Yeah, yeah, a cheaper, faster, generally more-capable iPhone optionally available in – shocker – white is coming in July. Snooze. The special sauce in Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference keynote this morning was not the sexy new hardware, even if it managed to turn my barely year-old phone into an impossibly uncool, technologically obsolete brick. And, it wasn’t the do-it-all-magically-‘over-the-air’-somehow email, contact, and photo-syncing service, MobileMe. No, the top-notch caliber of the games on display was arguably the most important thing about this morning’s presentation
Apple’s aggressive hardware pricing – the least expensive available iPhone will be just $199 – combined with its tested distribution platform – the App Store through the venerable iTunes – could set off a revolution in cell-phone based gaming. Today’s previews of new, graphically impressive titles which seem to feature sophisticated gameplay go a long way towards substantiating the potential depth of the iPhone as a gaming platform. In other words, rather than one or two triple-A games, Spore or Monkey Ball for example, choked by a gaggle of worthless titles, iPhone gaming is shaping up to be a fully baked experience. (You can see a demo of one title on this page.)
I don’t think that, as some have argued, the iPhone in any way threatens the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP. However, like the iPod before it, the iPhone seems poised to revolutionize an as-of-yet largely sluggish, unsatisfying consumer experience: cell-based gaming.