What’s the deal with Palm Pre games?

iPhone-killer lacking iPhone-killing entertainment

What’s the deal with Palm Pre games?
It’s been a good week for Palm, with a genuine buzz around its new Pre smartphone backed up by positive initial reviews.

The jury’s still out on whether the device can turn Palm’s recently flagging fortunes around, but it appears to be making a decent start.

One thing’s bothering us though: where do games fit in?

Games are now a big selling point for Apple’s iPhone, having become the most popular category on its App Store. Games are also a growing priority on rival app stores like Android Market, BlackBerry App World and Ovi Store.

Yet the Pre, the most hyped handset of 2009 so far, has caused barely a whisper of excitement around its gaming capabilities.

All we've heard from Palm was a declaration in March that the first version of the Pre would "focus on casual games like sudoku, not 3D gaming".

Since then, nothing. And all the while, games developers have been buzzing about their innovative ideas for iPhone, and to a lesser extent the other platforms.

One reason for the quietness around the Pre launch, when it comes to games and apps, is that Palm isn't going gangbusters on the application strategy for its device.

Its app store, the App Catalog, is apparently in beta at launch, with only a dozen apps available. Meanwhile, most games developers are still waiting to get the Pre's SDK.

The lack of games doesn't seem to be denting the excitement around the Pre's launch, but it seems a missed opportunity nonetheless. Not least because games and Palm go back a long way - some of the first ever mobile application stores were focused on Palm PDAs, and games were always a popular category.

Hopefully, once the Pre is launched, Palm will turn its attention to ensuring this is the case for its new smartphone too.

But given the lag between SDK distribution and game releases, it seems eager launch-day Pre buyers will have to wait a few months to get their game on.

Contributing Editor

Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)