What the new iPhone 4 means for gamers

Jun 7, 2010
Games

Apple CEO Steve Jobs made his annual appearance at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference on Monday, where he debuted the next generation iPhone 4 and demoed eight of its major features.  The bells and whistles of the new operating system (iOS 4) include a sleeker handset, an improved battery and Wi-Fi lifespan, as well as a […]

Apple CEO Steve Jobs made his annual appearance at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference on Monday, where he debuted the next generation iPhone 4 and demoed eight of its major features.  The bells and whistles of the new operating system (iOS 4) include a sleeker handset, an improved battery and Wi-Fi lifespan, as well as a gyroscope.

New games

A handful of companies announced new apps for the iPhone during Jobs’ keynote address, including game developers.  FarmVille made a lot of people happy with the new iPhone version of the game, complete with push notifications. Making the full-conversion leap from Facebook to the iPhone, Zynga can better expand on new and existing audiences.

Guitar Hero ($2.99) also demonstrated its new iPhone game, which will be releasing a number of new and classic songs for game play. The timing is ripe for Guitar Hero, particularly as song releases through an iPhone app take advantage of a great form of interactive media marketing.

iPhone 4’s gyroscope

I doubt that the thinner, less round shape of the iPhone 4 will affect game development much.  However, the gyroscope has large implications for the iPhone 4’s games, as it adds another dimension to game play.  The two-axis gyroscope offers more precise movement control, which, when combined with the existing accelerometer, could vastly enhance video games created for the iPhone.

This is important for Apple, because it provides an attractive, device-specific feature for developers to play with.  When the iPhone first launched its accelerometer, a slew of games simulating basketball to bowling cropped up from major and independent developers alike.  The added gyroscope further encourages games to be created around the iPhone 4, just as the accelerometer did.

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iAds and the Game Center

Another way in which Apple is looking to encourage game development for the iPhone 4 is the update to iAds.  Providing a more self-managed tool for incorporating ads into iPhone apps extends multiple revenue-generating options to developers.  While still more controlled than Google’s Android, iAds is intended to supplement developers, so they can continue to build free or inexpensive games for consumers.

Though the new Game Center wasn’t detailed during Jobs’ keynote address, it also has the potential for impacting game play on the iPhone.  Creating a social hub around game apps (similar to the old version of Yahoo! Games) builds improvements around the interactivity of mobile apps, akin to what Apple is looking to do with the iPhone 4’s multitasking capabilities.

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