Blog Post

Game Developers Hit Paydirt With iPhone Apps

Gaming on a mobile phone is a relatively new phenomenon when compared to the decades that games like Pacman and Tetris have been around. However, the mobile gaming industry is exploding, and developers who have spent years creating games for the Mac are now jumping ship to create them for the iPhone instead.

Brian Greenstone, creator of the popular iPhone game Enigmo, says his company, Pangea Software, has sold over 800,000 copies in the last six months and netted $1.5 million in the process. Though the company at one time only created games for the Mac, the success of Enigmo has persuaded them to focus exclusively on developing games for the iPhone.

Greenstone says the company didn’t originally plan to go that route. In an interview with The Guardian online, he said, “The iPhone SDK came out, and we were just going to do some apps for fun. The next thing you know, the apps were making the Mac stuff look like a joke. The Mac stuff is like lunch money compared to what the iPhone does so there’s basically no point in going…back to the Mac.” He also says the iPhone is a much more entertaining platform to develop for and makes “50 times more” than similar games for the Mac.

Is this a sign of things to come? Not necessarily. As mocoNews.net’s Dianne See Morrison points out, random luck had a lot to do with Enigmo’s success. “For a start, [Greenstone] concedes that Pangea, as a long standing maker of Mac games, ‘got a lot of love from Apple,’ including being highlighted in the App Store.” Of course, getting a spot in the App Store’s Top 100 didn’t hurt either.

Randomness and good luck aside, it’s entirely possible that Mac game development will slow as the iPhone continues its march toward ubiquity. As evidenced by the wide array of productivity apps that we cover here, the iPhone is gaining traction as a plausible stand-in for a laptop. Add to that the fact that many people haul around a Nintentdo DS or PSP around for gaming-on-the-go, and it’s easy to see that there’s a niche ready to be filled by mobile gaming apps. I’m not ready to sound the death knell on games developed especially for the Mac, but I definitely expect it to take a downturn over the next couple of years.

4 Responses to “Game Developers Hit Paydirt With iPhone Apps”

  1. Developing for the iPhone is like developing for the Mac. The rise of one does not mean the death of the other. It means the continued evolution of both.

    Remember, the iPhone runs OS X!

  2. Seeing as Apple is going towards Intel, and GPGPU, Grand Central etc, there will be a push towards better graphics, and better use of the cores of the Macs. In a way, the Macs will be more game-capable.
    We’ll see how they roll it out, but if they get a premium app store, what’s to stop them getting Mac applications and games through iTunes also, at a lower cut?