As I drove my 5 year old son to school this morning in a wet, cold Melbourne winter morning, he sat in the car next to me playing Crash Bandicoot Nitro Card 3D on my less than 2 week old iPhone 3G. I only purchased the game yesterday on iTunes, before that his favorite game was Super Monkey Ball. I don’t play a lot of games (although I am on Pokerstars 3 or 4 times a week) but I found myself waiting in a chemist the other day playing games as well. Playing games on a mobile phone isn’t new, and I can remember way off into my commuting past, playing Snake and some memory matching game on a Nokia, but I never saw my mobile then as a gaming device. Today I do.
The new iPhone IS a gaming platform.
Om Malik over on GigaOM asked the same question this morning, and noted figures from Cellufun that iPhone users are playing games at a rate four times that of other mobile phone users. And why wouldn’t they? the phone is built for gaming. Full color, decent sized screen, easy to navigate a game by touch or moving the phone, as opposed to the cumbersome keying required by other phones.
Figures from Apple also prove the premise. 8 of the top 10 paid applications on iTunes are games. Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D sits on top from Texas Hold’em and Super Monkey Ball. The ridiculously stupid iPint sits on top of the free applications list.
My own challenge at home is to balance my sons use out so it doesn’t kill my phone. As per my walkthrough the other day, I upgraded my old cracked iPhone to 2.0, and one of the driving reasons for that was to offer it to my son on occasion. I’m even considering the need for an iPod Touch just for him to play games, and considering the cost of games on competing devices such as the Nintendo DS, the Touch would be a bargain. Sure, iTunes doesn’t have the range of games available quite yet, but with such a strong uptake, expect a variety of additional choice as the year goes on.