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Lazy publishing the biggest threat to iPhone - Young

ngmoco founder Neil Young doesn't want to see a repeat of attitudes that hindered Sony's PSP

The biggest threat to gaming on the iPhone is a lazy publishing attitude that could see company's throw franchises on the platform without any thought for the unique possibilities of the device

That's according to Neil Young, founder of Dr Awesome, Rolando and WordFu publisher ngmoco, who said that he doesn't want to see a repeat of a practice that harmed Sony's PlayStation Portable as soon as it launched on the market.

Young believes that the current freedom for publishers to charge low prices for games is right for the iPhone, and acts as a deterrent to those looking to make a quick profit.

"What I don't want to see happen is a 'Premium App Store'. What that would do would encourage publishers to be lazy which is the biggest risk that the device faces," he said in an exclusive interview published today.

"When the PSP came out, and one of the reason I actually think the PSP didn't succeed in the same way the DS did, is because publishers just ported their original PlayStation games. So the PSP had more software at launch that any other gaming system had in history, but it got off to a really slow start because it didn't offer gamers anything different.

"I don't want to see that happen here. I don't want to see a premium space where a successful franchise is just inserted onto the device."

Nintendo's attitude to product, where it creates games specifically tailored to a device such as the DS or Wii, is the right attitude to adopt when looking at iPhone titles, said Young.

"I'd like to see it more like Nintendo's world where there's a reason Nintendo dominates the top 20 on the DS. Because they're the people that make the best games for it and they've been really thoughtful about it. I tend to want to encourage things that to keep the level of innovation there."

Young believes that in-application commerce will flip the pricing structure of iPhone games when the feature is introduced in the iPhone OS 3.0, due later this year.

But, he warned, developers and publishers should be careful about how they implement micro-transactions, and be careful not to prioritise "greed over gameplay".

"I think a big, big change is going to be in-app commerce. What's going to happen initially with in-app commerce is everything will trend towards 99 cents as the entry price for a game and gamers are going to start getting really wary about that they are and aren't buying. Because they're going to feel like they've stepping into a money trap."

"It's going to be difficult. We have to be really careful not to prioritise greed over gameplay. There's going to be a bit of a rough period as that works through the system. We're not going to charge 99 cents for a rocket launcher. That would be a really bad idea from a gameplay point and it would be the fastest way to piss off your consumer."

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.