• Author arn
  • Posted On2009-01-29 21:17:46
  • News

Steve Palley at Slide to Play was able to get additional confirmation that Apple is indeed planning a "premium game" category as reported earlier today.

According to an unnamed publisher representative, Apple is prepping its major parters to produce "PSP-quality" games for the new $19.99 category.

When we asked what Apple meant by "PSP-quality," our source indicated that premium games are likely to have much larger file sizes than most of the games we've been seeing; Apple also wants the section to attract prominent franchises that publishers have been reluctant to bring to the platform thus far.

By being open only to select publishers, the new section would highlight so-called "premium" titles and intellectual property that might otherwise find it hard to gain footing against the volume of inexpensive titles in the App Store.

The possibility has generated a lively 140+ comment thread in our forums. The general consensus from customers seems that many will be willing to pay $19.99 but these premium games will have to be proportionally better/longer than many of the existing titles in the App Store. Some indie developers, however, are concerned about the exclusivity of these arrangements that will put them at a disadvantage in the App Store.

By raising the possible revenue of App Store titles, it should theoretically allow developers to invest more into iPhone gaming development. id Software's John Carmack referenced this reality back in July as the App Store was launching.

“The iPhone, as a device, is in the same generation power-wise as the PS2 or Xbox,” he says. “The graphics are a little lower but the RAM is a lot higher. … You could easily spend $10 million on an iPhone game, but the market just can’t support that yet.”

  • spamboy

    Wow, it seems the iPhone game industry is heating up...
    This is getting interesting. I want to see what exactly comes out of this. My wish list:
    A JSRF game.
    A ROCKSTAR-branded Third Person GTA Game. (Yeah right, but I can dream!)
    A good FPS. (Gears of War-cover system would be awesome.)

  • spamboy

    Wow, it seems the iPhone game industry is heating up...
    This is getting interesting. I want to see what exactly comes out of this. My wish list:
    A JSRF game.
    A ROCKSTAR-branded Third Person GTA Game. (Yeah right, but I can dream!)
    A good FPS. (Gears of War-cover system would be awesome.)

  • Diggity Dan

    Well.. I'm still not sure if I want to see it happen. But if it brings console quality games and big name titles to my already awesome iPhone... I'm sold!

  • Diggity Dan

    Well.. I'm still not sure if I want to see it happen. But if it brings console quality games and big name titles to my already awesome iPhone... I'm sold!

  • SalsaMD

    Perhaps this explains Sega's virtual absence from the App Store?

  • Adams Immersive

    If this really leads to a whole new level of massive games from big teams, then it could be cool. AND it could take price pressure off of the kind of games we have now. I'm willing to wait and see what happens with this.

  • SalsaMD

    Perhaps this explains Sega's virtual absence from the App Store?

  • Adams Immersive

    If this really leads to a whole new level of massive games from big teams, then it could be cool. AND it could take price pressure off of the kind of games we have now. I'm willing to wait and see what happens with this.

  • Eric

    I know there are CEO's of large game companies eager to put some top notch games on their iPhones

  • Eric

    I know there are CEO's of large game companies eager to put some top notch games on their iPhones

  • SalsaMD

    Would also fall in line with the next gen iphone Rumors:

    "Rumors of the next generation iPhone point to the support of Multi-Core CPUs and possibly Multi-Core GPUs from Imagination Technologies"

    http://www.macrumors.com/2009/01/28/next-generation-iphone-model-revealed-in-firmware/

  • SalsaMD

    Would also fall in line with the next gen iphone Rumors:

    "Rumors of the next generation iPhone point to the support of Multi-Core CPUs and possibly Multi-Core GPUs from Imagination Technologies"

    http://www.macrumors.com/2009/01/28/next-generation-iphone-model-revealed-in-firmware/

  • mek

    maybe this is why Sega has been Quiet all this time

  • mek

    and NFS being delayed

  • mek

    maybe this is why Sega has been Quiet all this time

  • mek

    and NFS being delayed

  • mek

    haha, I have to read the comments before i post
    sawry SalsaMD, but I completely agree with you

  • mek

    haha, I have to read the comments before i post
    sawry SalsaMD, but I completely agree with you

  • Maeks

    Now they just need to get some way to save data independent of the apps so I can add/delete without worry.

    Especially if they are going to be big games.

  • Maeks

    Now they just need to get some way to save data independent of the apps so I can add/delete without worry.

    Especially if they are going to be big games.

  • Nate

    AWESOME. Apple solved the Crap apps in the app store. =D

    Cr-app. =D Pun intended there.

  • Nate

    AWESOME. Apple solved the Crap apps in the app store. =D

    Cr-app. =D Pun intended there.

  • Kia

    Sounds awesome to me! I've always been behind the iPod as a viable competitor, now I just have to hope they get games in genres I actually -like-. Some JRPGs would be awesome and wouldn't really be hampered by the lack of buttons...

  • Kia

    Sounds awesome to me! I've always been behind the iPod as a viable competitor, now I just have to hope they get games in genres I actually -like-. Some JRPGs would be awesome and wouldn't really be hampered by the lack of buttons...

  • http://www.bulletdev.com/ James (BarringtonSoftware)

    I like the idea, and only see minor downs to it. Those would be that Apple would pretty much focus only on larger devs, but the "cheap" buyers will go to the Top 100, avoid the expensive titles and buy Bullet Skater! Woo!!!!!

  • http://www.bulletdev.com/ James (BarringtonSoftware)

    I like the idea, and only see minor downs to it. Those would be that Apple would pretty much focus only on larger devs, but the "cheap" buyers will go to the Top 100, avoid the expensive titles and buy Bullet Skater! Woo!!!!!

  • Best RN

    Hmmm very interesting, I read in another forum board somewhere that Apple should rent games that expensive. After all when you beat a game with that high a price usually you turn it in for money or just rent it. Since the games would be bigger there is probably a iPhone with more storage coming soon. Way cool I would spend that much on a PSP quality game for my phone.

  • lenn

    $20 for an iphone/touch game?????You've got to be kidding me!
    Unless someone comes out with a game that's ALOT better than what's out there now that's just crazy.

  • Best RN

    Hmmm very interesting, I read in another forum board somewhere that Apple should rent games that expensive. After all when you beat a game with that high a price usually you turn it in for money or just rent it. Since the games would be bigger there is probably a iPhone with more storage coming soon. Way cool I would spend that much on a PSP quality game for my phone.

  • lenn

    $20 for an iphone/touch game?????You've got to be kidding me!
    Unless someone comes out with a game that's ALOT better than what's out there now that's just crazy.

  • Destinite

    Just give me Syndicate. I'll pay $30.

  • Destinite

    Just give me Syndicate. I'll pay $30.

  • Rich

    I'd agree with lenn. So far exactly zero of the games I've purchased have enough lasting value to be worth more than $8 or $9 bucks.

    I'm not saying the above to be another "I live in my parents basement and all apps should be .99 troll)

    If the value is there I would consider it. I've paid premium prices for apps that have the breadth and depth to warrant those kind of prices (Jadu VNC (great remote control app and worth the price if you need it!) Appigo's ToDo, Mantis Bible, iThoughts (though it's a great deal at $7 if you have need of such. Even if you don't it a fantasic example of the kind of productive work can be done on such a small device and they made it easy to use.)

    Just my .02

    Rich

  • Rich

    I'd agree with lenn. So far exactly zero of the games I've purchased have enough lasting value to be worth more than $8 or $9 bucks.

    I'm not saying the above to be another "I live in my parents basement and all apps should be .99 troll)

    If the value is there I would consider it. I've paid premium prices for apps that have the breadth and depth to warrant those kind of prices (Jadu VNC (great remote control app and worth the price if you need it!) Appigo's ToDo, Mantis Bible, iThoughts (though it's a great deal at $7 if you have need of such. Even if you don't it a fantasic example of the kind of productive work can be done on such a small device and they made it easy to use.)

    Just my .02

    Rich

  • 1337brian

    All I have to say is "Bring on the Hardware!"....

  • 1337brian

    All I have to say is "Bring on the Hardware!"....

  • Daniel Glover

    This is sad news. There are plenty of other platforms for the big name brand games. I liked the small independent one or two man team games.

  • Daniel Glover

    This is sad news. There are plenty of other platforms for the big name brand games. I liked the small independent one or two man team games.

  • SalsaMD

    @ Lenn

    The premise here is that the iphone is/will be able to provide PSP quality games/titles, which are in the $20 price range:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/blakespot/3121405200/sizes/l/in/pool-959391@N21/

  • SalsaMD

    @ Lenn

    The premise here is that the iphone is/will be able to provide PSP quality games/titles, which are in the $20 price range:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/blakespot/3121405200/sizes/l/in/pool-959391@N21/

  • Big Albie

    It sounds nice and all to have PSP quality games, but until Apple solves the battery issue where I can play longer than an hour, it doesn't really fly. Right now, I'm a casual gamer with a few games here and there during the day, and it easily drains the battery especially in those graphic-intensive games. So I'm for better quality games, but battery life is a problem that needs to be fixed if the iPhone/Touch is to be a viable and sustained gaming platform.

  • Timothy R

    I'd be willing to pay $20 for EA's mobile 'The Sims 3' coming out soon.

    One step closer to video game commercials having iPhone/iPod touch listed with the types of versions available...

  • Big Albie

    It sounds nice and all to have PSP quality games, but until Apple solves the battery issue where I can play longer than an hour, it doesn't really fly. Right now, I'm a casual gamer with a few games here and there during the day, and it easily drains the battery especially in those graphic-intensive games. So I'm for better quality games, but battery life is a problem that needs to be fixed if the iPhone/Touch is to be a viable and sustained gaming platform.

  • Timothy R

    I'd be willing to pay $20 for EA's mobile 'The Sims 3' coming out soon.

    One step closer to video game commercials having iPhone/iPod touch listed with the types of versions available...

  • Ab

    Well you know what this means... MGS Touch will be $20 :(

  • Ab

    Well you know what this means... MGS Touch will be $20 :(

  • http://www.talkingfuture.com talkingfuture

    I'll certainly take a look at this section. If there are good quality games from established series then it will be a positive move for Apple into gaming.

    Hopefully these games will still come down in price as they get older and drop into the normal store too.

  • http://www.talkingfuture.com talkingfuture

    I'll certainly take a look at this section. If there are good quality games from established series then it will be a positive move for Apple into gaming.

    Hopefully these games will still come down in price as they get older and drop into the normal store too.

  • SalsaMD

    @Ab

    In the manner that it has been advertised, that would be truly laughable...

  • SalsaMD

    @Ab

    In the manner that it has been advertised, that would be truly laughable...

  • Peter321

    So THAT's why NFS is delayed ;)

    But I actually think it's a good move by Apple. Even at $20 pr. game it lower than most DS and PSP games so still good value, and for the big publishers to take the platform serious there need to be the possibility to make a larger profit to justify development costs.

    Sure I'd rather pay $5-$10 pr. game, but if the higher price means that the iPhone will get most of the major titles released for other gaming consoles, I can live with that :D

  • Peter321

    So THAT's why NFS is delayed ;)

    But I actually think it's a good move by Apple. Even at $20 pr. game it lower than most DS and PSP games so still good value, and for the big publishers to take the platform serious there need to be the possibility to make a larger profit to justify development costs.

    Sure I'd rather pay $5-$10 pr. game, but if the higher price means that the iPhone will get most of the major titles released for other gaming consoles, I can live with that :D

  • Fokion

    If the quality is there, the cost is reasonable. The premium store means we don't have to be subjected to Puzzle Quest-style segmentation of a game (bring on Galactrix), and the sorting of "serious" games out to make serious money will be much easier. Actually, this sounds like an essential move if the iphone is to be marketed as a games machine in the future. It's true that many indie games devs will be hurt by this as far as market psychology is concerned, but I don't think it will make much of a difference.

  • Fokion

    If the quality is there, the cost is reasonable. The premium store means we don't have to be subjected to Puzzle Quest-style segmentation of a game (bring on Galactrix), and the sorting of "serious" games out to make serious money will be much easier. Actually, this sounds like an essential move if the iphone is to be marketed as a games machine in the future. It's true that many indie games devs will be hurt by this as far as market psychology is concerned, but I don't think it will make much of a difference.

  • dean

    I just hope the gameplay is a lot longer because these games will take space. maybe ea will make a extended version of nfs.

  • dean

    I just hope the gameplay is a lot longer because these games will take space. maybe ea will make a extended version of nfs.

  • http://www.alex-hardy.co.uk Alex

    I think this $20 "premium" section of the app store is great, if it gets the likes of Capcom, EA, ID, Konami, Namco, Sega, Square etc fully* on board.

    * By "fully" I mean creating top-notch gaming that wouldn't look out of place on a PSP or DS, not travesties of great games like Monkey Ball or Tetris.

    The iPhone deserves games of the calibre of Mario Kart, Advance Wars, Zelda etc.

    I don't think it hurts the little guy either. People will still by the likes of Aurora Feint, Dizzy Bee and Fieldrunners. If a big name company wants to spend $millions developing a game, they can't charge 99 cents. It just isn't going to happen that way.

  • http://www.alex-hardy.co.uk Alex

    I think this $20 "premium" section of the app store is great, if it gets the likes of Capcom, EA, ID, Konami, Namco, Sega, Square etc fully* on board.

    * By "fully" I mean creating top-notch gaming that wouldn't look out of place on a PSP or DS, not travesties of great games like Monkey Ball or Tetris.

    The iPhone deserves games of the calibre of Mario Kart, Advance Wars, Zelda etc.

    I don't think it hurts the little guy either. People will still by the likes of Aurora Feint, Dizzy Bee and Fieldrunners. If a big name company wants to spend $millions developing a game, they can't charge 99 cents. It just isn't going to happen that way.

  • Pingback: iPhone Premium Games? « The Soulmen Blog

  • http://www.alex-hardy.co.uk Alex

    Apologies for consecutive commenting, but it all comes down to economics. The best estimates I could find say:

    DS sales ~40 million
    PSP sales ~20 million (declining)
    iPhone sales ~ 15 million

    I can only guess how many iPod Touches have been sold, but they sold ~3.5 million in Q1 2008.

    There is no debate. iPhone OS *is* a portable gaming platform with a huge userbase. All the big name devs will want in, because they want to make giant piles of money.

  • http://www.alex-hardy.co.uk Alex

    Apologies for consecutive commenting, but it all comes down to economics. The best estimates I could find say:

    DS sales ~40 million
    PSP sales ~20 million (declining)
    iPhone sales ~ 15 million

    I can only guess how many iPod Touches have been sold, but they sold ~3.5 million in Q1 2008.

    There is no debate. iPhone OS *is* a portable gaming platform with a huge userbase. All the big name devs will want in, because they want to make giant piles of money.

  • Pingback: Apple May Open Premium Game Section in App Store

  • Marc

    Hate to bust everyones button, but until Apple finds a way to miraculously solve the many control issues caused by not having any hard buttons... we're not going to see "DS/PSP" quality games. I've played a couple action games using a virtual gamepad and it sucks. Racing games almost work... but none of the offerings I've tried so far manage to get it 100%. Rolando perhaps come closest due to it's unique gameplay, but the game was too short to warrant this "premium" tag (almost too short for $10 but I enjoyed it so no regrets). Add in the battery issue, and the iphone seems more like a mobile phone gaming device... imagine that. :)

    Introducing a "premium" price right in the middle of one of the worst recessions since 1929 is an interesting choice. Apple is an interesting company. :)

  • Marc

    Hate to bust everyones button, but until Apple finds a way to miraculously solve the many control issues caused by not having any hard buttons... we're not going to see "DS/PSP" quality games. I've played a couple action games using a virtual gamepad and it sucks. Racing games almost work... but none of the offerings I've tried so far manage to get it 100%. Rolando perhaps come closest due to it's unique gameplay, but the game was too short to warrant this "premium" tag (almost too short for $10 but I enjoyed it so no regrets). Add in the battery issue, and the iphone seems more like a mobile phone gaming device... imagine that. :)

    Introducing a "premium" price right in the middle of one of the worst recessions since 1929 is an interesting choice. Apple is an interesting company. :)

  • madmikefisk

    There are some games I could see working with a touch-screen interface that would be in an upmarket segment...

    ...if anybody from Nippon Ichi is reading, I'd pay $20 for an iTouch version of any of their SRPGs.

  • madmikefisk

    There are some games I could see working with a touch-screen interface that would be in an upmarket segment...

    ...if anybody from Nippon Ichi is reading, I'd pay $20 for an iTouch version of any of their SRPGs.

  • SMOKIN OKIN

    this is retarded, some of these games are probably going to be much better than hero of sparta which is a huge step up, but i bet apple will allow konami to sell metal gear solid , a tap and fire game for $20, some of these will succeed while others will fail miserably

  • SMOKIN OKIN

    this is retarded, some of these games are probably going to be much better than hero of sparta which is a huge step up, but i bet apple will allow konami to sell metal gear solid , a tap and fire game for $20, some of these will succeed while others will fail miserably

  • SMOKIN OKIN

    people dont buy ipod touchs for games, but those that do really but ir for the free games, not expensive crappy shit

  • SMOKIN OKIN

    people dont buy ipod touchs for games, but those that do really but ir for the free games, not expensive crappy shit

  • Pingback: » iPhone Premium games: Will they kill DS and PSP? - Technology@MyRecap

  • KM

    @Marc

    Sure, the global economy is in the dumper, but these games will be "premium" priced only in comparison to previous App Store games. $20 is still below what you'd pay for a new release PSP game ($30 or more). Plus, with the App Store, you get instant downloadable content.

  • KM

    @Marc

    Sure, the global economy is in the dumper, but these games will be "premium" priced only in comparison to previous App Store games. $20 is still below what you'd pay for a new release PSP game ($30 or more). Plus, with the App Store, you get instant downloadable content.

  • http://www.warfareincorporated.com Zandog

    Another great post, arn.

  • http://www.warfareincorporated.com Zandog

    Another great post, arn.

  • spiffyone

    @SMOKIN OKIN

    "No one buys iPod touch for games but those that do do it for free games"?

    WTF? It seems to me that more people are buying the touch for games than the iPhone for games. Apple is marketing it as the "funnest iPod ever", and the SAME games run on both devices. And in case you haven't noticed, most of the highest selling paid apps are in the $2.99-5.99 price range. iTouch/Phone users are getting free stuff, sure...but they are also buying a ton of game apps. That section (paid games) is the hugest money maker for the app store currently.

  • spiffyone

    @SMOKIN OKIN

    "No one buys iPod touch for games but those that do do it for free games"?

    WTF? It seems to me that more people are buying the touch for games than the iPhone for games. Apple is marketing it as the "funnest iPod ever", and the SAME games run on both devices. And in case you haven't noticed, most of the highest selling paid apps are in the $2.99-5.99 price range. iTouch/Phone users are getting free stuff, sure...but they are also buying a ton of game apps. That section (paid games) is the hugest money maker for the app store currently.

  • spiffyone

    Again, I think this is a terrible mistake on Apple's part. The devices might be up to tasks in CPU and GPU, but they are not up to task in terms of space and battery life.

    And don't bring in the "they'll have a multi core iTouch/Phone soon". No they won't. The earliest we'll see a major hardware revision is late next year. Minor hardware revisions (better battery life for both, better camera on iPhone, etc.) are coming soon, but not a total change in CPU and GPU. The friggin' things were just released less than 2 years ago, and the SDK only opened up less than a year ago. It's still far too early in the platform life cycle to change now. If Apple does, it will folly.

    Again, I think this points to Apple TV games. If it doesn't, and instead points to iTouch/Phone games, it will be the silliest thing Apple has done. The market has been set. The problem with the market now isn't price, but the App Store itself. Try finding things on that ass backwards place. That's why people come here or use App Sniper.

  • spiffyone

    Again, I think this is a terrible mistake on Apple's part. The devices might be up to tasks in CPU and GPU, but they are not up to task in terms of space and battery life.

    And don't bring in the "they'll have a multi core iTouch/Phone soon". No they won't. The earliest we'll see a major hardware revision is late next year. Minor hardware revisions (better battery life for both, better camera on iPhone, etc.) are coming soon, but not a total change in CPU and GPU. The friggin' things were just released less than 2 years ago, and the SDK only opened up less than a year ago. It's still far too early in the platform life cycle to change now. If Apple does, it will folly.

    Again, I think this points to Apple TV games. If it doesn't, and instead points to iTouch/Phone games, it will be the silliest thing Apple has done. The market has been set. The problem with the market now isn't price, but the App Store itself. Try finding things on that ass backwards place. That's why people come here or use App Sniper.

  • Bah-Rock

    Apple has given indie developers some limelight, but as for GAMES, its time for the big boys to step in and bring out this puppy's true potential.

  • Bah-Rock

    Apple has given indie developers some limelight, but as for GAMES, its time for the big boys to step in and bring out this puppy's true potential.

  • David Stephens

    @ SalsaMD

    " http://www.flickr.com/photos/blakespot/3121405200/sizes/l/in/pool-959391@N21/ "

    You know what would really be great is if Apple set up a resell market in the AppStore where people could sell their copy, or rights to it, when they are done with it.

    It could be really simple. You purchase a game, play it to death and place it on the resell section of the AppStore. A game can only be resold by the person who purchased it new, used games shouldn't be allowed to be resold again, otherwise it would just be a permanent price reduction.

    When the game is sold the DRM kills it on the seller's device and activates it on the buyer's device. The seller sets the price with radio buttons. The user gets 60% as an AppStore credit, The developer gets 30%, and Apple gets 10% for hosting the resell store.

    Just an idea, but when I saw your pic of the GameSpot, or some other game store, it hit me.

  • David Stephens

    @ SalsaMD

    " http://www.flickr.com/photos/blakespot/3121405200/sizes/l/in/pool-959391@N21/ "

    You know what would really be great is if Apple set up a resell market in the AppStore where people could sell their copy, or rights to it, when they are done with it.

    It could be really simple. You purchase a game, play it to death and place it on the resell section of the AppStore. A game can only be resold by the person who purchased it new, used games shouldn't be allowed to be resold again, otherwise it would just be a permanent price reduction.

    When the game is sold the DRM kills it on the seller's device and activates it on the buyer's device. The seller sets the price with radio buttons. The user gets 60% as an AppStore credit, The developer gets 30%, and Apple gets 10% for hosting the resell store.

    Just an idea, but when I saw your pic of the GameSpot, or some other game store, it hit me.

  • Fred

    I guess $20 will be too much for 90% of the games that will be released in that category. You have to consider that we are talking about download-only, personal licenses and not physical, resellable copies of the games.

    Without a real controller the iPhone is very limited in possible AAA titles/genres. I can imagine buying something like Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, PuzzleQuest (with proper adaption) or Fieldrunners with 20 levels and enhanced gameplay for $20, but I definitely won't buy Need for Speed or other "big name" games with handicapped controls and graphics that are far away from similar priced older HD-console versions.

  • Fred

    I guess $20 will be too much for 90% of the games that will be released in that category. You have to consider that we are talking about download-only, personal licenses and not physical, resellable copies of the games.

    Without a real controller the iPhone is very limited in possible AAA titles/genres. I can imagine buying something like Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, PuzzleQuest (with proper adaption) or Fieldrunners with 20 levels and enhanced gameplay for $20, but I definitely won't buy Need for Speed or other "big name" games with handicapped controls and graphics that are far away from similar priced older HD-console versions.

  • aBoll

    Looking forward to it.

    @ David Stephens

  • aBoll

    Looking forward to it.

    @ David Stephens

  • aBoll

    Sorry hit enter accidentely :P Anyways, how would that work? how would it lose any quality to make its price lower? Think it through before you post.

  • aBoll

    Sorry hit enter accidentely :P Anyways, how would that work? how would it lose any quality to make its price lower? Think it through before you post.

  • CoolGamer230

    SOUNDS GREAT!!!!!
    I will be willing to pay 20 bucks for the games if there good not crap.
    I know that sims3 and Need for speed undercover will be coming out. Anyone know of anyother titles..........

  • CoolGamer230

    SOUNDS GREAT!!!!!
    I will be willing to pay 20 bucks for the games if there good not crap.
    I know that sims3 and Need for speed undercover will be coming out. Anyone know of anyother titles..........