Plus+ Social Gaming Service for iPhone Launches


Among console gaming fans, there is little doubt that Xbox Live is the current pinnacle of social online gaming. Sharing stats, matchmaking, ranked play, and messaging are all combined in a symphony of interactivity unmatched by the PS3, and certainly not by the Wii. Ngmoco wants to bring some of that social connectivity to iPhone (s aapl) gaming, and has thus launched Plus+.

Plus+ is initially launching only on Star Defense, an update to which is now live in the App Store with the added features. You can sign up for an account from within Star Defense, and registration is relatively painless. Plus+ is also one way to test out push notifications, if you’re looking for more apps that can handle the new iPhone OS 3.0 feature. Read More about Plus+ Social Gaming Service for iPhone Launches

Apple Design Award 2009 Winners


Apple (s aapl) announced the winners of the 2009 Apple Design Awards last night at a special ceremony hosted by John Geleynse, director of Software Technology Evangelism, and Shann Pruden, senior director for Developer Relations. These awards are an annual affair to recognize “technical excellence, innovation, and outstanding achievement in iPhone and Mac software development.”

The depth and breadth of submissions has been accelerating, as interest in the Mac and iPhone has picked up over the last few years. As a point of comparison, the iPhone awards last year were handed out to early pre-release apps because the App Store had not even launched yet. There were about 1,700 web apps in Apple’s online directory, and this year there are over 4,000 web apps and more than 50,000 native apps available in the iTunes App Store.

Rather than being split out into categories for best game, best user experience, best application, and so on as has been the practice in past years, this year’s awards were simply organized into Mac and iPhone showcases. Here are the 2009 winners. Read More about Apple Design Award 2009 Winners

How To Make Money From iPhone Games

enigmoLast year, a small Mac game developer called Pangea Software ported one of its titles to Apple’s (s aapl) iPhone. Pangea’s Brian Greenstone didn’t expect to make much from the iPhone version of its arcade-style game Enigmo; he expected that the company might sell 10,000-20,000 units over its lifetime. It sold that amount in a single day, and from July 2008 to January 2009, it sold a total of 810,000 copies, earning a profit of $1.5 million, even after Apple took its 30 percent cut.

Numbers like that help explain the burst of iPhone game/entertainment news here at SXSW 2009, from location-aware fun apps to the Facebook Connect function linking iPhone apps to the social network. But there are also challenges. Those were analyzed at a Saturday SXSW panel featuring Greenstone and three other successful iPhone developers; here are my five favorite takeaways. Read More about How To Make Money From iPhone Games

Rolando: Taking iPhone Gaming to the Next Level

Rolando has arrived, amid murmurs that it may be the best game out for iPhone and touch.¬†And with compelling gameplay, awesome artwork and foot-tappingly funky music, it’s certainly my favorite game of the year.

Alongside being the season for frivolity and festivity, it’s that special time of year when the game industry ramps up the release schedule and hustles all the latest would-be hits out their studio doors and on to our computer and console screens.

Looks as good as it plays (cartoon finger not included)

Looks as good as it plays (cartoon finger not included)

This year, sat next to the DS and PSP, a new contender has joined the handheld race: with the iPhone being touted as a proper platform for gaming, the App Store is bursting at its digital-seams with fresh-faced gaming delights.

One of these bright young things to arrive at the App Store is Rolando, a puzzler-cum-platformer created by London-based game studio HandCircus. The publishers, ngmoco, seem to specialize in releasing weird, wonderful and compulsively fun gaming experiences: the kind of games which play just as good as they look, and they look appetite-whettingly delicious.
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