I was listening to the gdgt roundtable this morning, and they started talking about the iPhone / iPod Touch as a gaming device. Josh Topolsky insisted that Apple was trying to drink Sony and Nintendo’s milkshakes, while Ryan said that Apple is just going for the “value add” of having games.
This got me thinking about my iPhone and the experiences I’ve had using it as a handheld gaming device, especially compared with the Nintendo DS and the PSP. Granted, gaming on my phone has not been my number one priority, but I’ve download a few decent ones: Spore Origins, Tris (which I believe is now unavailable) and Tap Tap Revenge. But at the end of the day, was it more fun for me to play games on my iPhone than if I’d brought along the DS or PSP? Well, no, not especially. Was it more convenient to not have to carry a second device? Of course. Yet the overall experience quality is still going to be better on a standalone gaming platform. I just wonder if people really care all that much about having the absolute best experience… maybe they just don’t need it.
This brings me to another point on the podcast: do mainstream users really care about the nit-pickings of technologists when it comes to their buying decisions? Yes, there can definitely be a trickle effect of opinion that can sway people (“Oh, I’ve heard this phone is very buggy, I’m going to wait for the next version”). But what about mainstream gamers? Are games on the iPod/iPhone ever going to effect the number of handheld devices being purchased, and the amount they’re used? Is it just a nice added benefit to the phone, or a major selling point?
Developers are cranking out some beautiful looking games for the App Store, and I’m sure they’re enjoying the direct-to-buyer system (that is, if their app makes it through the approval process), but I wonder what other frequent gamers are thinking.
Do you think people will eventually buy the iPod or iPhone with the primary function of being their gaming device?
Image courtesy of Apple.com