Pocket Gamer

Pocket Gamer
The Pocket Gamer Report: The iPhone as a Serious Handheld

Pocket Gamer | 23 Jan 2010 10:00
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There's always some resistance to a new console entering the market - the Xbox brand is now nearly 10 years old and 60-million-plus consoles strong, yet even it is regarded by many as the new kid on the block that still needs to pay its dues before it's considered worthy of respect.

With that in mind, what chance does the iPhone (or iPod Touch) have, especially given the hate it/love it divide among consumers when it comes to the Apple brand at large? As it stands, despite incredible sales and a very healthy business model, the iPhone finds itself the butt of many gaming jokes among more dedicated, longstanding gamers with established loyalties elsewhere. Head over to any internet forum or discussion thread on the matter and you will find as many dissenting voices as you will new converts.

So think of this as both a list of facts and an appeal. We're going to dismiss the most common myths and criticisms made of the iPhone as a games console in the hope that those gamers who haven't already will accept the platform as one of their own and allow it to suckle from their nourishing teats.

So what are the most common myths and criticisms made of Apple's device? We've narrowed them down to three: the games are no use; the iPhone is over-priced; and the touchscreen/tilt combination interface doesn't work.

Let's deal with them in turn, shall we?

First up: the quality of the games. Any gamer with an open mind would find it hard to resist the charms of any of 2009's finest iPhone releases. Titles such as Jet Car Stunts, N.O.V.A., Need for Speed Shift, Squareball, Glyder 2, Zen Bound and Star Defense are hardcore games for hardcore players that demand to be taken seriously.

Then there's the development talent. The iPhone can count the absolute cream of modern game designers, such as Hideo Kojima, John Carmack and Will Wright, among its admirers. In fact, all of those esteemed developers (and a growing number of their contemporaries) have gone beyond merely complimenting the platform from the sidelines, actually getting involved and delivering some top-notch games.

Moving on, let's look at the iPhone's second most commonly claimed failing: its price. Granted, getting an iPhone on contract is not exactly a bargain by anyone's standards. A basic iPhone 3G 8GB costs $99 plus a minimum $30 a month contract for two years on AT&T. The iPhone 3GS costs even more.

But a 3rd-generation 8GB iPod Touch (which has the same graphical grunt as the iPhone 3GS) costs just $183.99 on Amazon. That's just $13.98 more than a Nintendo DSi, which doesn't include anything like the dizzying array of extra features found on the Touch. Compare it to the PSP and the difference is greater still - a brand new PSPgo 8GB comes in at a whopping $241.67 on Amazon. That's over $50 more expensive than the latest iPod Touch.

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