iPhone games for $1.19? Meet EA’s 8 lb Gorilla

Matt Peckham
14 July, 2009
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What’s about to make Apple’s iPhone quick and tiny and cheap all over? Electronic Arts, that’s what, with their maverick new micro-studio, cutely dubbed 8 lb Gorilla. The plan? 99-cent iPhone games to appear in pint-sized installments on a semi-monthly basis. App Store browsers at the ready?

It’s a simple, almost intrepid plan for a company of EA’s arguably cumbersome magnitude. Take bunch of developers in their twenties, firewall them from conventional corporate bureaucracy, then encourage them to hit the tarmac sprinting with no-frills, indie-flavored iPhone ideas. Assuming Apple’s App Store submission process doesn’t impede the process, the goal’s to iterate roughly one new release each month.

TouchArcade has a few notes up about the company’s debut title, a post-apocalyptic monster-masher called Zombies & Me. It sounds simple enough. You’re a guy (named Guy!) trying to protect your grandmother from zombies by leading them into giant yellow circles that denote pending missile strikes (rained down courtesy everyone’s favorite collateral pal, the military). As the game’s “panic level” increases, so too the skittering throngs of clutching, snatching, ghoul-green zombies.

Apple just celebrated its App Store’s one-year birthday, but Business Insider’s already dropping gauntlets, calling the iPhone “arguably the hottest gaming platform in the world.” That’s less hyperbolic than it sounds. According to BI, games dominate the App Store, tallying some 10,000 titles or a majority 18 percent of the biz. EA’s move into the 99-cent space therefore makes sound business sense. Their inclination to make that move contingent on a team of intentionally rogue developers designing indie-style games, on the other hand, verges on audacious.

They’ll need to be. Everyone’s hopping on the Apple’s $1.19 bandwagon. With these games percolating faster than air molecules in a wind tunnel, picking the One You Really Want To Play out of the crowd is going to be like trying to spot a friend in a full-packed concert stadium.

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