With the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, a new demographic of gamers was created that could only be paralleled by the release of Nintendo's Wii in 2006. The iPhone is now technically the highest-selling portable gaming device, and yet challengers such as myself will still come along and ask: are most iPhone games really worth the money that some developers are charging us?
The notion of paid downloadable content (that is, content that is available to purchase within the game that you're playing) has been a controversial business practice since Microsoft popularized it on the Xbox 360. It seemed to work for classic titles such as Gears of War, but then there were all those countless casual titles that were lackluster in comparison, and provided content that cost half as much as the game itself.
My issue with the iPhone is that it seems like every game on there is like this. Maybe I'm not the intended target audience for these games, but it seems disconcerting to me that some developers for the iPhone are only using paid downloadable content as their own personal piggy bank.
For instance, I recently saw an iPhone game which advertised itself as being free, until I downloaded it and was bombarded by requests to shell out $10 or $15 for asinine content such as a Santa hat. Let's compare this to the aforementioned Gears of War, which provided new maps for as little as $12; this translates to countless hours of fun with your friends. Now, let's go back to the Santa hat; does it really have the same value?
I won't share the name of this title, because I don't want to embarrass the developer. The point is some of the developers on the iPhone really need to step their game up if they want our dollars—personally, I'd be much more interested in spending $5 or $10 on a game that's actually good, than in downloading some free game that later turns out to be a cash suck.
The level of quality for iPhone games is really poor and I sincerely wish for it to be enhanced, because I personally don't see the iPhone as a bad device to play games on. It just turns out that most of the games that are made for it are bad.
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