Interview

People shouldn't expect new product categories from Apple every time: Ben Cousins talks iPhone 5S

People shouldn't expect new product categories from Apple every time: Ben Cousins talks iPhone 5S
The unveiling of Apple's latest iPhone iterations this week was a curious event.

On one hand, Apple delivered exactly what those in the know were expecting - a 'budget' iPhone as well as a successor to iPhone 5 - but it left many questions unanswered, such as just what a 64-bit smartphone means for mobile gaming.

As the dust settles and the lust for a shiny gold iPhone builds, we caught up with DeNA's head of European game studios, Ben Cousins, to get his take on what the new iPhones mean for gaming on the App Store and beyond.

Pocket Gamer: It seems like the event was a by-the-numbers reveal of a lot of rumours. Were there any real surprises from Apple?

Ben Cousins: The specifics of the performance increase for the 5S were certainly a surprise for me.

Nowadays we get lots of leaks of hardware design, but hardware performance and software related stuff is harder to leak. I'm amazed they are still able to keep up the extremely rapid increases in CPU/GPU power with every product cycle.

The iPhone 5 is a total monster - easily the best performing platform for The Drowning from a frame rate point-of-view. If the benchmarks are to be believed, the 5S is pretty much everything you need to do any genre justice in mobile gaming.


The Drowning

I find it odd that people expect a complete new device category from Apple at every event.

The iPod was 2001, the iPhone 2007 and the iPad 2010. One might argue that the iPad and iPhone are essentially the same innovation, just with different applications.

I think it could be reasonable to wait another couple of years for a complete new product category. Until that point, I feel that it's really unwise to make any judgments about the overall trajectory of the company.

Many people expected the iPhone 5C to be priced a bit lower - what do you think Apple's strategy is for the 5C and who is its target market?

Experience tells me it's way easier to start with a higher price and reduce, than with a lower one and increase.

I believe the 5C pricing will drop quite severely over time. The target market is clearly one looking for the best device in that particular pricing slot.

Do you think that Apple brought anything particularly new to the gaming table with the iPhone 5C and 5S?

iOS 7 has lots of new gaming features, including the much-talked-about MFI controller support. The raw power of the 5S is going to be mostly noticed in game apps.Infinity Blade III showed off the iPhone 5S's improved 3D graphic rendering quite nicely.

Do you think most developers will take advantage of the improved hardware?

There are thousands of developers out there - many of whom we don't really know about - and I don't believe that most of them ever really take advantage of the highest end devices. Our team certainly always tries to do this.



It'll be interesting to see if we can get a solid 60fps for our games on the 5S. Being in the action genre, this would certainly be a noticeable improvement for gamers.

Do you think the M7 motion co-processor has many gaming applications, or will it see more use for fitness and navigational apps?

I'm sure some developers will use it.

Like any new sensor - it takes an amazing developer or a lucky developer to really unlock the potential. It will be interesting to see if that innovation equals a big hit.
Thanks to Ben for his time.

US Correspondent

Representing the former colonies, Matt keeps the Pocket Gamer news feed updated when sleepy Europeans are sleeping. As a frustrated journalist, diehard gamer and recovering MMO addict, this is pretty much his dream job.

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