Those Aren’t iPhone Games

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

I was enjoying the latest episode of John Gruber’s The Talk Show, and this line stood out to me:

Xbox Game Pass specifically is not a threat to native iPhone and iPad gaming. […] But these aren’t really iPhone games, they’re all games that require an Xbox controller.

I suspect this won’t age well for 2 reasons.

First, I think people said this about Netflix when it started streaming video as well. It was a nice supplement to your DVD and Blu Ray collection, but the quality was too low and the content wasn’t there yet. In 2020 the default platform for movies and TV shows is Netflix for most people.

And second, as a Nintendo fanboy growing up, I remember when the PSP came out and Sony bragged about how it would play console games in the palm of your hand, us Nintendo fans replied, “people don’t want that, they want games meant for mobile like we have on the DS!” Fast forward to 2017 and Nintendo releases the Switch and we’re all in love with it because it plays console games in the palm of your hand.

I’d also remind folks that Game Pass and Stadia and all other streaming game services really only work well enough on your home internet. You’re not playing these on the bus or in a doctor’s office, you’re playing these games at home when you have the fastest internet available with the lowest latency. Maybe 5G changes this and suddenly your bandwidth is so high on mobile that it works, and carriers remove data caps out of the goodness of their hearts, but this is more of a home game thing, in which case using an Xbox controller with your iPad or iPhone is much easier to pull off and feels totally normal.