Friday, October 9, 2009

Long live rich Games!

By Jari Saarhelo
Hey, following up last week blog, but to suggest a different point of view!
There probably wouldn`t be 3D HW accelerators on home PCs without games. The launch of a blockbuster game creates a peak in game console sales. New HW features are used in games as soon as the feature is available. Not so in games for mobile phones. A high volume seller can be 345th remake of a popular 70s/80s arcade game implemented with a “lowest common denominator” design.

The worst device supported dictates the game feature set and complexity. I bet it is not because the consumers insist on poor games, but because most of the systems on the market do not have the basic enablers needed for rich gaming to happen:

- Easy, fast and cost efficient game distribution to the device
- Large enough game asset size to accommodate the graphics & audio
- Gaming friendly device form factor (read: landscape display and gaming keys)
- Reasonable SW platform for creating and deploying the games (read: binary compatibility + fast access to HW)
- Enough firepower in device HW to make rich gaming happen
- Gaming ecosystem: publishers investing enough in game development, enough consumers buying games

Looking back, most of these things simply weren´t there. You can´t make a rich game on a platform that has fast HW, but very small media. You can´t publish a rich game for a device with only a small consumer base. However, most of the enablers are starting to be in place in the smart phone segment. Binary compatibility remains a challenge, but that is bound to improve – how can you otherwise compete with application business of Apple Store?

I bet that we will see a blockbuster rich mobile phone game within the next year. There will be a significant peak in the sales of the devices supporting the game … And the world of mobile gaming is changed for good … Goodbye Tetris!

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    I normally play the simple games you're mentioning here - old arcade games etc, simple things even like Tetris! I've got a bunch of simple arcade games that have been written in Flash which will run on most Nokia, SEMC etc handsets. Nice and simple.
    But I was amazed to see a 3D snowboarding game running on someone's N95 recently. Incredible graphics, great gameplay, smooth and quick. If that hits mainstream then excellent, as long as it works with the form factor. More gaming buttons are needed on phones!!