According to ZDNet, computer giant Apple is working on a very powerful new iPhone that could hit stores later this year.
The new phone, currently about as powerful as Sony's excellent PlayStation Portable, would be more than twice as powerful, capable of rendering graphics – and games – better than anything before it in the portable gaming world.
And unlike the PSP or Nintendo DS, the iPhone allows gamers to download games via Apple's App Store, which users can access wirelessly or on their computer.
Currently, the games on iPhone are pretty good, but not very complex. The phone, in a sense, can act as a joystick. You can tilt it to control on-screen action. Racing games come off especially well – while holding it horizontally, the phone becomes like a steering wheel and creates a very realistic playing experience.
Some games I've seen add a little directional control on the touch-screen pad, similar to the one you would use playing a traditional handheld or console game. So far, I've found those to be rather clunky, and I'm not sure if you could (or would want to) try to play, say, a sports game – or anything that requires a lot of button presses – on the iPhone.
But you can buy mainstream games for the iPhone right now for as little as $9.99, and they can be ready to play within seconds. The delivery is faster and the games cost about three times less than most PSP and DS titles.
It'll be interesting to see where this goes. Apple needs to update the iPhone, adding things like cut-and-paste, multimedia instant messaging, and a QWERTY keyboard that works in landscape mode (to make typing e-mails easier). Battery life is also an issue. But with those fixes and a more-powerful gaming core, many might be willing to make the switch.
‘Guitar Hero: Metallica' arriving soon
Activision's “Guitar Hero: Metallica” hits stores this spring with more than 45 songs from the band's history, including tracks from every studio album it's ever recorded. The game will also feature artists selected by the band to be in the game, like Queen, Foo Fighters, Bob Seger and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Socially conscious video games
Advanced Micro Devices, a next-gen computer company, has created a new suite of socially conscious games about the environment, energy consumption, poverty and health. The free kit is at http://gamesforchange.org/toolkit. The company, which is targeting 13- to 18-year-olds, is hoping to inspire young people to do more with video games than destroy monsters or outrace virtual cars.
It's not the blood, it's the challenge
A University of Rochester psychology study shows that it's the challenge games provide, not the carnage, that makes gaming entertaining. The study by Rochester's Immersyve Inc. found that gore detracts from a game's fun factor. More than 2,500 gamers were surveyed.
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