Interview

iOS 5 a far bigger leap for developers than any Android update, claims Bolt Creative CEO Castelnuovo

iOS 5 a far bigger leap for developers than any Android update, claims Bolt Creative CEO Castelnuovo
Sampling the interviews on these very pages, it'd be easy to get the impression developers are never happy.

Ask someone working on iOS, for instance, what innovations they'd like to see on the platform, and they'll likely come up with a list as long as their arm – some born out of wants and desires they have for their own titles, and others stemming from day to day usage like the rest of us.

Not so Dave Castelnuovo. The CEO of Bolt Creative – the studio behind the multi-million selling Pocket God – might like to see the odd improvement here and there, but in his view, iOS 5 is not only the biggest update to its platform its ever rolled out, but also puts supposedly similar sized updates to rival Android in the shade.

We caught up with Dave to see how he thinks iOS 5's upgrades will impact on games both new and old.

PocketGamer: The update to Game Center looks set to import more Xbox Live-style features. How do you think this will increase user engagement?

Dave Castelnuovo: Definitely. Being able to personalise your profile and getting access to a wider group of people to play with - friends of friends, for instance - will make it feel like players are part of a bigger community.

There will always be a reason to come back and spend more time with your favourite games.

How do you think its game recommendations will change the promotional opportunities open to you?

I think game recommendations will increase visibility for many apps, but I don't think it will have a huge impact on sales.

The feature that I am excited about is being able to invite a user to play multiplayer Battle of the Gods. They will get an alert that their friend wants to play them and will be forwarded automatically to the app store to buy Pocket God if they don’t already have it.

Given AirPlay Mirroring requires Apple TV to function, do you see it playing a major role in releases on iOS 5, or is it a first step towards acclimatising iOS users to TV-based play?

I think it’s a first but important step.

Apple still maintains that Apple TV is a hobby for them, but I feel sooner or later they will do a big push around it once they have all their ducks in a row.

Once this technology becomes perfected, I think this is where iOS starts to become a real console killer.

Do you plan to work support for iCloud into past releases?

iCloud will become a standard feature across all iOS games, new and old. In fact, I’m sure that in the next few months, developers will start seeing bad reviews if they haven’t incorporated it yet.

iOS is an ecosystem made of multiple types of devices. If you have iPad and an iPhone, it’s only natural that you would want to maintain your progress in a game across both devices.

Is there anything missing from iOS 5 from a game development perspective?

I think it would be an insult to the devs at Apple to say that something is missing. iOS 5 is probably the biggest update to the platform so far, and this update is much larger than what Google can add to Android in the same amount of time.

Of course, there are features that could be added. I would love to see a way to flag my favourite games, or even be able to categorise them and share lists of my favourite shooters, RPGs, or favourite developers with my friends.

I constantly have to delete old games from my iPad because it runs out of memory, sometimes I have to delete games that I like but I just don’t use very often.

I would love to be able to mark those games and easily restore them with their save data intact if I feel like playing them a year from now.
Thanks to Dave for his time.

You can find out more about Bolt Creative on the studio's website.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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