Neil Young, an former Electronic Arts game producer who started his own iPhone development studio called ngmoco, gave an interesting keynote at iPhoneDevCamp 2 in San Francisco. Young tells why he quit EA to start his own iPhone development studio and what his plans for the future are.
The keynote is definitely worth watching, but here’s what he basically said about the iPhone and the plans of ngmoco. He thinks that the iPhone should try to do what the Nintendo DS is doing. As an example he told about Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training, a game that cost $300,000 to develop and brought in $300 million. Small developers need to use the soft- and hardware they have just like Nintendo does with its not so powerful Nintendo DS. He says the iPhone has a lot of potential to beat both the PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo DS because it combines the best of the two.
Now it’s up to the small developers, he wants their ideas. He launched nglabs, a new part of ngmoco that gives the developers of 10 applications the opportunity to develop their own game. ngmoco will help them with the funding, each will receive $10,000 and ngmoco will publish the game. The developers can keep all the rights on their game.
Squirgle! is an action puzzle game that should keep you busy for hours according to Powerhouse Games, the developer of this iPhone and iPod Touch game. By rotating the octopi you need to collect as many gems as possible in the two different game modes packaged in a nice marine theme with relaxing music and easy controls. The game features 120 levels and unique power-ups along with a nice collection of sea creatures that color the game’s background. So far the game has been getting positive reviews with an average of 3,5 out of 5. Squirgle! is now available for $4.99.
Losing your keys, it can happen to anyone on the most annoying moments. Chudigi Software wants to train you for the moments you find yourself in this horrible situation. In Lost Keys a bunch of different objects are dropped on your screen and somewhere behind these objects are your keys. You have to move objects with your fingers on the touchscreen to find your way through the mess and find your keys and you have only 60 seconds. This would be cool as a free app, but we don’t think that this one is worth $0.99. You can order it here.
The Wall Street Journal recently had an interview with Apple’s Steve Jobs. He told WSJ that users have downloaded more than 60 million applications from the App Store in the first month. Most of these apps were free, but the total of sales so far was $30 million in the first month, so that makes an average of $1 million a day. Games account for more than 25% of all sales with 300,000 sales of SEGA’s Super Monkey Ball in the first 20 days. 300,000 times Super Monkey Ball priced at $9.99 gives SEGA a nice $3 million in sales so far.
“That’s a substantial business,” says Simon Jeffery, president of Sega’s U.S. division. “It gives iPhone a justifiable claim to being a viable gaming platform.”
SEGA seems to be very happy with the sales of their popular Super Monkey Ball game for the iPhone so they will certainly develop more games for the iPhone in the future.
The classic Snake-game is the only thing we miss from those classic Nokia-times, but now we don’t even have to miss that game! Chocolate Technologies developed a free Snake-game called Tiltsnake with the same old-skool feel. The gameplay isn’t entirely the same, you can also control the snake’s movements by tilting the iPhone. You can download it now for free in the App Store.
A few days ago John Carmack said that Apple’s iPhone is “a graphical tour de force” and that it’s far better than the Nintendo DS and PSP combined. Tood Hollenshead, CEO of id Software, released some more information about their future plans for the iPhone. He says they certainly don’t want to be carried away and that John Carmack was very disappointed they didn’t have an iPhone game ready when the App Store launched:
“John is pretty disappointed we didn’t have the manpower and resources to have a game for the launch of the” app store, id CEO Todd Hollenshead said.
The in-house developers team for mobile games is just too small and had not enough time to get a game ready for the launch of the App Store. At this moment they can only develop one game at a time and they will probably have to gather up with a publisher:
“It appears that at this point that given the size of our team, we can only work on one mobile game at a time. We are probably partner up and the first (iPhone game) will be one where we work with a publishing partner.”
They would like to see both Wolfenstein RPG and and Doom 2 RPG on the iPhone, but they don’t know when those games could be heading to the iPhone. To finish up Hollenshead compared the Nokia N-Gage with the iPhone:
“The iPhone is cool, and the n-Gage was a nerd device,” Hollenshead said. “The iphone is a pretty damn awesome phone, it’s a great business device, it’s one of the best portable mp3 player you can buy, it can play videos. There’s a lot of reasons to have that device and it has the power to play games as well. It’s a cool device that you can play games on and they can be awesome games.”
Xbox 360 online gamers should definitely pick up the iXboxLive iPhone application that lets you check all your Xbox Live friends while you’re not sitting behind your console. The app lets you see what your friends are playing, what their Reputation is, it shows their Gamer Score and what their location is. The problem is that you can’t send messages to your Xbox Live friends. iXboxLive costs only $0.99 and was developed by Nicholas Pike.
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To boost sales of their game CubicMan for the iPhone, Teemsoft released a special demo version called CubicMan Lite. Now they decided to lower the price from $4.99 to $2.99 to get even more sales in. It’s unclear whether this is a permanent change or something temporary, but it’s most likely a permanent pricedrop. Not sure if CubicMan Deluxe is a cool game for you? Check out the free demo now.