I’m playing catch-up just as much as publishers evidently are.)

But I should open the question to all our iPhone-owning readers out there: are you interested in gaming on your gorgeous new Jesus phone?

Screenshot credit:

43 Responses to “So, where are the iPhone games?”

  1. I loved to game on my phone, it’s something I very very much miss on iPhone. It’s all very well and good to play online when there is a strong internet connection,but I have situations where I have a lot of time and not a lot of signal.

    I feel sure the games will be here.

  2. equary

    Cell phone games is simply to big of a market for develpoers to stay out. The first games as we see now are bad but give it time and we will see some of the most advanced games on a cell phone ever.

    I am typing this n my iphone and i don’t know what ppl are talking about ( a short battery life) its just not the casemine lasts thehole day and its not like its asleep for most of the day.

    I am willing to bet that when we see games that arn’t open source they will be incredable and some will definantly b skill based

  3. iPhone games ARE coming – from EA and others. I don’t know any details regarding timing (ie why they didn’t make launch) or anything else. All I know is that, without a doubt, titles are in development from at least a small handful of mobile & console game publishers, and possibly more than a handful.

  4. Given the expected worldwide USD20Bn revenue from mobile gaming by 2010, I find it hard to believe that Apple does not have a strategy in place to address this. Given the expected growth rate of iPhone handset sales surely it would be an obvious area to address. I suspect that Apple has something in store for us but have their own reasons for not wanting to tell us about it now.

  5. PRoserver

    I don’t think there will be many skill games or such on the i-phone for the simple reason that the i-phone does not have any buttons. Even if you would use the touch screen for that, it sucks because of the reaction speed of the screen sensor and it certainly isn’t ergonomic. Since most (young) people like skill games this is a major loss of revenue potential.

  6. Same reason there’s not a thriving games market on the iPod. It’s completely locked down, with everything having to go through iTunes and developers having to jump through endless hoops to even get a foot in the door. Compound this with the fact that the iPhone doesn’t support any of the technologies used for games on the other 99.999% of the world’s phones, and you can see why publishers aren’t beating a path to their door.

  7. I think its clear the iPhone was a but rushed. Also it was mean to appear with Leopard.

    I think the dev environment for this device will be a completely different situation when Leopard becomes available.

    Think DashCode!

  8. Yawn, i-phone blah! Let’s start talking about cheap cellphones and how they can help developing countries…Everyone is onboard with the $100 laptop? how about $5 cellphones? or cheaper!! i-Phones are for i-diots.

  9. As several of the 12 standard apps consisted of only JPEG placeholders back in January, according to 2 reviewers who got to use it back then (Ikhnato and Pogue), I’d say Apple had its work cut out for it just getting the core feature set ready to ship.

    (And they needed to second Big Brain(TM) Leopard engineers to achieve that.)

    So, no resources left for games.

    Now that it’s out, they can devote their attention to the secondary features.

  10. No SDK, no games. A web browser remains the only method developers can use on the iPhone, so you’ll be limited to ported flash games. It will be interesting to see if this Nintendo deal gets Nintendo access to an SDK, or if it’s games are also forced to run in flash.

  11. The only way games in the iPhone would be interesting is if Apple opens the platform so that real apps can be develop for the iPhone. Web sites won’t do, even widgets won’t do, not even flash (and the iPhone still lacks the last two options, Steve knows why). Only a real app will be interested, but this won’t happen as Apple has jumped the shark and cave in.

  12. CommanderKeen

    Apple intends to launch several iPhone games at E3 in August 2007. id Software will be among the first game developers to publish for the new iPhone games platform and will exhibit at E3. Apple will also develop a small set of first party games that will be available for free and purchase. The games will be priced at $4.99.

  13. Geeez…It’s only been out for a week, can’t have everything. I’m sure Apple needs this initial launch and millions of phones just to test, secure and make sure it’s stable/reliable.
    Personally I’m not interested in having any games on an iPhone.