Mobile Gaming on iPhone 2.0

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by FunkyJunk, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. FunkyJunk macrumors regular

    FunkyJunk

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    #1
    After reading this article posted over at iPodHacks, I'm really curious to see how mobile gaming might become a real "killer app" for the iPhone.

    Will the iPhone really challenge the DS & PSP for gamers' hearts and minds? I have my doubts given the strong first-party focus on gaming by Sony and Nintendo, but the ease of development and distribution might be enough to overcome that hurdle.

    What do you think?
     
  2. FunkyJunk thread starter macrumors regular

    FunkyJunk

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    #2
    By the way, here's another new article from MacWorld on gaming on the iPhone. Some good quotes there.

     
  3. waterskier2007 macrumors 68000

    waterskier2007

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    #3
    My only problem with this is that for the iPhone to have any controls aside from accelerometer, it must use screen space to impose a control area. Besides that there is no reason it can't excel at gaming
     
  4. FunkyJunk thread starter macrumors regular

    FunkyJunk

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    #4
    Yeah, I see where you're coming from. If you download the game "NOIZ2SA" from Installer, you'll see a perfect example of how this can be a problem. It's a great vertical space-shooter, except for the fact that it's hard to avoid enemy shots because your finger covers up your ship.
     
  5. natejohnstone@g macrumors regular

    natejohnstone@g

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    #5
    I've been saying for a long time here and on gaming and other sites that the iPhone / iPod Touch could be a true portable gaming device. I always get flamed as an :apple: fanboy, lol. Well I'm the one laughing now ;)

    Everyone is talking about it now. Here's another article to go with the others posted:
    http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/10/...ds-market-share-as-gameloft-commits/#comments


    The Nintendo DS currently has nearly 68M units in circulation. The Sony PSP has nearly 32M. That is 100M total units in this generation of handheld game consoles, compared to 50M total standard videogame consoles (PS3, 360 and Wii combined).

    Then handheld gaming market is HUGE business, currently with only 2 players. Apple has the opportunity to get in on that multi Billion dollar industry without needing to create specific hardware--they would be the stupidest company on the planet if they didn't go for this market with both bug iGuns blazing.

    There are some issues, however, that need to be addressed:

    1) Processing ability. The 620Mhz clock speed quoted above make the iPhone look twice as "fast" as the Sony PSP. I am not an expert, I believe the processing ability of the iPhone is far below Sony's device. It's the type of processor and the chipset that matters here. Think about it...an old P4 might run 3.5Ghz but put it up against a 2.2Ghz Core 2 Duo and it will look like a turtle with a broken leg. What can the iPhone really do in comparison to current handheld consoles? Things look promising, but no one knows for sure yet, and the gamers are very skeptical. I'm hoping that the iPhone2 this summer will have an improved processor.

    2) Lack of physical buttons. This is the issue that all the gaming sites are screaming about. As much as :apple: fans might claim that the iPhone will be the exception to every other gaming device ever made and will not need physical buttons...it's simply not true. Many games NEED physical buttons and usually an analog stick, and the simple fact is that gamers won't go for it if that's not an option. Sure, you can make new games that do not need those buttons, but gamers will still want the button-required games. If :apple: is serious about getting a foothold in the mobile gaming market, they will need to address this.
    HOWEVER--this issue is very easily solved with an accessory. The GamePod, new from Apple! This is an accessory that you click your iPhone/iPod Touch into that has nice buttons, analogs, etc--maybe even an extra battery? Now people who want to play a game that would work better with buttons can simply purchase this accessory and use it for said purpose, then take out the iPhone and continue on. This way, everyone wins. I do not think you'll see a redesigned iPhone with physical gaming buttons built-in. If this really takes off, then maybe a few years from now :apple: might add a gamer's addition to their line-up, but that's a long ways off. For now, an accessory would solve the problem simply and adequately.

    3) Real games vs. mobile games. This is what the first two issues are really getting at. There is a huge difference between REAL GAMES like God of War: Chains of Olympus, Final Fantasy: Crisis Core, Zelda, and Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (which you find on the PSP and DS) when compared to MOBILE games (which you find on other smartphones like the Nokia N95) like Tetris, Snake, and other arcade games, and even old games like the first Doom.
    Right now the idea of playing games on the iPhone is a joke to most gamers. They are thinking of iPod games--crappy old arcade games. Those are not the REAL games that consumers in this market are looking for. Apple needs to court devs (and sweeten the deals they make with them!) to make REAL games, games that do indeed rival the 2 handheld consoles.

    4) World of Warcraft Mobile. If Apple can strike a deal with Activision-Blizzard to license an exclusive game for the iPhone/iPod Touch, that will clinch it as a true gaming device. This would of course have to be a limited version of the game (chatting, auction house, mailbox, etc.), but if Apple can score WoW--the biggest game in history--THAT ALONE will bring 500,000 new iphone users. I guarantee it.

    It seems to me that the iPhone/iPod Touch can indeed compete hardware-wise with the 2 players in the handheld console world. If this is true, then Apple needs to encourage some very good games to come out very quickly. If by this time next year there are not only some great console "ports" to the iPhone but also some really good exclusive games--then when people need to buy a new MP3 Player, they'll up their ante and grab and iPod Touch or an iPhone just to have these games.

    If they play it well, :apple: could get a foothold in a multi-billion dollar industry. If they play it poorly like they did with the AppleTV, they will be beaten to the punch by the immanent PSPhone.
     
  6. G4R2 macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    The controller issue isn't unique to the iPhone. PDA devices such as the Palm and PocketPC have also, with varying success, confronted this problem. For casual gaming it isn't really a problem. Probably the absence of a controller will be compensated for by the included accelarometers, clever coding, and the possibility of multiplayer gameplay.

    But to specifically attract a gaming crowd that is interested in classic shooter or platform type games where a gamepad is preferable it is possible to make accomodations. For instance, there is no reason that an external controller can't be marketed. This was, in fact, one approach to this problem where an attachable D-pad was sold to complement PDA games.
     
  7. waterskier2007 macrumors 68000

    waterskier2007

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    #7
    the only problem is that I believe the sdk does not provide an API for access to the dock connector so no external controller could be used
     
  8. G4R2 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    I'm not sure that the dock connector would necessarily be the logical spot for a physical controller. For a device like the iPhone it might make better sense to integrate a gaming controller into the headphone cable, like the current mute button. The reason this might be a more appealing approach is that adding devices to the dock connector might detract from the aesthetics of the device.

    Also, the iPhone SKD does have an interface for camera input so some clever programmer might figure out a way to create a virtual controller that involves moving a finger in front of the camera.
     
  9. natejohnstone@g macrumors regular

    natejohnstone@g

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    #9

    Good ideas all. But I still think a slide/clip-in case that has buttons would be ideal. I'm not saying this should be a 3rd party--I think that :apple: should make this themselves! That would show that they are serious about getting gamers to get into the iPhone. The end product would look something like a PSP, but the iPhone is easy to slide in and out. It think it would be sweet if it had a built-in batter extender, but that would increase the cost I suppose.

    And I agree that the accelometer and touch-screen add a whole lot of fun new gaming aspects, but you have to have "standard" gaming options if you want to attract that market. Most complaints I have heard thus far about iPhone games is that because you have to touch the screen, half of the game is always covered up! I'm sure that's fine when the game is designed that way, but if you're playing Madden that would be more than a little annoying.
     
  10. waterskier2007 macrumors 68000

    waterskier2007

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    #10
    a slide on case would have to be the option because if it was integrated into the headphone cable there would be no way to hold the phone and the controller at the same time
     
  11. G4R2 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    I'm thinking you would hold the phone in one hand and the controller the other.

    Most likely though would simply be Apple's insistence that programmers try to create innovative games that use the integrated hardware.
     
  12. natejohnstone@g macrumors regular

    natejohnstone@g

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    #12

    A slide-in controller case would be very easy to do. It would be like the iPod voice recorder or any of the other host of iPod devices, though it would be better if it was an actual :apple: product.

    Innovative games will be great, but in order to grab the gamer's marketshare they will HAVE TO have some sort of button add-on option.
     
  13. waterskier2007 macrumors 68000

    waterskier2007

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    #13
    that would be cumbersome and most good controllers require two hands to operate
     
  14. JadawinUK macrumors newbie

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    #14
    You don't need the dock if Bluetooth or Wi-Fi could be used for an add-on controller.
     
  15. natejohnstone@g macrumors regular

    natejohnstone@g

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    #15
    True, that would be the best 2-object solution. But then how to you really play it...set it on your lap or table and then use the controller? That would nullify the accelometer. So then iPhone in one hand and seperate controller in the other? Just sounds awkward to me to use anything other than a slide-in "case" that makes it similar to a PSP. An iPhone plus separate controller situation may work, but it seems like more trouble than it's worth. Just my opinion.
     
  16. Justinerator macrumors 6502

    Justinerator

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    #16
    Must............post............

    [​IMG]

    Sorry about the crappy drawing, did it in like 30 seconds. Good idea I thought. Connects through dock, retractable, with buttons. With a hole so headphones can pass through it with no disturbance. Covers ring/vibrate button, so external switch on controller attachment.

    What do you think?

    Justin

    P.S. If one of you create an accessory like this, I expect 70% royalties! :p
     
  17. waterskier2007 macrumors 68000

    waterskier2007

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    #17
    thats exactly the same thing i was thinking. the external switches are a good idea. but it cant add too much bulk
     
  18. natejohnstone@g macrumors regular

    natejohnstone@g

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    #18

    Yea, this is along the lines that I was originally thinking. If it were me, I'd make it black (to match the iPhone). A thin bezel all the way around the iPhone for stability as well as to double as a protective case. Then yes, on the bottom/corners you have your buttons, pad, and you need to add an analog stick/mini stick. Whether the buttons end up on the bottom of the landscaped screen or on the sides (like a PSP) will be up to :apple:, they should have a focus group with gamers to help with some of these decisions (I dutifully offer my services...). Sides makes more sense to me initially because of the accelerometer usage.

    The headphone hole is a must. I like the idea of the external buttons to make up for what's inaccessible. If that would make the attachment too bulky, then it could probably be set up through the software drivers for the attachment itself that the newly added buttons double as those functions (in the pause menu or something).
     
  19. Justinerator macrumors 6502

    Justinerator

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    #19
    Definitely black, with a nice snug profile. Don't know how to, but make it fit both vertically and horizontally (by retracting the middle part was my original thought). Maybe later on make certain games require this accessory to have a better experience.

    Can someone photoshop something similar to what I created in the way the people here have described? Surely someone can!

    Justin
     
  20. natejohnstone@g macrumors regular

    natejohnstone@g

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    #20

    Just photoshop a PSP with an iPhone as the screen, lol. That's what I had in my head. Though I think a bit less wide all around than the PS3 (obviously only as thick as the iPhone itself).

    I like the swivel idea too, very cool!
     
  21. SFC Archer macrumors 68000

    SFC Archer

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    #21
    iGame Dock

    This is my concept of a dock for the iPhone. It is a multi functioning platform that would include an amp for the external stereo speakers, internal battery for additional power and a belt clip to secure when something comes up that both hands are needed. I posted this in another thread but thought it would be better recieved in this thread.
     

    Attached Files:

  22. Justinerator macrumors 6502

    Justinerator

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    #22
    That's a good idea too! External speakers would be awesome.
     
  23. natejohnstone@g macrumors regular

    natejohnstone@g

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    #23

    EXCELLENT workup! Though I would swap the placement of the buttons with the speakers (i.e. buttons on the bottom), or your hands will simply be covering the speakers the whole time, right?
     
  24. grumbler macrumors member

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    Hawaii.
    #24
    Why not use....

    [​IMG]

    Or

    [​IMG]

    Hmm?

    a) a 3rd party iPhone controller would suck; Nintendo and Sony own many patents that make their controllers awesome, b) many people already own a Wii or PS3, c) with the iPhone's video output, you could actually play games on a TeeVee (not that you'd want to....), and d) the Wiimote's pointing feature might actually work on iPhone, because it has an infrared emitter.

    The only problems would be, a) Nintendo and Sony's approval, b) you'd look pretty stupid carrying a Dualshock 3 in your pocket, and c) playing with a wireless controller would require a table or something.

    Still, you can't beat what's already out there in terms of ergonomics and quality. An Apple made controller attachment would almost be guaranteed to feel and play like crap.
    And since I'm already having a wet dream, Nintendo and Sony would produce 1st party games for iPhone.
     
  25. SFC Archer macrumors 68000

    SFC Archer

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    #25
    I thought about this idea as well but found that it was very un-comfortable. Take your iPhone and hold it in the horizontal position. Try and use your thumbs low on the pad and then hold in a comfortable way and your thumbs are naturally toward the top. Also, by being at the top, if the acceleramotor is used in the game you will hold it in a manner consistant with wanting the firing buttons in a natural position to the way you are holding the iPhone.
    Your hands will only cover up about 1/3 of the speaker, if at all, depending on the user and how he/she holds the game pad.
     

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