So the iPhone 6 was announced today, alongside its big brother the iPhone 6 Plus. Both nice looking phones, but as someone who plays video games, or as someone who loves touch screen gaming, is it really necessary for us to upgrade to the latest model?
At this stage in the game, I’m not too sure. People who play video games tend to be early adopters of all new technology, but I’m not convinced that I need to move to the latest and greatest mobile phone in order to keep up to date with the cutting edge of mobile gaming.
It’s a strange situation because — I’d argue — the opposite is true when it comes to consoles, or even upgrading PCs. True upgrades in that department tend to be true generational shifts. Neglect to buy a PS4 or an Xbox One in the next few years and you will miss out on a number of must play video game experiences. I don’t think the same will ring true if you stick with your iPhone 5 or Nexus 4.
Why is that? There are a few factors at play here. I’d argue the primary reason is the rapid iteration of mobile phone technology. Almost every year on the dot Apple release a brand new phone. It took us almost a decade to shift from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One. Can you imagine we’d done the same thing with video games? We’d literally be moving from flip-phones to an iPhone 5S. That thought is terrifying. Imagine making that leap with nothing inbetween? How could our brains even comprehend that technological leap.
Point being: consoles move in grand leaps, mobile phones move in increments. The games that will be made available on the iPhone 6 will most likely be playable, in some shape or form, on an iPhone 4 possibly. Of course there will be exceptions, particularly with high end games.
But for the most part, in gaming terms, I’m not really feeling the pressure to upgrade — and I’m rocking an iPhone 4S.
Because I’m starting to get the sense that the truly interesting mobile games are very rarely technological showcases. They are games that play clever tricks with controls, games that adapt the touch screen in innovative ways. Real Racing is great — truly incredible — but can it match the tactile pleasures of a game like Duet or Ziggurat? Games that were born and bred for touchscreen devices, as opposed to being an attempt to transfer an experience that works better elsewhere to touchscreen devices. If you’re the kind of person that wants to sit on the cutting edge of what video games are capable of, it’s those games that you want to be playing on a mobile device. The kind of games that don’t demand the latest and greatest technology.
It’s a generalisation — of course. And it is possible that mobile gaming will push forward with games that both innovate and push the envelope from a technological standpoint. But even if those games do exist, do you really want to be playing them on a small screen? Don’t you want to be playing those games on a tablet device? Maybe that’s the solution here: tablet for mobile gaming, mobile phone for functionality.
Maybe mobile gaming has outgrown mobile phones?