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3G iPhone? Yawn. Games Are The Real Story

Posted by: Matt Vella on June 09

IPHONE.jpgYeah, yeah, a cheaper, faster, generally more-capable iPhone optionally available in – shocker – white is coming in July. Snooze. The special sauce in Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference keynote this morning was not the sexy new hardware, even if it managed to turn my barely year-old phone into an impossibly uncool, technologically obsolete brick. And, it wasn’t the do-it-all-magically-‘over-the-air’-somehow email, contact, and photo-syncing service, MobileMe. No, the top-notch caliber of the games on display was arguably the most important thing about this morning’s presentation

Apple’s aggressive hardware pricing – the least expensive available iPhone will be just $199 – combined with its tested distribution platform – the App Store through the venerable iTunes – could set off a revolution in cell-phone based gaming. Today’s previews of new, graphically impressive titles which seem to feature sophisticated gameplay go a long way towards substantiating the potential depth of the iPhone as a gaming platform. In other words, rather than one or two triple-A games, Spore or Monkey Ball for example, choked by a gaggle of worthless titles, iPhone gaming is shaping up to be a fully baked experience. (You can see a demo of one title on this page.)

I don’t think that, as some have argued, the iPhone in any way threatens the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP. However, like the iPod before it, the iPhone seems poised to revolutionize an as-of-yet largely sluggish, unsatisfying consumer experience: cell-based gaming.

Reader Comments


June 10, 2008 05:03 AM

Why do you call it cheaper?

The "old" iPhone is $399, plus $20 a month for the data plan, with a 2-year contract. That's $480 in data plan; $879 total.

This new phone goes for $199 but it has a $30 a month data plan. That's $720 in data plan; $919 total.

More capable, yes. Faster, yes. Cheaper, not so much.


June 10, 2008 08:23 AM

The gal in the retail unit said the news of a new phone was malarky, that it was only software being announced monday, don't i feel like a fool, having to pay a restocking fee of ten percent. AT&T should give me a refund and Apple should make my phone forward compatible with 3G.


June 10, 2008 08:34 AM

Oh please.

If you have 3G in your area and want to use it, the extra ten dollars a month is definitely worth it. And, if you can afford to drop the 400 or 500 dollars required to get an iPhone in the first place, I'm guessing that there isn't going to be a huge outcry about the extra ten dollars monthly.

If you don't have 3G, however, and you want the new iPhone for GPS/New Styling/Status Symbol/Etc., it's unfortunate that AT&T is going to be able to charge that extra $10/mo. of everyone.


June 10, 2008 09:52 AM


You can get a free 3G iPhone if you bought yours after May 27.


June 11, 2008 03:12 PM

The games that were shown were a big yawn IMO. Vertical applications, and possibly some applications we haven't dreamed up yet, are going to sell the iPhone.

Beyond the software there was a lot of news at the WWDC. Worldwide distribution of the iPhone. A change to the standard cellphone distribution method. The 3G iPhone was given a date and GPS was confirmed. We already knew third-party applications were coming, but it was interesting to see the range of applications that are going to be available.

I also fail to see how the release of new hardware renders your iPhone an inoperable brick. is this BusinessWeek or a teenager's blog?


June 12, 2008 06:34 AM

I do agree iPhone apps will be the real deal.

So is that finally the end of the nearly-dead horse called Tablet PC that Microsoft has been flogging forever?

Thank you for your interest. This blog is no longer active.



No longer child's play, the booming global games market is worth billions of dollars. In Games, Inc., BusinessWeek Innovation writer Matt Vella and Tokyo correspondent Kenji Hall analyze emerging business trends in video games and interactive entertainment. They’ll examine everything from button-mashing, chart-topping, console games to serious games commissioned by big corporations to train staff. They’ll also map the evolution of expansive virtual worlds and go behind the strategies at companies that are turning play into big business.

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