As technology changes, so does gaming. Just a couple of years ago mobile phone games were considered little diversions for bored commuters. Now a lot of industry leaders see mobile gaming as the next frontier for video game developers. One of those leaders is Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, and he believes that the Apple iPhone is just the beginning for mobile gamers.
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"There's also a new entrant in the business, Apple, with the iPhone. And we don't think they will stop there." said Guillemot during an Ubisoft conference call.
Apple is important to the gaming industry right now for a couple of reasons, and one of them is the App Store. There is a lot of money to be made in the smartphone app market, and some of the most popular apps are mobile games. They're simple and inexpensive to make and, if you can push out a good one (Plants v. Zombies comes to mind), you can make a tidy little bundle of profit.
In addition to being a great, cheap-to-design-for platform, smartphones are rapidly improving in processing power and capability. There are even rumors that we'll be seeing World of Warcraft for the iPhone before too long. As smartphones become more powerful and more mainstream, we're going to start seeing big name developers enter the mobile gaming market.
The world of MMORPGs is where I see mobile gaming having its biggest future. MMO gamers aren't just paying for a video game when they subscribe, they're paying for a hobby. In some cases even a lifestyle. The more immersive a company can make their MMO, the more money they will make. Smartphones offer an opprotunity to keep gamers connected (and addicted) 24/7. No developer worth their salt is going to ignore that.
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Of course, it's not just the App store that's causing insiders to rethink the gaming industry. Guillemot also said that he expects the next generation of consoles to include set-top boxes like TiVo or cable boxes. Considering Apple's desire to involve their gadgets in every aspect of our lives and their skill at crafting peripherals, I don't think it's too far-fetched to expect that they'll be at the forefront of this new trend.