1. On a personal level, what do you like about the iPhone?
For me the iPhone is such a unique tool. There is nothing else available at the moment which can deliver a phone, camera, Internet, and gaming experience all in the convenience of such a small powerful device. Obviously the touch screen is a huge selling point for this device and is one of the reasons why it's so successful. This device is also the only real opportunity indie developers have to get noticed in a large way with many developers becoming millionaires from releasing successful titles. I love how this can happen and it feels good to be a part of the history and success of the App Store. There are certain games and even apps on our iPhones that we couldn't find anywhere else and I find that in this day and age pretty amazing.
2. What type of demand do you think is out there for iPhone games?
There is a huge demand for iPhone (and soon to be iPad) games. We have something like over 150,000 apps on the App Store and over 30,000 of them are games. People want iPhone games because they are just so different and cheap. Others and myself just love the fact that we can have something that you can play with ease just by tilting your phone or touching the screen. Lots of games are casual and easy to play on the go and having many as $0.99 or even free it means your average Joe can have heaps of games to play at any one time. Many games are also available that are family friendly, meaning they are simple enough that the parents of the house will love the game to bits but it is easy enough for their children to be able to play the game also. Doodle Jump is one of those games that the whole family can play. The demand will just keep growing, but with the iPad I see there being more serious games from the big players like Gameloft and Electronic Arts.
3. In your opinion, what's different and appealing about iPhone games in comparison to games of other mobile phones?
Before the iPhone I would maybe play Snake on my phone by pressing small and annoying buttons. With the iPhone we are given a huge screen with nothing in the way so you can have multiple buttons and it is still very easy to play. Also having such a powerful device means that we can see graphics that we never dreamed of having on a mobile phone. Games like NOVA and Need for Speed are classic examples of games which just seem to be designed for bigger and better devices, yet we get to play it for a fraction of the price. While other phones in the Smart Phone category are slowly catching up to the iPhone, I don't feel as if there is anything out that was designed better to play games on... even if that wasn't the iPhone's purpose in the beginning.
4. Can you advise our readers on how to select a good iPhone game? What should they look for?
If you are looking at buying an iPhone game there are a few options you need to consider:
- Is the game getting good reviews? This is not only on sites but on iTunes, as well. If a game is getting lots of one-star reviews and consumers complaining about the game being 'laggy' or having bad controls, it may be better to wait for an update or pass altogether. A warning for all though, while iTunes reviews are helpful, some people complain about almost anything and will give 1 star no matter what. It is best to get a general overview of the game from both iTunes and various review sites.
- Does the game have a lite version? Lite versions are an excellent way of trialling the game for free to see if you like it or not. Quite a few developers have lite versions for their games so if they do I suggest downloading that first.
- Are you actually interested in the game? There is no point buying something if you have no desire for it. For me, I have no interest what so ever in the old 16 bit games so when they are ported I tend to steer clear and not review those games. If you are a casual player who doesn't want to spend lots of money on games then a $0.99 game like Flight Control would be more suitable to you instead of a serious game like Call of Duty: Zombies for $9.99.
5. Where are the best places to get Free Games for the iPhone?
The best place to find free games is obviously on the App Store. Checking the 'Top Free' section of the games will give you most downloaded games. Another great initiative underway is a site called FreeAppADay.com. This site is getting developers to turn their paid games free for a day in return for some publicity. It greatly profits the developers and consumers as we can see how good the developers' games are, and possibly buy their future releases. Many games go on sale for free from time to time and it is best to check the various review sites for news of this. TouchArcade.com is probably the easiest way to find out about those releases.
6. Which iPhone game developers do you recommend?
There are many developers that publish and develop great games for my beloved iPhone. Many big name developers stand out with companies like Electronic Arts, Gameloft, Capcom and Activision all with very impressive titles due to them being able to throw lots of money into developing the best game possible. Electronic Arts and Gameloft in particular dominate the App Store, both releasing 20+ games (Closer to 50+ for Gameloft) last year and they continually hold multiple spots on the top games list. Developers like Activision and Rockstar Games are merely dipping their foot into the App Store with a few titles, but expect them to expand as they see that there is money to be made on the App Store. As I said earlier this platform is perfect for 'indie' developers who want to step it up to the next level. Many, many developers have great games and have different routes to go with releasing the game. Some impressive titles are picked up and published by Chillingo and all their games are a great way to support indie developers. If I had to pick out a few smaller developers who really impress me then it would be Tag Games, Gamevil, Subatomic Studios and Ngmoco. Many developers start on the App Store as a hobby they do at night but many have turned it into a full time business and they are the ones to really look out for.
7. What are some of the most anticipated iPhone games to be released in the coming months?
As I am writing this on the eve of GDC (Game Developers Conference) there will be a heap of games that I won't be listing as I simply haven't heard about them yet. 2010 is going to be a huge year for the App Store with more apps then ever before launched, more apps downloaded and simply a higher standard of gaming. The iPad will be able to deliver some huge games that simply require more than a small iPhone screen. Even though I can't include all GDC announced titles it is obvious the iPhone will be strong this year. Some titles already announced to be coming out in the next few months include titles such as Splinter Cell: Conviction, The Sims 3: World Adventures, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, Skate It, 2010 FIFA World Cup, Pure Football, Mirror's Edge, Zenonia 2, Zen Bound 2, and many, many more. I see this year having a slight transition from a more casual gaming App Store to having more developers putting in the big bucks to whip out a large title. While we will still have our classic favorites to play for five minutes, more big games will definitely be seen over the next year.