I've blogged quite a bit about the impact of the iPhone on gaming. In my opinion, it's a good thing - fostering the kind of independent development we saw back in the days of the Commodore 64 and Apple II (funny how Apple was behind the first wave of game innovation too). Instead of needing $50 million and a team of dozens of programmers, two guys in a garage can code and distribute the next big thing on their own.
But for established publishers/developers, this kind of bottom-up revolution could be a killer. By porting their Triple-A titles to mobile platforms like the iPhone (in effort to cash in), they may actually be devaluing their content. This is something on the mind of game industry analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan, who tells Bonus Round that "the iPod touch is the most dangerous thing that ever happened to the publishers, ever, and they don’t get it for two reasons. One, if you put Madden on the iPod touch for $10, you just cheapen the value of Madden. Whether it’s the same experience or not, and it’s not, why would I ever spend $60 for Madden if I can get it for $10 on my iPod touch?”
David Kushner is the author of many books, including Masters of Doom, Jonny Magic & the Card Shark Kids, Levittown, The Bones of Marianna, and Alligator Candy. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, he has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine.