Apple has been at the forefront of personal computing innovation since 1976. It seems that there’s a brick wall dividing the Mac users and PC users, but no matter which side of the wall you’re on there’s no denying what Apple has accomplished.
I’m sitting here today, less than an hour before one of the most anticipated days in recent tech history. The day we all are expecting something huge — preferably in the shape of a nice slim tablet device. After a few sneak-peek tweets on tablet games by @jason I started thinking of what Apple has done for the gaming industry and culture — starting with the iPhone, most recently.
The Culture of Gaming
Gaming culture has been through quite an evolution as of late. Its roots lie in the old-school Pong and its audience has changed extremely.
It used to be that a gamer was stereotyped as a smelly geek in his mom’s basement. But now anyone can be a gamer.
These days, 55% of American households purchase video games, and now 46% of gamers are women. As to whether the traditional “gaming culture” will vanish or not is a whole other beast.
Gamers used to be part of that untouchable social group, but things have changed with the accessibility of games and gaming devices like the iPhone, Wii and Playstation. The iPhone alone sold almost 45 million units in its first few years compared to gaming giant, Nintendo — who sold 40 million DS devices in it’s first two years.
Yes, I listed the iPhone along with those other consoles.
Developing games for the iPhone is far easier and cheaper than those for larger consoles like the Wii. The main appeal in iPhone games lie in the fact that they are quick and can easily be played with others.
So what else makes the iPhone great for gaming?
- You’re always connected. Games on the iPhone can easily take advantage of the built in wireless capabilities to allow interaction between gamers and you always have access to the Internet.
- The touchscreen. Apple makes amazing touchscreens, hands down. Both the iPhone and the tablet take advantage of how responsive it is with intuitive UI’s.
- The established means of distribution. Apple is seriously putting pressure on companies like Sony and Nintendo on this front. The app store is FULL of games — they’re easy and cheap to come by.
- In-app commerce. The downloadable content in games is a great feature to have. It gives a dynamic experience for the gamer.
- The games are easy to develop. To put it in perspective, it takes 12-18 months to develop a PSP title.
- It’s a multi-functional device. Other companies have struggled to get their consoles to even connect to social networks, and the issue still remains that you’re tethered to your home.
Initially, it was the indie game developers that saw the potential of the iPhone’s gaming possibilities, but big box companies like EA and Namco have since joined the bunch, with their own titles.
The possibilities are endless with the Apple tablet hitting the scene now. It will truly be a game-changer for gaming, as it will have (at least) all of the advantages of the iPhone. Add in a larger screen and countless new features — out comes an impressive gaming machine.
I want to see more Augmented Reality games developed, now with the new hardware available. Imagine MMO-style gaming with an AR component, or an AR component to even the simplest of LBS games like Foursquare.
The stage is set for big change — not only in gaming. Show us your hand, Apple.