iPhone 4 Announced - What Does It Mean for Mobile Gamers?

For those not following Apple’s very own WWDC today in San Francisco, know that, as is usual, Apple announced a new piece of hardware, the iPhone 4 (there is no “HD” in the name, as assumed by various sites). What does this have to do with gamers? As we all know, the iPhone is the new kid on the block in mobile gaming, however it boasts an already gigantic install base, which likely includes a huge market of casual and hardcore gamers.

What can we look forward to in this new iteration of the iPhone, and why are certain new features important? Read on to find out!

We all know that visual appeal and the display used is a huge part of gaming. Just look at how quickly gaming moved to HD, and now into 3D. Gamers themselves are probably some of the quickest out there to adapt new technologies, thanks in part to the companies driving the industry. Apple is no different.

With the iPhone 4 comes the new “Retina Display”. The screen on the new iPhone has four times the amount of pixels in the same area as the current iPhone 3Gs has. That is 326 pixels per inch, or 78% of the pixel space that the iPad has, on a much larger screen. How is this all significant? Things will look better. There will be a higher range of colors that can be displayed. Visuals – everything from games to YouTube videos to your own snapshots to the phone’s home screen – will all be vastly improved.

All current apps will instantly look better, according to Steve Jobs, and they can be optimized to look even more outstanding with updates from the developers. So, basically, all that technobabble boils down to the games we play on the iPhone will look so much better.

Another new feature is that the iPhone 4 will have six-axis control via the new gyroscope embedded in the glass and metal frame. So, in addition to the accelerometer in the 3Gs, there will now be pitch/roll/yaw controls by simply rotating, moving or tilting your phone, much in the same way you do now for various games.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of the accelerometer controls in games, I prefer to actually have a virtual control pad available, but this new six-axis motion control sounds right up a gamer’s alley. It will be in every…single…iPhone 4. There will be no need for add-ons (you know, like Natal, Move or a blasted Wii Motion Plus). It will be there by default for game developers to take full advantage of.

One more thing I should mention – even though it is a feature we already know about – is the multi-tasking in iOS 4 (yes, they renamed their iPhone OS, probably because it runs on more devices than just the phone these days). I’m not quite sure what benefits multi-tasking would specifically have for gaming, but I know it is always annoying to be in the middle of a game and have someone text you, or a push notification from another application pop up. If you want to see it immediately, you’re booted out of the game, of course, and have to get back in after you’re done reading your message. This multi-tasking will hopefully eliminate that frustration.

So, with all that being said, I tend to find the improved display more appealing for gaming purposes than the full six-axis controlls that were integrated. However, there most definitely is something to be said for its contribution to the gaming scene.

Now, is it work putting down $200+ for one (assuming you can get the upgrade price and renew your contract with AT&T)? Is it worth it? The sexiness factor is definitely there, but it seems to me the gaming features are kind of lacking this time around. Sure, there is enhancement and it is likely that this will, once again, help Apple plow their own path through the handheld gaming market, but it isn’t quite enough for me. How about you, what do you think about these new features? If you’re a current iPhone user, are these enough to get you to spend the money to upgrade?

[Images courtesy of Engadget]

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Chad Awkerman

Chad joined the DualShockers staff in mid 2009 and since then has put much of his time into covering RPGs, with a focus on the Japanese side of the genre, from the obscure to the mainstream. He's a huge fan of iconic games like Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI and Persona 4 yet enjoys the smaller niche titles, as well. In his spare time he enjoys experiencing new beer, new foods and keeping up with just about every sci-fi show on television. He's married to an intelligent, beautiful Southern Belle who keeps his life interesting with witty banter and spicy Cajun cooking.

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