The 80s were a fantastic era to grow up in if you were a console gaming kid. Actually, the early to mid 90s weren’t so bad as well. It’s very publicly known now that Nintendo is having a difficult time selling their 3DS handheld console. I’m not so sure the device isn’t selling well just because the hardware is lacking in several areas like battery life and poor 3D adoption, however, it’s undeniable that a huge chunk of sales have been disrupted by the iPod Touch, and in general, iOS as an emerging gaming platform.
2012 has been a great start to the year for Apple. They’re selling more iPhones and iPads than they can make. This also means more and more people are spending money on apps, however, since we’re on the topic of games, it means people are buying tons of games on iOS. There is a much larger piece to the iOS ecosystem that is going to further cement it as the go-to mobile platform to develop outstanding games for first. That piece that of course is iCloud. We’ve barely begun to scratch the surface with iCloud enabled third party apps. Adoption is slow, but ever steady. Yes, both smaller and larger development companies will continue to make games for Nintendo, however I think the focus will continue to shift towards iOS first and foremost.
A game I bought this past week is Batman: Arkham City. I played Arkham Asylum, the first game in the series last year (yes I was a little late to the party) and it was a fantastic experience. Arkham Asylum was everything I wanted in not just a Batman game, but a video game period–that being great story, pacing, voice acting, and graphics. I’ve only just started with Arkham City, however the one feature I absolutely love and that caught my eye was that it supports iCloud for syncing game saves between iOS devices. Since many of us that have iPhones also have iPads, or are planning on getting iPads, iCloud support on a game allows us to start playing on one iOS device and then pickup where we left off on another. If you haven’t already realized how amazing this is, iCloud is the glue that holds the whole iOS experience together and wraps it up in a neat little bow.
Every developer who currently has an app in the App Store, or who is developing an app for iOS knows that iCloud is a feature that they will need to implement sooner rather than later. Sure, maybe your users aren’t fully aware or aren’t requesting iCloud support yet, but as it becomes more ubiquitous, you’re going to start feeling the pressure from users. Every single game being released for iOS should have iCloud support out of the box–there’s no reason not to include it. If you already have an app, specifically a game, in the App Store without iCloud support, this is something you should be working on right now.
I can’t emphasize enough how much of a difference iCloud has made for my computing experience. I loved it when some of my favourite productivity apps received updates with iCloud support, but I’m even happier that some of my games have it now.