Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gaming and the iPod Touch

Just when it became possible to jailbreak my iPod Touch 2G without all manner of convoluted contortions, this happens. (I haven't actually jailbroken it yet - but still, it is doable... for now) While the new OS is all shiny and exciting (or will be once its released "sometime in summer 2009"), I am sure it will only add to the amount of time it takes to release a proper QuickPWN type solution for the iPod Touch.

The other interesting thing in the announcement of the new OS is the possible addition of a new iPod Touch model. Apple has historically shown a tendency to not maintain hardware capabilies across hardware iterations. Basically, each time a new hardware revision comes out, the processing power of the device increases - this is an unusual policy for a company which demands that apps work equally well across all hardware iterations. Console makers normally throttle performance on newer hardware even if they have faster CPUs for example, to make sure games run on launch consoles just as well. In Apple's case, the device capability goes something like this: iPod Touch (1G) < iPhone < iPhone (3G) < iPod Touch 2G. So the release of a new hardware will lead to more work for both developers and testers (as well as loss of my bragging rights for having the most powerful iPod Touch)

I have been buying quite a few iPhone games, the latest being ExZeus and Enigmo. I know I can probably get them for free if I jailbreak, but the things are quite cheap ($5 at max) and I really don't want to void my warranty over that. In fact, one of the best iPhone games I have found (iDracula) costs only $0.99 and recently added a ton of content - additional maps and gameplay modes.

There are quite a few sites where you can get reviews of iPhone apps and games - for some reason, traditional gaming sites (like IGN) haven't really caught up to the gaming appeal of the device and as a result are rarely consulted. Some of these are my personal favorites SlidetoPlay and Touch Arcade. There also some sites that cater to all types of apps - such as AppVee and 148 Apps.

The quality of games coming out is also steadily improving - ExZeus's graphics are stunning and show what the hardware is really capable of (alas -it kills the battery though) Apple is trying to push the iPod Touch as a gaming console, I think they are largely going to succeed. Japanese console makers have never really been comfortable with online models, and the DS just might have finally met its match with the iPod Touch and its extensive AppStore. (The PSP and UMD never even had a chance I think)

In other notes, Nokia is releasing quite a few free apps for the 5800, go grab them :) Support from third party developers is also increasing - see this list of chat applications for example...