Thursday, April 8, 2010

iPhone OS4 Means New Opportunities for Game Developers

After watching the iPhone OS 4 media event live blog coverage I realized the definition of what goes into a gaming platform is becoming fairly standardized for this generation of technology.

As I've written before from a slightly different perspective, developers and designers need to develop for platforms that are going to be profitable and technologically viable.

Here's what Apple is making standard-issue in their iPhone OS4:

Multitasking. This addresses the reality that mobile users are likely to be interrupted, and will want to switch out from game to phone call to text message as the need arises.

GameKit. An integrated social network linking friends and their games. While I've not seen details on GameKit, the theory is sound. It certainly worked for Xbox Live, and it's something I've always encouraged in my game and metagame designs.

iAd. A revenue stream for developers. Developers will earn 60% of the ad revenues. And the ads themselves are supposedly game-friendly, in that they will leverage the multitasking abilities of the platform to maintain the game behind the ad. The ads themselves are supposed to give ad designers the ability to leverage HTML5 to create rich media experiences such as in-Ad games and in-Ad purchasing. All very cool, although I find myself wondering if developers get a cut of the in-Ad purchases.

Background GPS Support. While still accompanied with the warning that GPS is battery intensive, the ability for a game to leverage GPS, and an iAd to leverage GPS while spawned from a game, means that Location Based Services will see an upsurge. Again. Smart advertising tailored to where a user is playing their games should make the advertising more relevant and attractive to users. For example, playing a game in a coffee shop spawns an ad for the coffee shop, opposed to some random store nowhere near the user. Pretty cool stuff, as far as crappy advertising goes.

While critics of iPhone OS 4 will have a field day with the iPhone 3G not supporting multitasking, the platform is becoming well-rounded and will continue to appeal to users and games developers alike. The iPhone will be a center for innovation for the next year, and I'm excited to see what developers do with it.

© Jeremy Buehler and Rogue Tendencies ( 2010.

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