According to Fishlabs CEO Michael Schade.
Fishlabs CEO Michael Schade talked about the convergence between the mobile games and console markets today at the Develop conference in Brighton.
He started by giving some historical perspective, comparing mobile phones to vintage game platforms. So Snake on the Nokia 3110 can be compared to the Telstar console from the early 70s, and the Nokia 6100's colour Java games could be compared to the original NES console.
Pseudo-3D games on the Nokia 6230 weren't so far removed from the SNES console. "You can even argue the Nokia is a little bit better!" he said.
Schade compared the original PlayStation to the Sony Ericsson K700i, and the Xbox to the iPhone 3GS, Nexus One, Sony Ericsson Xperia 10, Nokia N900 and Samsung Wave.
"You could have a Halo kind of experience on the 3GS," he said. And finally, the Xbox 360, which Schade said doesn't have a mobile equivalent yet, but which may in time - "the iPad HD" - which he expects Apple to release next year.
Schade moved on to give some numbers, estimating that Apple will likely have sold 120 million iOS devices - iPhone, iPod touch and iPad - by the end of this year.
Which would be not too far behind the PS2's 140 million units - the most popular games console of all time. He said that Android will probably have 50 million devices in the market capable of running 3D games by the end of this year too, and a further 20 million Symbian devices.
Schade moved on to talk about Fishlabs' Galaxy on Fire game as an example of mobile game evolution. The Wing Commander-esque game was first released in 2005, with a sequel released in 2008 for Sony Ericsson's K800 handset. It was a J2ME file 1MB in size, designed for a screen resolution of 320x240 pixels.
"When we took this to iPhone, it was the first time we saw it running in 25-30 frames per second with a lot of polygons," he said. And Galaxy on Fire 2 will be released this September for iPhone, with a file size of 150MB taking advantage of OpenGL 1.1.
"The innovation cycle of smartphones is about 12-18 months, compared to 5-7 years on console," he said. So what about taking these high-res games from iPhone and iPad to PC and console, via digital download platforms like Steam and Xbox Live Arcade?
"I don't know if we sell this game through Steam if we can get enough downloads to justify the porting," he said. "As you can see, it's still not the same as a Triple-A [console] game. We will definitely try this out, but I'm not sure about the distribution channels though."
Will the increased complexity of new games generate enough new revenues to justify the increased development costs? "I hope it works otherwise we'll be in trouble!" he said.
Schade was also asked if Fishlabs thinks about the potential for reskinning its game engines when developing them - for example, it has reskinned its racing game engine for advergames for brands like Volkswagen. In other words, does the potential for reskinning mitigate the increased development costs?
"We do have some sport games now in our catalogue and in planning, so that's what we consider," he said. "If there's a natural way to include the brand, then it makes sense."
He admitted that a game like Galaxy On Fire 2 is a less obvious fit for an advergame, however.