Rumour has it that Steve Jobs hates video games. Not that Apple hate games … We’re talking about Mr Jobs here and his personal preferences. This fact doesn’t surprise. Apple have installed north of 150 Million gaming devices that don’t have buttons.
For those of you unaware of this fact: buttons can prove useful
In fact, the abolition of buttons movement (ABM™) is primarily targeting the games industry in 2011. Although iOS has been making typing considerably more difficult and counter intuitive than it once was. Steve Jobs also hates buttons. When iPod launched the navigation required to scroll through a list of tracks was easy enough to do with a trackwheel. Bright young things, realising that iPhone and iPod touch had no useful gaming inputs came up with the ‘virtual d-pad’. This has numerous problems. Number one? It makes games a sucky chore to play. Taking out a useful interface and calling it a games device isn’t good enough. But here’s the rub … it was never positioned as a gaming device (at least to begin with) it’s a platform and developers and publishers have realised it serves a dual purpose as a tortuously quasi-usable gaming device.
When iPhone launched it was all about iPint (which describes itself as a free beer-based game) and iFart, the self-proclaimed ‘definitive novelty app in iTunes and arguably the most publicized iPhone application in history’. Novelty. That’s the key work in that sentence. A year after the launch of the app store Jobs gloated “The App Store is like nothing the industry has ever seen before in both scale and quality”. As we draw closer to the third birthday the App Store has left a wake through the games industry that is impossible to come back from. Immersion, control fidelity and game depth have given way to novelty, basement pricing and freemium. Nimble footed small-scale devs run amok with small ideas, small prices and small aspirations. @tengushee describes it as ‘The pikey campsite of the games industry’.
In comparison to Angry Birds, Wario Ware looks like game design was done by Einstein supported by art design from Roy Lichtenstein. The majority of iOS games represent a disregard for gamers and the meagre smattering of ideas and game mechanics present a homeopathic approach to game design. This serial dilution gives way to the “law of similars” and an abandonment of scientific method. One idea can carry a 99 cent game. Even if that idea is rotten.
The evidence to support Homeopathy is that it proves more effective than a placebo. When a diluted idea is better than none at all … what does that mean for the creative future of the Games Industry?