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iPhone 5 could have a big impact on games Exclusive
iPhone 5 could have a big impact on games
September 12, 2012 | By Chris Morris

September 12, 2012 | By Chris Morris
Comments
    45 comments
More: Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing, Exclusive



There's no question the iPhone 5 will be a roaring success when it goes on sale Sept. 21. But the latest smart phone from Apple could also give certain game publishers a significant boost.

Gaming has increasingly been an important part of the Apple ecosystem – and while video game companies only made token appearances at Wednesday's press event, at least one says it views the new phone's release as a major catalyst for the industry.

"The iPhone 5 is going to be a big accelerant for us," says Nick Earl, SVP of EA’s Global Mobile and Social Studios. "Having been in the console business for two decades, we've seen that when [new] consoles come out, we see a huge improvement in powers that brings in new gamers and fuels growth. I don't see any difference here. Is [the iPhone 5] revolutionary? It's hard to know until we see it out there, but it feels like such a strong device in terms of its capability."

The CPU strength, of course, is a big plus. Apple's decision to include the A6 processor in the iPhone 5 makes it twice as fast as its predecessor. That gives game makers more power to create better artificial intelligence and higher quality graphics.

That's especially important as the mobile audience matures into more core gaming (dubbed mid-core by publishers, as opposed to the hard core gaming masses on consoles and PC). But it might not be the biggest draw for publishers and developers.

"The number one thing from our perspective is the 4-inch retina display," he says. "Our roots, as a company, are graphically oriented. We create rich, graphical experiences."

However, while EA Studios executive producer Rob Murray compared the graphical quality of the iPhone 5 onstage to today's consoles, Earl is careful to note that the systems still don't represent a threat to traditional home consoles.

"We absolutely believe this is complementary," he says. "This is not a threat to the console business. It's a different player - or if it's the same player, they're playing at different times and under different circumstances."

The jump from a 3.5-inch screen to a 4-inch one is something that can't be understated, as well. After ignoring wide screen gaming for years, Apple has finally made it a part of the iOS culture (though, granted, it's likely much more focused on the film aspects of the new screen size).

The move to a 16:9 screen ratio strips away one of the PS Vita's bragging rights. As mobile games become more focused on core gamers in the months and years to come, that ratio will be fully utilized to showcase more cinematic titles.

And while it's hardly a new story that the iPhone's battery outlasts dedicated handheld systems, Apple did manage to tweak Nintendo and Sony by ramping up the processing power and adding a significantly better (and bigger) screen, while managing to actually increase the system's battery life.

The 3DS and Vita both have notable shortcomings when it comes to that litmus test.

What's noteworthy is that while EA is planning to place its "biggest bet" on the iPhone 5, don't forget Apple also rolled out a slew of new iPod Touch devices – the system it has always touted as its gaming device. And it didn't hesitate to do so again today:

"It's the world's most popular music player... but a lot of people don't realize that it's also the world's most popular videogame player as well," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's VP of iPod, iPhone and iOS product marketing.

Every iPod Touch now has that same wide screen – and the flagship line got many of the updates the iPhone 5 did, making it a draw for people who aren't ready to upgrade their phone yet. Meanwhile. the iPod Nano doesn't support apps yet, but it seems a pretty sure bet that it will down the road, given the design decisions Apple made this time around.

Despite what the doomsayers might proclaim, Apple isn't a giant that's going to devour the rest of the industry. But its announcements this week will help it solidify its place as a focal point for gamers – and game makers – alike.


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Comments


TC Weidner
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why, android still outsells it now. Im so sick of these marketing pieces "disguised" as journalism.

Here are some facts you seem to have forgotten.

There were four Android phones for every iPhone shipped in the second quarter, research firm IDC said Wednesday. That's up from a ratio of 2.5 to 1 in the same period last year.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/android-marketshare-ipho
ne_n_1756180.html

David Amador
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Yeah but do game devs make any substantial profits there? I heard that they don't, at least compared to iOS

Tom Baird
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But Market Share is not actually the be all end all.

iOS still sells Apps in much larger volume, as well as being much easier to develop for (MUCH less fragmentation, although this device makes it worse).

This article explains it much better than I can:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/appsblog/2012/jun/10/apple-d
eveloper-wwdc-schmidt-android
And this one, though it's out of date:
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/12/ios-revenues-vs-android/

As an anecdotal example, I know of one developer who made it into the top 10 paid of the Google store about a year ago, and saw ~500 sales that month. Android is selling well, but apps for Android are not.

Until the Android store can sell apps at the rate of the iOS store, the number of devices is irrelevant, since they don't seem to be buying anything. And paying customers are the most important metric to someone trying to sell something.

Justin Sawchuk
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Yeah but the droid market is 1/10th the size of the IOS market. To the point that mika-mobile that sells millions of units per game on IOS decided to give up on the droid platform. Its fragmented to hell, its got insanely high piracy rate, no selective process in terms of what crap they allow on there, no method for discovery of new apps. Quite frankly it sucks and unless your game goes viral there is no point to porting to droid, its largely a waste of time and money.

Matt Robb
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Are we comparing app sales or profits from apps? Seems like an awful lot of games on these devices are F2P, so comparing app sales probably distorts the figures in favor of Apple, and comparing app downloads probably distorts the figures in Android's favor.

Matt Robb
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In regards to Justin's comment, why is it that everyone seems to think that the app stores are supposed to handle all your marketing? People seem to think it with phones as well as Steam and friends. I really don't get it.

TC Weidner
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@Justin the average app revenue is like 500 bucks, so unless your game goes viral on ANY device, you arent looking at any real money.
And my point remains, regurgitated press releases like this are of little use to us, its marketing crap and lil else. If you read this article it would seem like android didnt even exist, let alone own the majority of market share.

Bob Johnson
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@TC

LIke it or not the iPHone is a flagship of the smartphone industry. That's why this article is written about it.

Also I don't think you consider that much of Android's numbers are coming from phones that are ultra-cheap. Phones which are hardly equivalents of any of the iPHones of the past 4 years.

Chris Melby
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@Bob,

The iPhone still garners mindshare with the mainstream media, but as far as being the flagship of the smartphone industry.. That's completely subjective and technically speaking it does not hold up.

Check your facts. The best selling Android phones are technically better than what Apple has been offering. If what you said about ultra cheap being true, than the top 5 would reflect that, it does not.

The number one selling phone in the world right now is the Galaxy S3. It even outsold the iPhone here in the U.S this last month, when supposedly 'everyone' was waiting for the iPhone 5. What that tells me, is that only current iPhone peeps are waiting for Apple's newest and that many are already jumping ship.

So, let's see how well this new iPhone does. My guess is that it will see a healthy share of side grades, but not at the level of the iPhone 4. Apple's share is slipping and this latest models doesn't help, as it brings nothing new to the plate; well it's taller, which affords it a 5th row of icons...

Andrew Chen
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I don't really see the problem with the article perse but your assertion that it comes off sounding like a PR release is pretty amusing (just re-skimmed it and it kinda sorta does). That said man...what the writer states in the article is not untrue.
The iPhone 5 will surely do gangbusters, will likely be an impactful device on the videogame market given the number of users who play games on its predecessors and it will surely help push the boundaries of mobile games forward as the scion of the most popular mobile development platform (i.e. a greater amount of developer resources will be funneled to it).
I can chuckle and understand that this comes off as sounding like PR as well but seriously...
What about percentage of total value as measured by profits generated per platform?

Android is a very successful platform and will only grow but in terms of market moolahs captured Apple certainly is killin' it.

Ian Bogost
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Yawn yawn yawn yawn.

Pablo Simbana
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title should be: "iPhone 5 could have a big impact on CASUAL games"

Adam Bishop
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Why? So that people who like to think of themselves as "hardcore" can pat themselves on the back?

Kyle Redd
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@Adam

No, it's because the iPhone 5 isn't going to result in any significant change in the types of games that are sold in the Apple app store, despite the article's inference that it will. We are not going to start seeing $20-and-up "core" games suddenly become successful as a result of iPhone 5, because those aren't the types of games that people want to play on mobile devices.

Amir Sharar
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You mean "Portable Arcade games".

"Casual games" was a term coined and used by people who don't really understand the difference between certain types of videogames.

I'm just sayin'...I mean, if you want to really go there. :)

Jacob Germany
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By definition, casual games don't need processors that are twice as fast or dual-core GPUs. Debate all you want that the iPhone 5 will help produce more or less core games than a certain prediction, but the impact will be on core games, not casual games.

Pablo Simbana
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@Adam: No, but the platform itself is not a gaming one, it caters to a certain player. I play on my phone too, but I play temple run on it, I carry my phone all the time and when I have lets say 3 minutes free, I'll play with it, thats it. I wouldn't play ff iii or more "deep" games on it because it will run my precious battery that i need to make calls and check email, you know the reason that I have a phone in the first place. If I need to play I can easily take out my ps vita and play some stardust delta and gravity rush or my 3ds and get some mario on the go. As for my phone, its a great time waster when I don't have time for better games.

Pablo Simbana
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@Joe: See? thats my point, haven't played it but it looks very simple. Don't get me wrong, it looks fun to play and apparently hard. But from my point of view it still stands as time waster. I guess I'm used to the games I've been playing on pc and consoles for the last 10 years and haven't seen even one game on mobile that can compete with them in terms of gameplay (as far as I've seen touchscreen works only for certain kind of games)
Maybe that's why they cost so little or are free and cater to a different and bigger audience than "dedicated gamers"

Jacob Germany
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FF 3 will run your battery down? But Temple Run won't? What?

k s
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I just don't see a machine not dedicated to gaming really having a real impact on gaming. Gamers have been using consoles (and PC to an extent) for gaming for years because that's what they are specifically designed to do. A jack of all trades will never be a master of anything.

David Navarro
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I guess the PC didn't have a real impact on gaming, then. *shrug*

Jacob Germany
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Non-dedicated [popular] devices have impacts in dedicated industries specifically because they are not dedicated. Fuller functionality, more ever-presence, and wider demographics.

Like David's example.

Steven Christian
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The Xperia Play was the only phone that could have had a big impact on games. It's a shame that the phone was terrible.

Maurício Gomes
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I have one, the only terrible thing is PSN not working at all on it...

Or having a very small library of games :( (I already finished I think most games that support its controls )

Troy Walker
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... and i thought a device like OUYA might have an impact on gaming, but what do i know. sheesh, so much for thinking a gaming device, made for gaming, might have an impact.

perhaps someone can invent an interactive toilet? boy, i bet that would sell like hotcakes and impact gaming with the apple logo on it.

Rey Samonte
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Actually, they already have. It's called the Vita. Not to say the device is junk...the complete opposite actually. When I play my Vita on the toilet, I'm usually there till my legs go numb. LOL! Okay...TMI...I apologize. ;)

Andrew Dobbs
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PC vs. Mac, Nintendo vs. Sega, Sony vs. Microsoft, and now Droid vs. iOS. Let the battles rage!

Justin Lynch
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Even as a mobile developer I don't really see the iPhone 5 as a game changer. At this point all the mobile developers aren't really innovating on their hardware. Better processing power is to be expected but eventually the increases for every generation of devices will slow down.

The fact is that mobile devices have already carved a niche into the Video Game market and I don't really see them expanding much beyond what they are now. Within the next year or so most people will own smartphones which means the market will reach its saturation point.

John Flush
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Once I got my iPad I don't see any reason to use my phone as a gaming device anymore, so much in fact that I think my next phone will be an android or something. I was worried for a long time about sticking around the iStores and such, but I don't see any reason anymore.

Bob Johnson
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Yeah my son sold his Touch a week ago because he can't stand the much smaller screen since we got an Ipad.

Steve Fulton
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Does this mean another $#@! screen size to support?

Bob Johnson
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"And while it's hardly a new story that the iPhone's battery outlasts dedicated handheld systems, Apple did manage to tweak Nintendo and Sony by ramping up the processing power and adding a significantly better (and bigger) screen, while managing to actually increase the system's battery life.

The 3DS and Vita both have notable shortcomings when it comes to that litmus test. "


I think the article forgets that the iPHone's battery life is much much worse when playing games than it is while surfing or talking on the phone or watching video. I bet, for a comparable game, that it really isn't any better than a 3ds or Vita.

Chris Melby
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I'm with you on this.

Apple tends to stretch the truth when it comes to their products capabilities.

My current MacBook Pro as an example, was advertised with 8 hours of battery life, but like most of Apple's claims, it's only under very specific circumstances; as in turning down the brightness almost all of the way, turning off all wireless, and only working on a word document from what I recall.

Nuttachai Tipprasert
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About to post the same thing after reading that paragraph.

Seriously, I cannot believe those words came from game developer website journalist. I means, how can you compare two things on different context and call your self professional journalist? Mobile phone battery life will last very long if you turn off 3G, don't watch any movies and not playing games. In other words, it you treat your iDevices as standard phone you will not need to recharge your battery for more than two days. But if you playing games they cannot last more than 3 hours. And from my own experience, my NDS and PSP battery can last more longer than that.

And I don't believe iPhone 5 will have any real impacts on mobile gaming. It's just an upgraded iPhone 4S. It's technical spec is not much difference than Galaxy S3. After S3 has launched for almost 4 months, does mobile gaming has any significant changes? No. Bigger screen and more powerful processors will not change the way player play their games on mobile device, because, they never interested in those kind of things to begin with. Do you need console processing power for playing Angry Bird or Temple Run?

Nick Kinsman
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I wanted to chime in a similar note on this:
The price difference of the devices is similarly staggering.

A Vita costs $300+, but that's still less than half of what this phone would probably cost if you bought it outright. I'm sure if Sony or Nintendo wanted to sell you an $700 handheld system, they could improve many of their existing features.
Seriously, such an apples and oranges argument (no pun intended) ...

Bob Johnson
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Also the article fails to mention the real cost of an iPhone - $675. And if you don't get a new one every 2 years it will cost you more.

Jacob Germany
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Do you mean if you get a new one every year, it will cost you more? Or are you somehow including the data plan as a part of the cost?

Brad Borne
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Another day, another article on how iPhones will effect gaming *rolls eyes*

I'm a big Apple fan and all, but come on, guys.

Merc Hoffner
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Food in the Camero and the difference between effect and affect are the only two things Marshall is really serious about :P

Andrew Chen
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I for one would like to read articles on how its NOT affecting gaming.

Stuart Brown
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Can the iOS market support the cost of creation of games with "better artificial intelligence and higher quality graphics"? Can this continue indefinitely?

The rush to free-to-play revenue models seems to be the solution to this problem, but at the same time it risks ghettoisation and the increasingly desperate exploitation of a drifting playerbase.

Jamie Mann
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Total iPhone sales: 250 million
Total iPod touch sales: 46 million
Total iPad sales: 55 million

Projected iPhone 5 sales: the most optimistic estimates project up to 170 million in the first year.

IN other words, the iPhone 5 is going to be - at best - approx. 30% of the total userbase. And this is based on (IMO) a highly optimistic set of sales projections: it's a new, high-end, high-cost device being released during an ongoing economic depression, which also has to compete with low-cost Android devices - in the UK, contract-free Android phones (aka PAYG deals) can be bought from as little at 40 GBP (approx. $65) - less than 10% of the cost for a contract-free iPhone 5 (£529).

Admittedly, Apple does have a number of things going for it - the App Store carries a lot of appeal and inertia, and the iPhone 5 itself is likely to be something of a status symbol, since it's visibly different to the previous iPhone models.

But even so, I don't think it's going to capture enough market share to be worth specifically targetting - and in the meanwhile, iOS developers now have another platform which they have to develop and test against - and they'll also have to make sure that their UI renders correctly for both 4:3 and 16:9 displays...

Merc Hoffner
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Yes I don't see how it can possibly sustain these spiraling projections, and competition from newly competent rivals certainly is becoming an increasing factor, but the ongoing economic catastrophe is empirically not a factor, as Apple has been able to sustain ridiculous sales and margins directly in the face of the financial collapse of 2008 and the unending after effects for the last four years.

I think the app store is set for two impending catastrophes, possibly simultaneously:

1 Everybody's been downloading apps since this whole thing started and the per user average has been continuously increasing, but at some point this will slow down and reach an equilibrium as users figure they have enough/too many apps for their platform. They'll more or less settle on the apps they like as this new market matures, but the market is too young to observe this yet.

2 Smartphones will reach saturation and the flow of newcomers to the appstore will slow. It seems unthinkable now but it happened to 'dumb' phones years ago. What happens when everyone on the planet has one? Well then they buy upgraded replacements, but at a lower subsistence rate and the industry's growth basically stops. I remember in the UK when every 3rd store was a phone shop. Not anymore.

This market is young, and its early untempered growth has people thinking the potential is endless - but there's plenty of possibility that this is a gold rush with limits.

A W
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I got a 4 and if they have a good buy back program put towards the purchase of the next one I may just get it.

Jeffery Wilson
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The mobile device makers should take a page from console makers, they should all come with a sim or flash drive slot, and provide publishing services for "Plug-in" games on a small ship. The real problen with getting games with better graphics, broader environments, is data size and downloading this data everytime you play is silly.
Imagine the quality and depth of a game around the size of a 8GB - 64GB flash drive.


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