The Nintendo DS and Sony PSP are the two current-gen hand-held games consoles around at the moment. But there could soon be a third contender, as the iPhone starts to build momentum as a viable platform for games. One man who has seen the potential of the iPhone, and mobile phone gaming as a whole is Neil Young, who has left his job as head of Electronic Arts Los Angeles studio to set up his own company called Ngmoco.
Neil Young has had a long career at games developer EA, working on games such as The Lord Of The Rings and The Sims 2, but he’s now leaving it all behind due to the potential he sees in mobile phone gaming, and particularly gaming on the Apple iPhone.
To leave what must be a well-paying and secure job at the biggest games publisher for this new venture means Young must believe that there is a future in the business of developing and publishing games for the new generation of mobile phones, of which the iPhone is currently at the forefront.
He told Kotaku:
One of the great things… iPhone is doing, is changing the relationship between the people making games and the people buying them. It’s removing that carrier that limits the potential of the business.
The device itself is, from a performance standpoint, somewhere between a DS and a PSP, but unlike the PSP, it’s got touch, the accelerometer, the camera, the microphone… it’s location-aware, and from a usage standpoint it’s always on, always with you and always connected to the network.
My sense is, the types of experiences that we’re going to be able to build on that device and the devices that follow… are going to be really interesting and blow the doors off the business.
They are some quite bold claims, but Young seems to believe that the iPhone, and the smartphones that are sure to follow in its wake, are going to be able to compete with dedicated consoles such as the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP in the future.
Certainly the motion-sensing and touch screen capabilities of the iPhone mean it could be the home of some innovative and user-friendly games in the not too distant future, but I still have some doubts as to whether your average iPhone user is going to bother buying and playing a game on the device, especially when that same consumer is likely to already own one of the mainstream hand-held consoles anyway.
It will be interesting to see if Young succeeds, and if he does, I suspect it will open up the games side of the iPhone substantially. That’s if he and his company succeed.
Source: iphone touch