There is no doubt about it but gaming on our phones is here to stay. You only need to look around you on your way home from work this evening to see dozens of people engrossed in their phones, flicking and tapping furiously so as not to be beaten by those dastardly pigs.
To back this us, two sets of figures have been released to show just how widespread and successful the genre is. Firstly we hear that Epic Games’ Unreal Engine-powered iPhone game Infinity Blade made well over a million dollars in the first four days of its release. With 271,000 players downloading the hack-and-slash title by Sunday, it proves that higher-scale games on mobile devices will still work. Infinity Blade cost £3.29 in the UK and $5.99 in the US, which is a lot higher than previous mobile game successes such as Cut the Rope or Angry Birds.
Speaking of those irate winged creatures, its creator Rovio announced its own impressive figures this week. Company spokesman Peter Vesterbacka said the games has been downloaded 50 million times across all platforms and he expects Angry Birds to have been downloaded 100 million downloads times by next summer. The game, he said, is currently being played a total of 200 million minutes per day around the world. That’s a lot of dead pigs.
With Angry Birds 2 due in 2011, Vesterbacka went on to confirm the original Angry Birds would be arriving on every other conceivable platform next year in “beautiful HD”. Online and Facebook versions of the popular game will also be coming in 2011. In a separate announcement Rovio unveiled a new payment system within Angry Birds called Bad Piggy Bank which will allow players to purchase goods in-game. The users will be billed through their phone bill and the update will soon be open to all developers.
While these games will never replace console or PC gaming, they do pose a threat to standalone handheld gaming devices such as the PSP and the DS - though the former could soon reappear as the much-rumoured PlayStatiion Phone (aka Zeus) and the latter is adding 3D to keep it ahead of the game. It will be interesting to see if mobile game developers will look to push the boundaries even further as they did with Infinity Blade or if the simpler type of game, such as Angry Birds, will continue to dominate.