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Mobile games developers shift to iPhone

Not good news for PSP or DS

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More games developers are working on content for mobile phones - and a big majority are targeting the iPhone. There are twice as many developers working on iPhone games as there are creators of titles for the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS.

So says market watcher Game Developer Research, an off-shoot of Games Developer magazine whose readers were among the 800 folk GDR surveyed for its latest report. Attendees of the annual Games Developers Conference were included too, as were readers of the developer centric website Gamasutra.

In short, plenty of people who will be creating games professionally and commercially.

GDR found that the proportion of developers working on mobile platforms rose in 2009 to 25 per cent of the total games development base, up from 12 per cent in 2008, website GamesBeat notes.

Three-quarters of the developers working on mobile titles are creating games for the iPhone and iPod Touch - and, inherently, the iPad too.

That's no great surprise, given the Apple platform's market presence and the eagerness users have to download apps. But it's interesting that developers see a clear advantage in targeting the platform over existing, more game-oriented devices, specifically the DS and PSP.

It implies they see better financial reward in the iPhone than the others, and as GamesBeat's Dean Takahashi points out: "Once [developers] start leaving a platform, games become scarce and the users eventually follow."

Nintendo has other worries too. While the number of developers working on PS3 and Xbox 360 titles remained much the same in 2009 as 2008 - around 61 per cent for the PS3 and 69 per cent for Xbox out of the 41 per cent of games developers working on console titles - the number of Wii developers from within that category dropped from 42 per cent to 30 per cent. ®

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