Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That’s a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it’s not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple’s new smartphone.
On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.
2008 – The Beginning of the Beginning
The App Store’s first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.
Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn’t make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn’t as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.
At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that “mobile” didn’t have to equal “mediocre.” Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.
2009 – Moving Right Along
The following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple’s digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.
Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean “an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms.” And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.
So many of the App Store’s most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers’ minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples’ free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on May 21st, 2013 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Pocket Gamer reports that Street Fighter IV is currently available to download for only $0.99 cents as part of Capcom’s summer kickoff sale. The brawler features 14 characters with 11 different environments and an arcade mode to fight in head-to-head battles with your friends via Bluetooth.
It’s tough to really pin down the goings-on in fighting games. Story isn’t a particularly big focus most of the time and can lead to all kinds of weird stuff. An evil dictator bent on world domination creating a female clone of himself is just one example. Suffice it to say, so long as there’s a reason for wacky folks to fight the hows and whys don’t matter so much. As is the case with Street Fighter. Ignoring the nitty gritty the important thing to understand here is that Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, and the rest have gathered once again to beat the snot out of each other for their own personal reasons. And our amusement, of course.
The Gameplay Street Fighter IV Volt (and by extension the original iOS release) had one major hurdle to overcome: controls. Virtual sticks and buttons just don’t compare to physical ones no matter how much someone might love their touch screen. Thankfully Capcom pulled them off quite well. While the overall action is a tad slower than most console offerings the fights are still frantic and movement is pretty tight. Whether it’s learning the ropes in Training, tackling the campaign, or taking on other players from across the globe in online matches there’s something for every kind of fighting aficionado. Having a roster of 22 playable characters is nice, too.
How does it Compare?
With practically an equivalent amount of content to its console counterpart and controls that aren’t a hindrance, Street Fighter IV Volt is as good as it gets on iOS. Aside from the concessions for controls and visuals (characters are no longer 3D, which affects the presentation and story segments) it’s pretty much the same game. It’s even got online multiplayer, which is something not even earlier Street Fighter console releases have sported until recently.
It’s not exactly 1:1, but Street Fighter IV Volt does a downright admirable job of giving iOS users a comparable experience to their console bretheren. It’s got the roster, the moves, the modes, and the multiplayer. What more could a fighting game lover on-the-go wish for?
*NOTE: “Console-quality” refers to the quality of the experience, not just the graphics. This is about the depth of gameplay, content, and in some cases how accurately it portrays the ideals of its console counterpart.*
Capcom confirms today that a new update for Street Fighter IV: Volt is available now on the App Store. In this new update, they’ve added Tournament Mode. As the name so cleverly implies, Tournament mode allows players to rank up alone or with friends via repeated wins in match play over WiFi. There is also an online community connected in the game, with leaderboards, tournament events, individual and team rankings and pages, as well as post-match analyses, allowing players to share recorded matches.
Volt is the same core game as the previous Street Fighter IV, with the addition of a multiplayer. Players fight on a 2D plane with some extra 3D camera work, working their way up to harder and harder opponents as they win more and more matches. The update addresses our original concern about pushing out “new” games instead of updating them. Looks like someone at Capcom is listening, yeah?
It seems like only yesterday that Capcom‘s “little fighter that could,” was announced to be coming to the iOS platform. Masses of gamers waited patiently to learn if Street Fighter IV was the portable combat experience that would prove the iPhone and iPod Touch to be viable for hardcore fans of the genre. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that not only did the game perform admirably, but it set the standard for how virtual joysticks should be implemented. Both far and wide, the game was praised for its high quality production values and emphasis on precision and detailed button interactions. This was the beginning of a new age for the Street Fighter franchise, and the first in a series of evolutions to the game on iOS.
Though later on the game was updated to include several new characters, including the likes of Cammy and E. Honda, there was always one piece of the puzzle that still seemed incomplete: multiplayer. Sure, there was a clumsy Bluetooth multiplayer mode, but nothing that could leverage the power of GameCenter. For this very reason, Capcom went back to the drawing board when it came to their netcode and are now proudly ready to unveil details about their next installment in the Street Fighter brand: Street Fighter IV: Volt.
The new game, which will unfortunately not be available as an update to the current Street Fighter title, will be the first of its kind to implement full GameCenter compatibility with friends lists, as well as a bevy of ranked matchmaking experiences. Further sweetening the collective pot is the introduction of four new combatants to the arena: Vega, Cody, Balrog, and a mystery character. Capcom’s representatives were coy when addressing questions about price point and launch window, only divulging that the game was aiming for a June or July launch. As soon as we have more details, rest assured that they will be found here on 148Apps.
Owners of the iOS edition of Street Fighter IV are in for a treat, as an upcoming update of the game will add Sagat to the ever-growing list of fighters on the roster. This comes after Capcom already added Zangief, Cammy, E. Honda and C. Viper, so the app version of the title is slowly adding nearly all the characters from the console editions of the game. At any rate, fear the Tiger Uppercut!
Also being included in the update is a new take on local matchmaking. Now, anytime two players who are running the game and have Bluetooth enabled get within broadcast proximity of one another the games will auto-connect in the name of some crazy multiplayer fighting. This automatic connection will make it easier for competitors to quickly jump into a match and get right down to the important stuff: beating the ever-loving snot out of one another until an iPhone is hurled in frustration.
We continue to be impressed by just how substantially Capcom has supported the iOS version of Street Figher IV in the months since its release. The parade of new characters has kept our interest level in the game quite high, and the constant addition of extra content and tweaking of modes makes the game hard to put down even after you think you’ve done it all. The strategy employed by Capcom shows us that they’re really taking mobile gaming seriously, and could easily emerge as one of the top studios in the mobile games space. We’re already extremely excited to see what they have in mind for other major franchises on iOS, because if past performance is any indication we’re in for a real treat. In the meantime, begin familiarizing yourself with Sagat’s moveset so that when the update launches you can pit him in a match against Ryu and get some sweet revenge for that scar across Sagat’s chest.
Yup, you read that headline right. Capcom has announced that Street Fighter IV is coming to the iPhone, and better yet, this won’t be some buggy port: IGN says that Capcom has spent months working on the iPhone version’s control scheme alone, and multiple configurations are said to be included. Also expect to see some familiar graphics, because visual assets will be drawn directly from current-generation games. While the characters will be scaled down, loss of detail should be minimal. This is the real deal, folks!
As for the fighters themselves, Capcom has yet to announce the entire roster. So far we know that Ryu and Ken will be present, as well as new fighters from Street Fighter IV and old favorites from past installments. Each character’s move set will also be complete, including their Ultra moves and all animations.
Good news comes as far as modes go, too: in addition to a training (“Dojo”) mode and tournament mode, Bluetooth-enabled multiplayer will also be included. Heck yes! Half the fun of Street Fighter has always come from pulverizing your friends, and it’s great to see it included here as well.
It definitely looks like Capcom is taking this release seriously, as they should. Street Fighter IV is much-loved and critically acclaimed, and Capcom can make the transition to the App Store successfully it’ll be a great showcase of the iPhone platform as well as the fighting series itself. Street Fighter IV is currently slated for a March release, and we’ll keep you updated in the coming weeks. Be sure to check out IGN’s gallery!