Will the iPhone be the place to play?

November 10, 2009 3:55:26 PM PST
Within five years, sales of games on phones and other portable devices are expected to reach $12 billion. And the iPhone is already having an impact.

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ABC7 got a sneak preview of "Star Wars Trench Run," a new game coming out in about two weeks for the iPhone and there are many more coming for the holidays. It is part of an effort by Apple to capture the billions of dollars spent on video games.

"People only have so many hours a day, and the iPhone and the iPod Touch are great because you always have it with you. If you want to play a game for five minutes, it's there," says executive vice president John Davison from Game Pro.

While they started out as a phone and a music player, these devices have become powerful handheld game machines. And it is not just for solo play. Many of these games offer multi-player options so you can play against others wirelessly.

ABC7 also got a sneak preview of "Harry Potter Spells" -- where you use the phone as a wand. As you cast a spell to your opponent the spell moves from one device to the other.

Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones in the last quarter and with sales just starting in China, the company is expected to be a force in game sales.

The iTunes store carries over 20,000 games and entertainment applications. Apple is also pushing new pricing to make it cheaper to buy a game, but you pay later to add features.

"Now the cool thing is this app will be free, but it will utilize in-app purchase so users can purchase different upgraded planes and weaponry," says Shawn Ellis from Apple marketing.

Davison says this could be a game-changer.

"It's a relatively new model, particularly in the U.S. for charging for games, but now that some high-profile iPhone games are introducing it... if it works, it could affect the way all games are charged for," says Davison.

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