For decades, the decision makers in video games have put their focus on the console business. But that’s changing. The rise of mobile gaming and the proliferation of free-to-play games on PC, mobile, and consoles has ushered in a transition to pave the way for tablets and smart phones to begin taking over the gaming market.
Apple announced they're going to be expanding on their app gaming service by ushering in new games that could rival the graphic capability of console gaming systems.
Andy Hess spent seven years at Apple overseeing the relationships between game makers and the App Store where he saw developers under pressure to create traditional console experiences while also keeping an eye on the mobile market. “They know they need to extend their franchises into the mobile space so they can retain engagement with their customers,” said Hess, now managing mobile and independent games for Epic Games. “That’s been hard to do until recently because the tools that they use to build content on consoles to engage people in a very emotional way simply didn’t scale for mobile. And the mobile devices, until recently, didn’t really have the power to run console-quality experiences.”
“Now game engine technology has emerged to take advantage of all these platforms, allowing the exact same assets to be used across PC, console, and mobile devices while still achieving a visual target that would be indistinguishable to the layman,” Hess said. “What we’re already seeing is more advanced mobile experiences designed for greater engagement over more hours that differentiates itself from the flood of game content developed by small teams.”
On Monday, Apple announced a new gaming development platform, dubbed Metal, at its Worldwide Developer Conference. The platform, much like DirectX12 or Mantle, bypasses the overhead of OpenGL, which currently serves as the standard for 3D graphics in iOS games and apps.
Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney followed with a presentation of a cherry blossom tree and koi pond in a garden, complete with plenty of water reflection and particle effects. "Metal frees up enough compute resources that we can give all the fish in that koi pond their own intelligence," Sweeney added, before announcing that this "zen garden" demo would be made free in the App Store upon iOS 8's public launch "in the fall." iOS 8's beta launch, in the meantime, will be made available for developers today.