Neil Young, longtime EA executive and former head of the company's Los Angeles studios, shocked the industry when he announced that he was leaving the game publishing giant to head up Ngmoco, a startup focusing on iPhone and iPod Touch games. Young, who when not rocking in the free world (sorry, had to be done), is an extremely astute and capable executive and it was surprising to see him leave a giant, established publisher for a startup in an unproven market. Yet, that's exactly what he did. In a recent interview with MTV's Multiplayer blog, Young talks about the similarities between iPhone/iPod Touch development and Nintendo DS/Wii development.
"If you think about the games that were successful, have been successful on the Wii -- and it’s also true of the DS -- they’re games that have kind of been built from the interface out. And by successful I mean both from a critical standpoint but also a commercial standpoint. The DS started to accelerate as a platform was when designers started to do more than just port the old games over, try to map some hokey extension with the stylus and started really building games that specifically took advantage of the stylus. I think that’s true on the iPhone here, too. We’re just at the very, very beginning."
The similarities in development are definitely there, but I'm not yet convinced about the similarities in publishing. With the DS, you're talking about a huge installed base for hardware that's relatively inexpensive. With the iPhone and iPod touch, you're dealing with more expensive hardware and, in the case of the former, an expensive monthly contract. I'm sure Ngmoco will do well, but it remains to be seen just how big the iPhone/iPod Touch gaming market will be.
Do you guys think the market for these games will skyrocket? Current iPhone owners -- do you even spend a lot of time gaming on your device? Share your thoughts!