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MWC 2010: Fishlabs - 'iPhone is now our lowest common denominator device'

MWC 2010: Fishlabs - 'iPhone is now our lowest common denominator device'
Fishlabs CEO Michael Schade is a mischievous fellow.

That's why he comes out with statements like, "The iPhone is now our lowest common denominator device."

The fun is its double meaning: that the device once viewed as the top-end has had its position reversed in terms of technical performance thanks to the rise of smartphones such as Google's Nexus One, Sony Ericsson's Satio, and Samsung's bada.

The reason Schade is happy to make the statement, however, is the implications it has for developers of high-end games. Whereas in 2009, their only option was to make such high-end games for iPhone, now there's a fast growing market of users with more powerful devices.

"It used to be that the Nokia Series 40 was the lowest common denominator device," Schade explains. "It's great that it's now the iPhone, both in terms of the volume of phones available and their technical capabilities."

He also points out that for those developers who can handle cross-platform development, this situation doesn't necessarily mean massive amounts of fragmentation either.

"Most of the time, if the device supports OpenGL ES 1.1, the operating system doesn't matter," he says. "And when you take this into account, we'll soon be looking at a market for our games of between 200 and 300 million smartphones."

Of course, it does have implications for the budgets of 3D games that will look good on these devices. For example Fishlabs is already working on a game that will take over 12 months to complete.

"We're planning on one hero title per year," Schade reveals. "There's something I would love to talk about, but we're not going to be releasing it until the summer 2011, so I'm keeping quiet. It will be console quality though."

Not that Fishlabs doesn't have plenty of other stuff to talk about.

Despite racking up over 10 million downloads, its free iPhone Waterslide games for Barclaycard is still being downloaded over 50,000 times per day, while a new free rally-based game for an as-yet unnamed car manufacturer is due in April.

Throw in the company's plans for iPad, and that's plenty to be getting on with.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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