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For years, Apple products garnered a reputation for being relatively unfriendly to gamers. With the rise of the iPhone, that’s no longer true — and Apple might even be at the forefront of modern mobile gaming.
Consumer interest in mobile gaming has been steadily rising — that’s a fact reflected at this year’s 2018 Game Developer’s Conference. In a recent story tracking that rise, TechCrunch sat down with Apple VP of product marketing Greg Joswiak and a handful of developers to discuss the current position of iOS gaming.
TechCrunch points out that, arguably, the biggest news at the conference was the launch of Fortnite on iOS. And while it’s massively popular in its own right, the fact that the iOS version of the game is “full and complete” and supports cross-platform play is basically unprecedented.
Joswiak himself noted that fact, telling TechCrunch that mobile gaming is at a “tipping point” due to the fact that mobile platforms like iPhone and iOS can now basically support the current generation of console games — and they even offer unique combinations of hardware and software features.
“Every year we are able to amp up the tech that we bring to developers,” Joswiak said. “Before the industry knew it, we were blowing people away (with the tech). The full gameplay of these titles has woken a lot of people up.”
And Apple’s mobile market might be of increasing worth to game developers — even more so than its chief mobile rival, Android. According to Joswiak, the customer base is “very homogenous,” with 90 percent of iOS devices running the latest version.
That, Joswiak points out, will allow developers to push out new features and harness the full capabilities of new devices much sooner than Android — since that ecosystem is fairly fragmented due to the number of manufacturers in the market.
Indeed, the Apple VP points out that gaming has consistently been among the App Store’s most popular categories. And that user base and reach might even have spurred and fostered a growth in the entire mobile gaming market.
Zach Gage, the creator of the SpellTower game, told TechCrunch that games have “never had the cultural reach that they do now,” attributing that reach to the App Store and the fact that most consumers now have a gaming-capable device in their pocket.
The recent redesign of the App Store in iOS 11 may even have played a part, Joswiak added that “with higher traffic, of course, comes higher sales.”
There are boons specific to game developers, too. The refresh has given games their own category in the App Store, and the platform’s “Today” tab might present a good way for potential consumers to be exposed to new indie games.
Dan Gray, a developer behind Monument Valley 2, said that one of the things the refresh has brought is an ability to show customers that their creations are a “labor of love for a small group of people.”