If you grew up in the mid-to-late nineties and early 00's, you probably played a ton of Namco fighting games. Now those of you who own iPhones and iPod touches will get a chance to relive those heady days of youth that you wasted playing video games. Namco Bandai has formed an Apple Gaming Division, and they're working on porting some of their most venerable titles over to Cupertino's flagship smartphone.
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9to5Mac reports on a Kotaku interview with Namco Apple Games chief Jonathan Kromrey. Mr. Kromrey confirmed that Namco is working on iPhone compatible versions of several classics, including Soul Calibur and Tekken. The company's Apple Games division plans to launch a wide range of titles for the iPhone, including original games as well as rehashes of old ones. Prices for Namco iPhone games are expected to be around $5, with certain titles costing more.
I have a feeling that Namco Bandai won't be the last major game developer to put significant resources and an entire team towards developing and porting games for the iPhone OS. Smartphone gaming, especially on the iPhone, has jumped through the roof in popularity. A lot of people use their iPhones as their primary Internet browsing device. Why not use them as their primary gaming device as well?
Hardcore gamers will never leave their consoles or the PC behind, but those kinds of people aren't the only driving force in the market. As Nintendo's Wii proved, casual gamers are the largest source of revenue out there for developers. By catering to them on their phones, companies can ensure that people never miss an opportunity to game.
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While the boom in smartphone gaming means terrible things for social interaction worldwide, it's of extreme benefit to gamers. A lot of the profits from these games go into developing the titles that we love. The movie industry is financed in large part by terrible, cheap comedies like 'Meet the Spartans', and the gaming industry is increasingly funded by small, casual mobile games. It's a beautiful circle.