As the world economy continues to wane, family budgets are becoming ever tighter as the holidays draw near. The trend continues this year as it did last year, electronic sales are becoming the gifts of choice among young consumers, particularly gaming consoles such as the Sony Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and especially the Nintendo Wii. This year however, the expensive consoles will be selling less, despite the lowered prices that every product transitions to throughout its life cycle.
On the App Store, lies an Application called iFun, developed by Social Gaming Network. SGN has developed many games currently available on the App Store, including iGolf, iBowl and iBaseball. Limited not only to iPhone users, the company also develops many applications on Facebook, Bebo and Hi5.
Essentially, iFun is an application that acts like the “Wiimote” of a Nintendo Wii, in order to control games on your computer. Both devices use accelerometers to control axis of movement so theoretically, they can operate in the same manner (i.e. swinging a baseball bat, or a golf club). SGN currently has only one game that supports this, iGolf. However, others have been planned to be released shortly. This game is 100% web based and therefore is compatible on all operating systems.
Similar to the Wii, you may use the motion of your iPhone or iPod touch to “swing” at a golf ball on screen. The golf ball’s trajectory is then influenced by how hard it is hit, what type of club is used, current wind speed and wind direction. The data from your device is then sent over Wi-Fi or over the cell network, to the game server that applies the data received, into the game. Clubs, direction and syncing can all be controlled by the phone itself, or on your computer. There are 9 courses to initially choose from, but “cash” rewards can be won in game and used to unlock premium, more difficult courses. Additionally, you can play over the internet with another iPhone user.
On the downside, the interface is a bit crude and the graphics are far less than stellar, which could resemble those of a Nintendo DS. Also, communication between the device and your computer seems to be quite delayed over the cell network.
Social Gaming Network CEO Shervin Pishevar said that the company is currently “lining up advertisers” and is interested in turning iFun into a platform for external developers to create their own games. The Social Gaming Network raised a $15 million investment round last spring, followed by more funding from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ venture firm. iFun is also set to expand to other devices that have accelerometers, such as the T-mobile G1.
Although iFun is not nearly a Wii replacement, it allows for a good party game that can be shared with friends for no charge. iFun is now available on the App Store for free, with no additional fees required to play online.