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The Future Looks Good Though

The App Store's browse and download model is perfect for discovering great games that don't cost the earth, and the only thing spoiling the party is the sense that, as more games appear on the iPhone/touch platform, it's getting harder to sort the wheat from the chaff. As I said earlier, user comments certainly help, but the fact is that many of them seem to be posted in wild excitement within seconds of downloading a game by people who seem to have no idea of what constitutes a great title. You'll read extravagant claims about graphics from users who would presumably drop dead with awe were they to see Gears of War 2 in action. And just because a game looks a bit like Ridge Racer, that doesn't mean it's a better game. There are things like courses, AI and handling to consider, after all.

MotoChaser is no Ridge Racer, not by a long way.

Still, while I currently feel that the iPhone is best suited to the odd spot of casual gaming when you don't have a dedicated system to hand, it doesn't necessarily follow that this will always be the case. Major players like EA and Ubisoft are interested, and upcoming titles like the impressive looking iPhone version of Need for Speed: Undercover could be crucial in pushing Apple's mobile devices as serious games machines. It's the first iPhone game I've glimpsed to make John Carmack's analysis of the iPhone's power seem even faintly realistic. And let's not forget iD. Carmack and co are already at work on two iPhone releases, one described as 'a graphical tour de force.'

Plus, there are still other genres where the iPhone/touch could make a mark. The point-and-click adventure is one example, the Diablo-style action/RPG another. And with its RAM and built in Wi-Fi/cellular access the iPhone/touch could be a credible platform for mobile MMOs. I doubt we'll see an iPhone World of Warcraft, but something similar to Monster Hunter or Phantasy Star is certainly imaginable.

The iPhone and iPod touch don't really need great games to be successful; they already are. But if they can deliver them it's all the better for Apple - and all the better for the rest of us.

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