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Communications Java Portables (Apple) Portables (Games) Programming Hardware

iPhone's Game Potential As a Threat to Java Phone Games 260

Posted by timothy
from the your-tempest-is-boiling dept.
Ian Lamont writes "In the runup to Apple's WWDC 2008, Chris Tompkins thinks that the iPhone's gaming potential 'might finally put the lackluster Java-based cell phone gaming market to death.' He cites the iPhone's use of Core Animation adapted for ARM processors, which he says allows for the advanced effects of OS X and now OpenGL-accelerated 3D games, as well as the importance of an on-demand store and Internet connection. Tompkins says that while certain genres lend themselves to the iPhone's touch controls, such as real-time strategy games (think StarCraft) the lack of physical controls will force developers to creatively approach the multitouch and accelerometer on the iPhone. His advice to Apple — make a compelling overture to independent game designers, and treat them like rock stars. Tompkins, incidentally, is one of several people who have recently pointed to Apple's mobile gaming potential."
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iPhone's Game Potential As a Threat to Java Phone Games

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  • game is so popular in OS X
  • Umm, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guspaz (556486) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @11:54PM (#23705369)
    The iPhone will only put the "lackluster Java-based cell phone gaming market to death" when most phone users out there are iPhone users.

    Apple has captured an impressive portion of the smartphone market, but their overall market share among all cellphones is minuscule.
    • Re:Umm, no. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by catch23 (97972) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:12AM (#23705477)
      Yeah well, when they came out with their first version of their iPod music player, it was expensive, bulky, and claimed only a small percentage of the market. Wait a few years and you'll have iPhone Mini/Nanos replacing your Nokia and Sony Ericssons. When the iPod was initially released, one could argue the Mp3 player market was already saturated with no clear winner. One could argue the cell phone market today is pretty similar.

      • Re:Umm, no. (Score:5, Informative)

        by drsquare (530038) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:25AM (#23705563)
        When the ipod came out, the mp3 player market was empty, there was little to zero competition, and most people didn't own one. They captured the market pretty much by default.

        The phone market on the other hand is completely saturated. There is a lot of tough, long-standing competition offering phones which are much better value for money. In many markets, new phones are given away 'free' with contracts, something which is incompatable with the iphone's business model.
        • Re:Umm, no. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Tom (822) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:00AM (#23705725) Homepage Journal
          I live in a market where phones often come "free" with contracts. And still, the iPhone came and conquered. The market for "phones" may be saturated, but have you seen mobile phones recently? Their user interfaces are designed by shizophrenic sadists. I know people who avoid entire companies because their UI is so horrible that they classify it as unusable. And these are people who want a phone for the basic functions, like calling someone and keeping an address book. Using the calculator is an advanced usage case for them.

          The iPhone taps into that market in addition to the techies who want it for the geek factor, and the marketing dudes who want it for the cool factor, and the Mac-heads who want it for the integration. And the market for people who want a great phone that's easy to use is HUGE. If the rumours are true and Apple will allow subsidies, they could've trouble mass-producing iPhones fast enough.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Well in the UK i could count the amount of people ive seen with iphones on one hand. People are just not interested in a phone they need to pay for and have a large contract. Phones should be free with contracts. Also the iPhone is very large for a phone. This turns off alot of the mainstream crowd in the UK
        • Re:Umm, no. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:02AM (#23705731)
          The phone market might be full, but the phone gaming market sucks terribly. There is a lot of opportunity for someone to come in and do it right (unlike, say the Nokia N-Gage).

          Look at it this way: the smartphone gaming market is pretty much empty.
        • Re:Umm, no. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by MrMickS (568778) on Monday June 09, 2008 @04:37AM (#23706805) Homepage Journal
          I live in the UK. Its possible to get most phones for free here with the correct price plan. I've tried various smart phones from Sony Ericsson and Nokia over the past 5-6 years and all of them have failed in one sense or another. They've all promised much but been left lacking in execution. This is not disimilar to the MP3 player market when the iPod was released.

          I don't expect technology people to see the problem. In general they are happy having to learn the various hoops you need to to get the best out of a device. The remaining people just want something that does the job as easily as possible. The iPhone fits these users. It may not have all of the features that the other phones have, it does execute the features it has better than the competing phones.

          As an example of poor implementation I'm currently using a Nokia E61 with the latest firmware on it. It has a nice web browser, built off Web-Kit. If I select a URL from the messaging app it launches a WAP browser instead of the web browser.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Admiral Ag (829695)
          The iPhone is not primarily a phone. It's a mobile computer that happens to have a phone in it. You can even buy one that doesn't have a phone in if you hate telephones.

          The iPhone/iTouch is a mobile computing platform. It's the new Newton. That's the (open) secret.

          Other companies are attempting to come up with a phone that has a similar UI to the iPhone, and that is natural, since you will probably have trouble buying a phone that doesn't have multi touch in a few years.

          Like Jobs said in another context: th
        • Uhm, yes (Score:3, Interesting)

          by theolein (316044)
          Where I work, in a design agency of 45 people in Switzerland, 15 of those people already have iPhones, and they're not even officially sold here yet.

          The iPhone will do to the mobile phone market what the iPod did to the mp3 player market, albeit in a smaller fashion, because the market is already so saturated.

          The iPhone is definitely not for everyone, and there will still be a market for other phones, especially smaller ones with physical controls as many people still prefer those.

          But, in the smartphone seg
      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        When the iPod was initially released, one could argue the Mp3 player market was already saturated with no clear winner. One could argue the cell phone market today is pretty similar.

        Except it isn't similar... at all. First, the iPhone is locked in with AT second, it's a GSM device and only 2 of the big US carriers are GSM; and third, an MP3 player needs to do only one thing: play MP3's. The smart phone market is rife with variations, each targetted to a different facet of the market. I guarantee you're NOT going to have Crackberry addicts or rabid texting teenagers going to the iPhone, with its predictive/presumptive bullshit "keyboard".

        • I guarantee you're NOT going to have Crackberry addicts or rabid texting teenagers going to the iPhone, with its predictive/presumptive bullshit "keyboard".
          Actually, I'll bet you'll have a good number of them wanting it for the keyboard alone. The rabid teenagers might not, though, given how expensive they are now.
          • Re:Umm, no. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Firehed (942385) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:03AM (#23705741) Homepage
            As an iPhone owner, I'll be the first to tell you not to buy it for the keyboard. It functions pretty well most of the time, but I'll often find myself hitting return rather than space (it shouldn't be that big of a button) and the auto-correct is really hit or miss. I'll take it over having a physical keyboard and losing half of the screen, but I'd love to be able to carry around a little fold-up keyboard and my iPhone and ditch the laptop when I'd be focusing almost entirely on heavy email and web browsing. I've typed out a few-paragraphs-long email on the virtual keyboard, but it's not to the point where it would replace my laptop entirely for more frequent work.

            You'll get more teens buying it than blackberry-lovers, though, especially come tomorrow (?) when apps start becoming available. Money be damned, teens and early-twenties are the ideal market when it comes to spending disposable income, and it's an ideal device for that market (I'm not saying it's overpriced for what it is - I don't regret spending $600 a couple days after it came out - but the majority of cell phones are either provided by businesses to employees (blackberries) or cheap, crappy, free-with-contract types). It will end up as this little bizarre do-everything device at that point, though you can be sure that Apple makes sure that it's core features aren't neglected. The blackberry is too email-centric and if that's your #1 priority, you'll want the "real" keyboard. I'd buy one in a heartbeat if it were to become available, and certainly wouldn't say no to a slide-out version like so many crap phones have today if it didn't compromise anything else on the device (that's probably the one thing that would get me to buy iPhone 2.0, seeing that I have enough trouble getting any signal out here, let alone 3G).

            Having played a few games on it of varying quality, it's a pretty nice platform if developers adapt to the interface. Trism is a great example. The NES emulators not so much, since you're just forcing games made for physical controllers in to a touch/accelerometer device (they work well enough, but are awkward as hell). And teens + games = profit. Again, not so much on the blackberry market.
        • Re:Umm, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Hes Nikke (237581) <slashdot@nOsPam.gotnate.com> on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:51AM (#23705947) Journal

          it's a GSM device and only 2 of the big US carriers are GSM
          Did you know that the US only represents a small portion of the world? did you know that GSM is used in every market in the world, and CDMA is only used in the US? sure only 2 US carriers are GSM, but so are all the other carriers in the world! :P
    • This entire discussion about the iPhone's new bling features, in 10 years time will read a bit like the bling new features of a calculator watch. I remember as a kid how everyone sat around comparing who's digital watch had the most buttons, or whether every watch will some day tell you your altitude and temperature and all sorts of other useless rubbish.

      I smell feature-creep.

      • I smell feature-creep.

        A long winded way perhaps, of saying that the iPhone game potential is "Lame"?

        OK Mr. "futurist".

      • by Joe Tie. (567096)
        I remember something similar. We all wanted computers we could carry around. And, we got it. They weren't on our wrist, unless we bought a strap to put it there for some reason. But wearable computers is what we wanted, and we have them now. Bring on more feature creep if that's what you want to call it.
    • Re:Umm, no. (Score:5, Informative)

      by McFadden (809368) on Monday June 09, 2008 @03:33AM (#23706513)
      Added to which, the likelyhood of Apple even bothering about games, let alone treating game designers "like rock stars" is unlikely given their past record. This is Gabe Newell on working with Apple to develop games in the past:

      Well, we tried to have a conversation with Apple for several years, and they never seemed to... well, we have this pattern with Apple, where we meet with them, people there go "wow, gaming is incredibly important, we should do something with gaming". And then we'll say, "OK, here are three things you could do to make that better", and then they say OK, and then we never see them again. And then a year later, a new group of people show up, who apparently have no idea that the last group of people were there, and never follow though on anything. So, they seem to think that they want to do gaming, but there's never any follow through on any of the things they say they're going to do. That makes it hard to be excited about doing games for their platforms.
  • Missing the point. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by earthbound kid (859282) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:03AM (#23705419) Homepage
    The threat isn't to shitty cellphone games. The threat is to the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable. The iPhone has a touch screen like the DS and can play movies like the PSP, and WiFi like both of them, plus it has a tilt sensor and oh, yeah, multiple gigs of storage space. Once the iPhone costs the same as a PSP and game manufacturers are allowed to build for it (ie. after Monday), Nintendo and Sony are going to be entering a world of pain.
    • by Rocketship Underpant (804162) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:21AM (#23705535)
      Sony will be in trouble; they will have to compete on hardware specs and exclusive titles the same way the PS3 has to compete with PCs. Nintendo, on the other hand, has shown time and time again, they will take chances and innovate with unique games and hardware to an extent that other companies will not. If the iPhone comes to dominate handheld touch-screen gaming, Nintendo will come up with something new the iPhone doesn't do.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Perseid (660451)
      PSP = $170. NDS = $130. iPhone = $399.

      Wikipedia says there are 70.6 million DSes out there. Nintendo is the handheld king and Apple will never touch those numbers cool as their games might be.
      • Indeed. And to add to that, the DS and PSP have good, established game development companies, especially the DS with Nintendo itself making games, almost unquestionably the best first-party developer. While I suppose they're making Spore for iPhone, it's not like developers are flocking to make games for a device that costs twice as much as the closest gaming handheld, and probably has more power to boot.
      • Convergance (Score:4, Insightful)

        by shmlco (594907) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:51AM (#23705949) Homepage
        "PSP = $170. NDS = $130. iPhone = $399."

        Rumor has it that the price will drop, but you're missing the point. People won't buy a $399 game console. But they may well buy a $399 device that's a phone, and a text messager, and an email and internet browser, and camera, and music player, and movie player, AND a game player.

        Further, if you have the iPhone, just how likely is it that someone is going to buy yet another portable device in any of those categories?
        • by Perseid (660451)
          The iPhone will sell some games. Maybe the games will even sell some iPhones. This won't happen in sufficient numbers to hurt Nintendo, though. And unless the iPhone gets Mario, Zelda, Brain Age and Nintendogs many people who have iPhones certainly will buy a DS.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by shmlco (594907)
            "This won't happen in sufficient numbers to hurt Nintendo, though."

            Maybe so. Or maybe not. That's a matter of opinion, but either way it's certainly not going to HELP Nintendo.

            BTW, did you read the article about how the inclusion of a GPS system in the iPhone has the world's largest dedicated GPS device manufacturer scared to death?
        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday June 09, 2008 @02:53AM (#23706281)
          Apple is bound by the same laws of physics as all the rest of us and that means battery life. While it sounds like a great idea to use one device for everything you quickly come to realise that if you do that on your phone, you kill your talk time. You just can't have it both ways: You spend the battery on toying with it, it isn't there for a conversation, you talk on it, you don't have the battery for other stuff.

          This isn't something that is problematic if you use your phone a little bit, like playing 10 minutes while waiting for a doctor's appointment, but it is if you try to use it to replace other devices. If you listen to MP3s on your phone all day, watch a video on the train ride to work, then play a game for an hour at lunch time, well you are going to find that if you need to take a long call, you are fucked, especially if you don't remember to recharge every day (which many don't). Even if the processor is super efficient, those pretty active matrix LCD screens still suck a bunch of juice.

          So I don't think you'll find people giving up their DS's and iPods just because they get an iPhone. Until we find a way to significantly increase the energy density of batteries, it just isn't a good idea. Phones already have a limited enough talk time, cutting in to that in any significant manner isn't a winning idea.
  • by Perseid (660451) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:04AM (#23705437)
    Last I checked the only company making iPhones is Apple. There are and will continue to be many Java-based phones and companies that will make games for them.
    • by Perseid (660451) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:22AM (#23705545)
      OK, so...flamebait? WTF? I'm not suggesting the iPhone won't be capable of good games or even that there wont be good games. But Java games, crappy as a lot of them may be, are an already established, cross-platform industry. There are lots of Java-based phones. There's only one iPhone. So the iPhone will not "finally put the lackluster Java-based cell phone gaming market to death".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The iPhone won't put these games to death, but the nextGen smart phones will (timeline? Anyone's guess). They'll die because they suck, not because the iPhone is indestructible.
  • lackluster? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dionysus (12737) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:17AM (#23705503) Homepage
    The mobile gaming industry was $2.6 million industry in 2005 [3g.co.uk] and expected to be $11.2 by 2010. I suspect most of that number is java games (never seen a non-Java games, except those that came with the phone).

    Maybe he's only talking about the US marked?
    • (squints at the id) n .. e .. w here (oops). I don't think iPhone is going to fly in non US markets so even if it is capable of DS style games - anyone really think that little Yannis Questidis is going to be given an iPhone for *gaming* Yiks!

      At least here in (southern) Europe, Nokia and Symbian SIS games are the most common. Not bought though - probably leeched off e.g. gsmforum.

      Andy

    • ROFL (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Moraelin (679338)
      ROFL. 2.6 million? That's it? The _whole_ market? That's not even the budget for _one_ game on any proper gaming platform.

      Sorry, I didn't know those numbers, but if that's it, now I understand why they call it lackluster.
    • by chgros (690878)

      The mobile gaming industry was $2.6 million industry
      You mean billion. Million would be much worse than simply "lackluster"
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday June 09, 2008 @02:47AM (#23706259)
      For comparison, Galactic Civilizations II, a PC only game by a rather unknown developer, made 8 figures (as in more than 10 million dollars). That's one game, from one publisher, and not a major title at that. For another comparison, World of Warcraft has somewhere in the realm of 10 million active players paying a monthly fee between $10-20 depending on region. That would be 9 figures PER MONTH.

      So yes, $2.6 million is rather lackluster. Not surprising, the games blow and playing games on your phone cuts in to your talk time, but that doesn't change what it is.
  • Java is definitely everywhere in the Silicon Valley job market. It might be because Sun is here & the kinds of jobs that need to be here are related to Sun's world.

    There's someone writing a Java spec for every problem imaginable & no-one willing to program them. But outside Java valley, it's nowhere. People briefly switch to a cell phone game or a blu-ray game, say gee wiz, and that's it. Back to the native stuff that does what the product was intended for.

  • by radimvice (762083) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:35AM (#23705607) Homepage
    Even if the iPhone is enormously successful, there's no way it poses a threat to Java phone games.

    1. The iPhone's market share is a tiny drop in the global bucket, even if all the Apple-loving tech media journalists would like to have you think otherwise.
    2. iPhone game development restricts you to a MacOS development environment. This basically guarantees that even if the iPhone becomes hugely successful, its place in mobile game development will never capture more than a minority status among game developers.
    3. Unless all of the other mobile industry players spontaneously decide to line up behind Apple, Java is not going to lose ground to C# anytime soon as the language of choice for game developers.
    4. Java is a programming language and a set of industry standards for mobile hardware, not mobile phone hardware itself. Pointing to the cool new hardware features that the iPhone supports isn't an argument against java phone games, it just points towards Apple's decision not to play nice with the rest of the industry standard apps and developers out there. If anything, this decision will limit the scope iPhone-specific game development (who wants to waste their resources on such a small market segment when they can make games that will run on a much larger amount of phones out there), it doesn't pose any threat to the use of Java as a mobile game development standard. At the very least, it means that Java game developers will have to wait for Sun (or any other company) to provide a good set of translation tools that will let them develop for the iPhone's hardware in Java.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dangitman (862676)

      2. iPhone game development restricts you to a MacOS development environment. This basically guarantees that even if the iPhone becomes hugely successful, its place in mobile game development will never capture more than a minority status among game developers.

      Why would that be an issue? If a developer feels the market is worth going after, then buying a Mac is no big deal. In fact, I'd be surprised if there were many developers who didn't have at least one Mac in their business, even if they don't use it to develop on or for.

      • by radimvice (762083) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:39AM (#23705887) Homepage

        Why would that be an issue? If a developer feels the market is worth going after, then buying a Mac is no big deal. In fact, I'd be surprised if there were many developers who didn't have at least one Mac in their business, even if they don't use it to develop on or for.
        It's not as simple as "buying a mac" and clicking a 'compile game for iPhone' button, it's forcing your project cycle to incorporate the entire MacOS environment into your game development, which is a very big deal. Now, assuming that the developer makes the decision that it's even worth making an iPhone port of their game, this means that not only do they need to port any of their existing Java code over to objective-C, but they have to either (1) purchase Macs for all of the programmers put on the porting project, allotting them enough extra time to learn the quite unfamiliar OS, IDE, and programming language combo; or (2) hire an extra, separate team of Mac-capable developers just for the iPhone ports.

        The other option is to just do iPhone-exclusive game development from the start, which right away corners you into an extremely niche and unproven market. You'd be better off developing for the portable consoles (DS, PSP, etc) which have markets large enough to actually justify this sort of device-specific exclusive game development.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by shmlco (594907)
          I suspect that you're forgetting a major incentive for a game company. As it stands, EVERY game downloaded to an iPhone from the AppStore will be paid for, unlike some platforms where you're lucky if one in ten users isn't ripping you off.
        • You'd be better off developing for the portable consoles (DS, PSP, etc) which have markets large enough to actually justify this sort of device-specific exclusive game development.
          One advantage of the iPhone, at least for developers who have already moved to the United States, is that the official devkit costs only about $2,000 (Mac + iPhone + data plan + developer certificate), and it can be installed in a home office. Compare this to the DS official devkit, which Nintendo will not allow to be installed in a home office.
      • by shmlco (594907) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:59AM (#23705995) Homepage
        True. Any major game developer isn't going to mind spending a few grand on Macs. Heck, even smaller developers like PopCap can afford it (and are doing so).

        Further, you get an added bonus. Develop a game for the iPhone and you're probably close to having a game that could be upgraded and sold to the entire Mac audience. Develop for Symbian, however, and... well... you have a game for Symbian.

        Sorry about that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mr2001 (90979)

      3. Unless all of the other mobile industry players spontaneously decide to line up behind Apple, Java is not going to lose ground to C# anytime soon as the language of choice for game developers.
      Maybe you meant Objective-C? C# is Microsoft, not Apple.
      • by radimvice (762083)
        yea, my mistake, I meant objective-C. If it was actually C# it would be slightly more flexible, since it would then have affinities with all of Microsoft's .NET game development stuff (XNA), but objective-C really only has traction in the Mac universe.
    • by Kifoth (980005)
      A recent article on the BBC [bbc.co.uk] mentions that "Five million iPhones have been sold".

      Five million in the overall world wide market is nothing. It's great for the smart phone market (as Apple keep telling us), but the gaming market isn't aimed at smart phones. The money is in small, casual games that you can play on a five minute break.

      What you're going to get is a repeat of the current computer market where Apple gets thrown the gaming scraps because no-one wants to pour development money into something t

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      No. Your whole argument is a series of assertions that Java is big today (its not) and that therefore it can never lose market domination (it can). It's so wrong that it's irritating.

      1. The iPhones market share is a tiny drop in the global bucket, even if all the Apple-loving tech media journalists would like to have you think otherwise.

      So is the mobile Java market. Who the hell plays a mobile Java game on purpose? People either buy them by accident when they click the wrong thing with their phones nu

  • Non-Button Gaming (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davepermen (998198) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:47AM (#23705673)
    While there are a lot of possible ideas with tilt and touch only, the lack of real tactile buttons is a major problem for a lot of games. cellphones, ds, psp, all gameboys till today, all consoles, pc's all have buttons, which get used in most games.

    the iphone looks like a sweet psp, but it definitely doesn't feel that way.
  • by blumpy (84889) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:03AM (#23705743)
    "might finally put the lackluster Java-based cell phone gaming market to death" I thought "Lackluster" was being generous. When was the last time you've heard someone say "OMG! You've got to play that 'insert java game here' on my cellphone!" Handheld consoles like the DS or PSP should be the ones quaking in their boots.
  • Why would the developers be needed to treated like rockstars? Surely, if they are any good - they will see the platform based on its merits, and decide to develop or not develop for it based on rational metrics?

    If a developer needs to be given cocaine, or have the red M&Ms separated from the other colors by Apple, then I question the value of that developer's input. Someone like that can't be far from the drug-fuelled implosion of their career. When people with egos like that go down, they tend to caus

  • by SnappyCrunch (583594) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:19AM (#23705821) Homepage
    Gabe Newell of Valve Software (Makers of the Half-Life series, Portal, Counter-Strike, etc.) has said in an interview [kikizo.com] that they have spoken to Apple several times about getting their games on the Mac platform. Apparently, each time they're approached by Apple, Valve tells Apple what they'd like Apple to do, and each time Apple doesn't do it. Apple wouldn't say no to having games developed for the Mac or iPhone, but I just can't see them trying to cater to game developers. They've never done it before, despite ample opportunity.
  • by Heembo (916647) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:48AM (#23705929) Journal
    Java Mobile = open platform used by cell phones from almost every vendor iPhone mobile = proprietary platform for 1 phone on the market
    • by shmlco (594907)
      "iPhone mobile = proprietary platform for 1 phone on the market"

      Well, you're forgetting the iPod Touch, of course. Plus that iPhone development = Cocoa development = Mac development.

      Or about 30-40 million or so Macs.
      • by Heembo (916647)
        > Plus that iPhone development = Cocoa development = Mac development. The iPhone is NOT OS X, no matter that crack Steve Jobs is trying to cram into your brain.
  • by Zorque (894011)
    I haven't played a good cell phone game in a hell of a long time, and anything that was fun was from Japan, where they consider the cell phone gaming market viable. Hopefully either the iPhone kills off the market or they get their shit together and start programming stuff that's fun.
  • If you've ever played Chopper [majicjungle.com] on Mac (used to be freeware) you know it's gonna be rad on iPhone [fluidmac.com]. Simple Arcade Fun- intuitive control.

    Now I just need to get a stinking iPhone.

  • Apples and oranges (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WarJolt (990309) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:11AM (#23706975)
    I'm not a java fan. Never have been. That being said you need an advanced 3d rendering framework to program the next gen of mobile gaming. It's really not fair to compare the two. If the mobile game market wants to standardize around a java opengl wrapper that would work, but until then it's really not fair to compare.
  • by ivoras (455934) <ivoras@f[ ]hr ['er.' in gap]> on Monday June 09, 2008 @06:41AM (#23707439) Homepage

    No platform that incorporates the need for the vendor (or someone equally expensive) to "bless" your application by signing it will ever, ever enjoy the wide-spread adoption that common PCs do.

    Surprisingly little people know this, but to deploy an application in J2ME, Symbian or iPhone, that does anything outside the trivial ("hello, world"), the application needs to be digitally signed (think SSL certificates) by a company the phone firmware "trusts". If you're lucky, this is one of the big authorities like Thawte, if you're unlucky this means every single mobile provider that sells phones as a part of their contracts or service.

    What this means in practice is a significant monetary barrier to entry, at least compared to the Windows and Linux platforms, because every company that wants to deploy mobile phone applications needs to buy expensive certificates every couple of years (because they expire). This is also the reason why the open-source and freeware smartphone applications are a) few and far between and b) mostly very simple and crappy since they can't use the advanced APIs.

    The official reason for the signing requirement is to protect users from viruses, etc. - which is completely wrong since it's obviously a failure (as demonstrated by the appearance of anti-virus software for smartphones). The real reason is the greed of phone companies and manufacturers. In the very unlucky case, an application developer needs to have his application signed by every single operator on whose phones he wants to deploy the application.

    References:

    There's a large number of similar rants if you Google them.

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