Sega, Electronic Arts talk iPhone gaming


Speaking in interviews at the annual E3 trade show, representatives from both Sega and Electronic Arts have spoken out about gaming on the iPhone. In a video interview with gaming blog Kotaku, Sega of America president Simon Jeffery made several comments about the iPhone gaming market, and the device’s processing power. Jeffery said Sega was “deliriously happy” with the response to Super Monkey Ball on the iPhone, adding that “[o]ur relationship with Apple is such that they talked to us really early about their iPhone gaming plans, so we could get the whole accelerometer stuff working on Super Monkey Ball quite early on.” Asked if there is a big enough user base for Sega to put a lot of emphasis on developing iPhone games, he said, “we’re going to have a pretty substantial iPhone development effort, yeah. We think that the iPhone is everything the N-Gage wasn’t, as a gaming device.” He added, “[w]hy people play those crappy games on their mobile phones, I’ll never understand. I’ll never understand it, personally. The iPhone changes that, completely. You’re playing Dreamcast-quality games on this tiny little device[.]”

The comparison to the Dreamcast led to another statement that the iPhone is “right there” with the discontinued Sega console in terms of power, with Jeffery calling it “pretty impressive.” When asked if the company would then be looking to bring over a lot of Dreamcast games to the iPhone, Jeffery said, “We’re looking pretty sensibly at what we can do on the iPhone that works and resonates with the market. We’re really happy with Super Monkey Ball, and it totally proves that our IP-owned properties resonate with that casual gaming demographic. So looking back towards some of the Dreamcast content makes a ton of sense.” Finally, he revealed that the company has quite a few games in development for the iPhone right now, including what he described as some “very cool stuff.”

In a separate interview, an unnamed EA developer said the iPhone was in between the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP in terms of power, but closer to the PSP. The developer added, however, that the accelerometer needs assistance to function as a gaming control device. “Think of it as a loose analog stick…you get lots of random data.” Game developers therefore need to create smoothing algorithms to interpret the data into movement info.


Charles Starrett

Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.