Apple opens iPhone / iPod touch to third-party applications

But will there be games?

Apple opens iPhone / iPod touch to third-party applications

As some of you may have already heard, Apple has officially announced that it will be opening the iPhone and the iPod touch to native third-party applications with a developer SDK (software development kit) set to ship in February next year.

So what does this mean for games? Well, it seems obvious that several companies will start to develop gaming titles for the system but at the moment it is unclear whether those companies will include game developers with an established reputation.

That isn't to say titles released by new or lesser known companies won't be any good, but if some of the bigger fish – EA, Konami, Capcom, Ubisoft, etc – don't make a move, it could be indicative of an industry-wide reluctance to welcome another handheld gaming platform into the fold.

The problem is that due to the iPhone's processing advantage over most other mobile phones, it may be unclear to the development community where the device should be pitched in terms of games.

Is it a device that could face off against the PSP or DS? Is it a direct competitor to the new N-Gage platform? Is it set to shake up more traditional Java gaming on mobile phones by affording a better array of interface possibilities? Or is it all three (the potential is certainly there)?

True, it's currently uncertain what the iPhone is capable of in terms of graphical might, but we do know the device is packing a 620MHz ARM processor, which on paper seems pretty meaty when compared with the PSP's 333MHz processor.

Of course, the iPhone doesn't have the same dedicated graphics architecture of the PSP or DS, and making use of the hardware might prove particularly challenging for developers.

Then again, we're hoping that a must-have device with wi-fi, touchscreen interface, inbuilt camera, loads of onboard storage and a download friendly set-up for distribution will be too tantalising a platform for the game development community to ignore.

Fingers crossed, then.