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Ngmoco's Neil Young claims iPhone beats DS, PSP

updated 10:15 pm EDT, Mon March 23, 2009

Young talks up iPhone

Neil Young, co-founder of ngmoco, praised the iPhone during his keynote address at the Game Developers Conference, according to Gamasutra. "Our love affair with the iPhone began by simply touching it," he said. "This was rapidly becoming the most important device I had ever owned, it was an all-encompassing, complete device. And I knew that that device was going to enable incredible things for gaming."

The company's game library currently includes six titles for the iPhone and iPod touch, including Topple 2, Rolando and WordFu. Investment firms have also seen opportunity with Apple's mobile gaming platform. Norwest Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkis Caufield & Byers, and Maples Investments have pledged a total of $10 million in series B investment funds toward ngmoco's operations.

Because the iPhone is "always on, always with you," Young considers the device "better than the DS, better than the PSP." He also argued that, from a business standpoint, "there were no first-party games" and the device adoption rates have easily exceeded the DS and PSP, quickly closing the lifetime sales gap despite the iPhone's relatively recent introduction. Additionally, both the number of new App Store titles and purchases appear to follow an exponential curve.

"Don't let the haters tell you it sucks compared to the DS or the PSP," he said. "It doesn't. It's good. It's clear that the quality of iPhone games is eclipsing its [portable] console counterparts, and that's even more acute when you compare it against the prior generation."

Young demonstrated the graphics capabilities with slides from current 3D iPhone games, while cautioning that graphics and sound alone do not necessarily make a great app.

He suggested the mobile segment can learn important lessons from Nintendo, a company that held a leadership position within the gaming market despite hardware specs that fell short of competitors' products. "Nintendo was able to win that battle by combining great software with hardware that it understood very well."

If Nintendo developed games for Apple's platform, Young speculates that "the designs would be progressive, discontinuous, and would have the user and the user's context always in mind. They would have great underlying game design with native device functionality at the core."

Other industry sources recently suggested that Nintendo may be putting pressure on its developers to compete with the iPhone and the iPod touch. Attendees at the company's developer conference allegedly were presented with plans to add a number of smaller titles to the DS Shop and DSi Ware services, while expanding the software to include non-gaming apps.

"I know that there is a general malaise over the game industry today, but I can say it's never been a better time to be an independent game developer," Young said. "We're at the center of the new everything, the iPhone has revolutionized everything."

by MacNN Staff



  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Great games do not

    necessarily require great graphics unless you're some sort of hard-core gaming geek. If a game puts up a challenge and keeps you coming back again and again, then it's a great game. I'm glad this guy thinks the iPhone/iPod Touch is on par with the PSP and DS in game quality. But I'm sure the next iPhone/iPod Touch is going to outperform them both in hardware. Apple is going to make it very enticing for developers and users alike to choose their mobile platform. Just about everything is in place. What will be that killer app or game that everyone must have to send the iPhone rocketing into mobile hall of fame?

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I am sorry, but the iPhone will not outperform the PSP or DS in regards to games. The simple fact is that nearly every "action" game requires the use of the gyro in the iPhone while the PSP and DS have real buttons. The buttons allow for so much more exact control.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    real buttons

    ok but do we need this precision on a mobile gaming device? The DS has a mediocre touch interface compared to the iPhone and less games for hardcore PC gamers. But it is selling much better than the PSP who specializes in bringing desktop games to a mobile platform, i think that Apples touch interface and appstore is the best solution on the market.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What Young was saying was that the iPhone could beat the DS and the PSP IF game developers emulate Nintendo and build games centered around the device's core capabilities (constant net connection, GPS, unique input, etc.). Basically, the features of the iPhone come together in ways that are more powerful than what the DS and PSP allow, even if it might never be suited to the types of games that excel on those systems.

  1. neilw

    Joined: Dec 1969


    external controllers

    With OS3.0 supporting external devices, I await the first of the official gaming controllers, with D-pads and such. They've gotta be coming now.

    In any case, the rapid success of the iPhone as a gaming platform is extraordinary, especially given the lack of physical controls and Apple's history of being clueless and/or apathetic w/respect to gaming.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    gaming controllers

    Agreed, specialized controllers are sure to be a hit, imagine guitar hero on the iPhone with ingame songs you can buy.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No first party games

    How is not having 1st party games a good thing. Right now the touch is a nice machine, but the games on it are mostly puzzle games or quasi-MMO games.

    Now, if companies such as Square-Enix were to put out real RPGs on the touch, then I might be interested in gaming on Apple's platform. Right now the PSP and DSi have more than enough to keep me busy. My touch is a music and video player with limited internet access.

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