Street Fighter IV, 3D mobile, and the future of mobile games

Mar 10, 2010
Games

While gaming as an industry has been around for decades, the growth of mobile phone usage has really given game developers a fresh market to sink their teeth into.  The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is a great arena to see what’s currently going on in the mobile gaming world, as well as what we can […]

While gaming as an industry has been around for decades, the growth of mobile phone usage has really given game developers a fresh market to sink their teeth into. 

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is a great arena to see what’s currently going on in the mobile gaming world, as well as what we can expect from the future.  The heightened expectations around mobile devices, such as the upcoming Apple iPad, give more weight to the importance of mobile gaming, all of which is reflected with the news, discussions and demonstrations emerging over the course of GDC.

Street Fighter IV and 3D

Already, we’ve heard some big announcements from dominating game developers such as EA Games and Epic, with other noteworthy companies such as Ngmoco making moves to increase its market share by focusing on games for the iPad.  As the conference continues, we’re seeing some additional announcements regarding upcoming games, such as a new Street Fighter for the iPhone, as well as a new focus for Palm as it reveals its plans for 3D mobile gaming capabilities.

Capcom’s iPhone version of Street Fighter IV features some classic graphics and manages to pack quite a punch.  Bringing a classic game such as Street Fighter from the console to the iPhone is a challenge in itself, and it’s something many developers are working on, especially as there is often plenty of room for improvement.

As such, it’s important to note that Epic is looking to improve its mobile game platform so it’s better able to bring PC games to the iPhone mobile realm.  Announced at GDC on Tuesday during the iPhone summit, Epic highlights existing developers’ needs to look to mobile gaming devices for future implementation of console and computer games.

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For Palm users, however, the mobile gaming app market isn’t quite as vast as the iTunes App Store.  As Palm works vigorously to improve its smart phone technology, the mobile device manufacturer announced developer tools for 3D games.  There aren’t many other details regarding Palm’s hopes around the new developer tools, but its expanding game offerings highlight the company’s desire to carve out a niche for itself as the iPhone continues to dominate the mobile app space.

Possible future mobile app trends

Beyond mobile phone apps, however, there is some development in cloud and social gaming that is worth mentioning. OnLive announced on Wednesday its plans to launch its on-demand game cloud in June of this year, making remote access to your games an easy task.  From your console to your computer, OnLive will offer participating publishers’ games through its subscription-based cloud service.  It’s relatively safe to say that social networks and mobile devices are a hopeful next step for OnLive or similar services, especially as console game developers such as EA look to make more of their existing games optimized for mobile devices.

Speaking of social networks, they are helping to push the trend towards social games on mobile devices as well.  Between hi5 and other developers such as Zynga, there is a distinct focus on the potential of social gaming at GDC this year. Social network hi5 has also announced enhancements to its platform with incentives for developers to build socially-involved games. 

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While hi5 is appealing to developers frustrated with Facebook’s platform restrictions, Zynga continues to ride Facebook with its ongoing success of Farmville.  The company announced the milestone of 32 million daily players for the wildly popular Facebook game app.

As with OnLive, the social emphasis at GDC doesn’t always correlate directly with mobile trends.  But as social networks continue to overlap with our mobile devices, and companies such as Ngmoco find ways to make mobile games more social by nature, we’re likely to see this trend develop towards mobile availability in the next year as well.

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Kristen Nicole

Kristen Nicole spends most of her time (literally) writing for various online publications in the social media space.

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