BB DevCon 11: PlayBook Android Player is an opportunity for experimentation but native is best says RIM's Alec Saunders

#bbdevcon Especially for high end gaming

BB DevCon 11: PlayBook Android Player is an opportunity for experimentation but native is best says RIM's Alec Saunders
With games being a surprisingly prominent element at BlackBerry DevCon 2011 in San Francisco, there was a good opportunity to find out more about RIM's take on the subject with a games panel talk.

Headed by RIM's VP, developer relations, Alec Saunders, other key execs included head of gaming, Anders Jeppsson, and VP, application platform & tools, Christopher Smith.

One question they got involved with was how important the PlayBook's ability to run Android apps and games would be in terms of broadening the game catalog.

New channel

In a previous session, it has been suggested that 65 percent of Android Gingerbread apps would work on PlayBook without any code changes, although it wasn't made clear how this related to games, which tend to be the most complex Android apps.

In response, Christopher Smith pointed to an Android 3D pool game that was demonstrated in yesterday's opening keynote as proof that high quality Android games would run on PlayBook with good performance.

However, with RIM focused on its just released Native SDK for PlayBook, he stated, "We trust developers to pick the right technology.

"For these high-end games, you're looking to squeeze out the most performance possible".

Anders Jeppsson, added, "Using the Native SDK will be a key driver in terms of monetisation and discovery."

Alec Saunders summed up RIM's philosophy, saying "I think the Android Player will be a good way for some developers to experiment with PlayBook, but there's no doubt in my mind that an Android game or app will be at a disadvantage compared to a native game".

The EA way

Also on the panel where representatives from middleware companies such as Unity and Marmalade, who have been prominent at the show, as they're enabling dozens of existing iOS and Android titles to be quickly ported to BlackBerry's BBX OS.

Eric Wood, EA's director of OEM and new platforms for Americas was on hand too.

He was asked about company's experiences on PlayBook so far - it's released three downloadable games and two embedded on the device - most notably the performance of Dead Space, released for $9.99.

Although cautious about giving away too much information, he said, "We've had no negative feedback to our games' pricing on PlayBook. There are certainly consumers who are happy to spend money on the platform."

No one was willing to comment on just how many consumers there are, although rumours suggest PlayBook has sold more units than then oft-mentioned sub-million figure long banded around.
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at 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.