Gaming on iPhone Matures

Someone recently asked what I thought about getting their child a Nintendo DS for the holidays. My response: “Get them an iPod Touch.” The games are cheaper, many of them are free, plus there’s video and email and all the other bounties of the web. Gaming in particular is reaching new levels of maturity on the iPhone platform, as more and more professional game development shops are shipping games for Apple’s platform.

Namco recently released Katamari Damacy, a popular game on the PS2, for the iPhone. Paramount Digital has a new game, Iron Man: Aerial Assault. EA has announced that a version of SimCity is available on the iPhone. And Konami has launched a site devoted to their touch-interface games, including the popular Metal Gear Solid.

Apple is strongly encouraging gaming companies to target the iPhone platform. With the bevy of free and somewhat useless applications flooding the app store, the platform runs the risk of becoming yet another Facebook, overloaded with pointless and unsophisticated applications. Apple is hoping that serious games will drive more users to the devices, and break the free-app mentality which is driving prices for applications to the bottom. Higher-quality games and content in the App Store means more purchases and more users for Apple. This makes sense for game developers as well, as older titles that were popular and can run on less powerful platforms can be given a second life.