Games on the iPhone?

It all started with the release of the 5.5G iPod, which was when Apple officially released games on the iTunes store. Up until that point, we were all locked in to the (rather boring) games included with the iPod. After trying some of the games for sale free at the iTunes store, I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were, especially considering the platform.

Recently, the attention has been on the Apple TV, and how ideal of a platform it would be for a (possible) entry by Apple into the gaming market. However, the other recent Apple announcement was almost completely ignored when it came to gaming. The iPhone.

Sure, the iPhone’s design would be less than ideal for gaming as we know it today. However, with the iPhone’s hardware, the possibilities are endless. Right now, I have a DS + Wii hybrid running through my head. A multi-touch touchscreen, and an accelerometer. With some Apple innovation, I don’t see why they couldn’t make it happen. And with multi-touch, turning part of the iPhone’s screen into a couple of modular buttons would be very possible.

Although I’m not so sure we’re going to see many games out of Apple, if Apple’s willing, we could see a lot of doors opened for game developers.

Mitch Lasky, the senior vice-president of EA Mobile, in an interview with BusinessWeek, reveals that we’re not the only ones with the iPhone and gaming in mind, “We have been talking to Apple about games on (the iPhone),” Lasky says. “We see a lot of the technology that we’ve utilized on the iPod side being incorporated into the iPhone.”

Apple already has shown that third-party gaming is a realistic prospect for
Apple hardware, as we’ve seen at the iTunes store. A number of the games available are made by the company most of us probably know as
JAMDAT Mobile, which was recently bought out by the EA behemoth and rebranded as EA Mobile. How original.

Unfortunately, Apple has already virtually shot down any prospects of third-party game developments with its assertion that “you don’t want your phone to be like a PC”.

You however, want your phone to be like a DS. That wouldn’t have Cingular’s West Coast die… would it?

UPDATE: A reader has directed us to a patent that was filed by Apple nearly a year ago entitled “Methods and apparatuses for operating a portable device based on an accelerometer.”

To be fair, the above diagram is describing a tablet, but it reveals some interesting possibilities for gaming on the iPhone. The patent’s description also has some interesting details:

In a gaming application, where the accelerometer may be used to detect a scene change during a video game running within a portable device.

Perhaps all of this wishful thinking intelligent speculation isn’t so far-fetched, after all.