Gameloft Continues to Impress in Mobile Gaming

By on Dec 23, 2010 at 7:00 am

Despite all the criticism of being a ripoff machine, Gameloft is truly one of the only development studios to support the iOS platform with console quality titles and they’ve been doing this week in week out as of late.

With titles such as yesterday’s great arcade-racer Asphalt 6, the Uncharted inspired, Shadow Guardian, and other December hits like Dungeon Hunter 2, Nova 2, Eternal Legacy, the company is fully behind the iOS. Gameloft is in my opinion making the platform a lot closer to home console quality than even gaming-dedicated portable systems when it domes to graphics and gameplay. Presentation through good narration and storytelling as well as game length and gameplay variety — compared to the titles Gameloft is taking ideas from — is still lacking though.

What would obviously be an expensive maneuver by Apple but one that might truly make it a contender in the portable gaming scene once the 3DS and PSP2 get released would be for Apple to acquired the rights to Gameloft’s IP’s and buy out the company — or in essence made it a first or second party development studio — with funds from Apple backing the compsny. It would be done the same way Microsoft acquired Rare and to a lesser extend, the way EA recently acquired the iOS publisher Chillingo. I don’t know if Gameloft would even consider the offer no matter how hard Apple tried considering the success Gameloft has had with their current model. But, considering they mostly develop games for the iOS anyway and Apple does have the pocket, I think a deal could be done. Note, they are still releasing titles for other platforms, but it seems the bulk of their recent work — and games most widely distributed — has been on the App Store.

Apple doesn’t have a first-party development studio to my knowledge dedicated to just making games unlike much of their competition from Microsoft to Sony. The company has also never been big on gaming despite trying their hand at an unsuccessful console some time back that failed horribly. But if Gameloft can make such amazing titles with their current budget and despite the low price ceiling on the App Store, imagine would they could do with Apple behind them. For instance we could see real show apps, with even longer gameplay and time put into a game because despite the profit not changing Apple could see it as an investment to get gamers on their side like Microsoft did with the first Xbox.

One negative aspect of such an acquisition by Apple could be potential lawsuits or negative press due to Apple becoming essentially a company that funds and supports clones of other copyright works or ideas. Although in gaming it is known that pretty much every idea comes from somewhere or from some other game these days. The genre is what drives the games and ideas behind them to be often very similar, as does the success of previous titles. For instance Square-Enix is in a way replicating a Monster Hunter on the PSP — due to the success the Capcom franchise has gotten on the platform — with their game, Lord of Arcana. Every company does this to an extent in the gaming world of today.

What makes the App Store standout however is the indy-development spirit and many small development studios trying their hand at making unique and quirky games. Despite this, many gamers are looking for bigger games and ones to impress their friends. They want games to be engaging and graphically stunning judging by the success of titles such as Infinity Blade as of late. However, there aren’t many Gamelofts willing to put a huge effort or continue making large-scale titles night in night out, outside EA and a few studios supporting the iOS platform with a title here and there. Gameloft has the experience, talent, and is showing constant improvements and any other company would be hard pressed to catch up with their current experience in 3d games on the App Store. This is why I think Apple should be taking an interest in their contributions and look into integrating them further.

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