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Apple is "far ahead" of digital distribution rivals

Rolando creator believes Sony and Nintendo need "rapid reaction" to catch up

The man behind the hugely popular Rolando game on the iPhone platform, Simon Oliver, believes that one of the reasons for the Apple product's success is the "phenomenally good" distribution system - the App Store.

Talking exclusively to, the indie developer revealed that he'd thought about working on other platforms previously - including XBLA, but that the iPhone made life that much easier.

"Well, XNA was good, and this was before the whole community games thing," he said. "At the time, you could develop games, but there was no way of getting them out there. That was probably the primary reason at the time that I discounted it as a platform to work on.

"The thing about the iPhone is that the distribution is phenomenally good as well - the cut that Apple takes is great, and is so streamlined. You compare it to WiiWare, or even XBLA, it's such a streamlined process. You can do it via computer, via your phone, it's very easy and the automatic updating system is just fantastic."

Oliver continued that he felt that Apple had taken a significant market lead as a result, and that while more traditional gaming companies like Sony and Nintendo were working on or evolving digital distribution systems, they were some distance behind.

"Nowadays, I think there's a certain amount of response from guys like Sony and Nintendo to this, and there are rumours of what's going to be on PSP 2 in terms of digital downloads, plus there's the DSi and DSWare, WiiWare, etc," he said.

"But I think Apple's placed so far ahead, there's going to have to be a rapid reaction from the others - just in terms of the sheer amount of the content that's produced. Obviously there's not the same level of quality control that you get on XBLA or WiiWare, but I think you'll get so many more interesting games on the iPhone because the barrier to entry is so unbelievably low.

"All these people with ideas, people that have been wanting to make games for years - like me - they can finally realise that idea and get it out there."

The full interview with Simon Oliver, in which explains the background to the development of Rolando, as well as his thoughts on the sheer number of applications deluging the App Store, is available now.

Oliver will also be a panellist at the forthcoming BAFTA Presents: Digital Distribution event, in association with the Network, taking place in London next week. Tickets are available for the event from the BAFTA website.

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