Is Apple's iPhone OS 'Game Center' a Nintendo DS killer?

Apple's iPhone OS 4.0 will add a social gaming hub, but Nintendo says the iPhone isn't a legitimate games platform.

Is the iPhone a legitimate gaming platform? Ask anyone who's ever fiddled with one for more than a few minutes (anyone that isn't Nintendo, anyway). Ask anyone who understands, correctly, that video games are more than just Modern Warfare 2 and World of Warcraft. And ask anyone who just watched Apple's iPhone OS 4.0 event live earlier today.

At the event, Apple's Steve Jobs announced something called "Game Center" for the company's upcoming iPhone OS 4.0, and it looks an awful lot like Apple's answer to Microsoft's Xbox LIVE and Sony's PlayStation Network.

Imagine an online video games hub that fits in your pocket and follows you anywhere--not an emasculated subset of some other app (like iPhone versions of Xbox LIVE) but one native to the iPhone platform itself, integrated with the device's massive games library. Leaderboards, achievements, automatic matchmaking, friend invites, the whole caboodle. Now imagine that bolstered by over 50,000 games courtesy Apple's App Store, dramatically more than you'll probably ever find on the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP.

Another arrow in Apple's gaming quiver? Don't tell Nintendo.

Earlier today, Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime brushed off the iPhone OS as a "viable profit platform for game development," adding that "[Apple] is not having an impact on Nintendo" and citing data that suggests iPhone gamers downloads apps, play them briefly, then move on to other things.

Fils-Aime is missing the point (and he's flat wrong that iPhone games 'aren't even a mouthful' when contrasted with DS games--Civilization Revolution, Final Fantasy, or SimCity anyone?). Even if it's true that iPhone gamers flit between games or don't engage in the same way kids playing Pokemon Gold or Silver on the DS do, people are still sucking down App Store apps en masse, and those apps are only getting more sophisticated.

Like Nintendo and so-called "casual" online games hubs like Big Fish and PopCap who cater to millions of players, Apple understands precisely how deep the rabbit hole goes. Laugh at Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled buffs all you like--they're laughing back, probably in greater numbers.

Add something like Apple's proposed Game Center--a social gaming hub with console-like online gaming features--and supplement with a gamepad-shell to counteract touchscreen deficiencies and to be honest, Nintendo doesn't have a prayer against the looming Apple games juggernaut if it trundles forward with Fils-Aime's myopic attitude.

Follow us on Twitter (@game_on)

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iPhonegamesnintendo ds

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Peckham

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?