What The New iPhone Could Mean For Gaming

The new iPhone 4 that our colleagues at Gizmodo have been showing the world adds a second camera to what is one of the world's fastest-growing gaming platforms. Think a second camera could change iPhone gaming?

The addition of a front-facing camera makes the iPhone that much closer to a Nintendo DSi, the latest in two portable product lines with increasingly similar feature sets.

Before the DSi, the hugely popular Nintendo DS line had no cameras, just two screens, a bottom touch screen and buttons. With the DSi, which launched in the U.S. a year ago, cameras were added. One on the back of the system for snapping photos in the manner of a traditional camera. And one on the front so you could take a picture of yourself and do this to it:

What The New iPhone Could Mean For Gaming

The new iPhone, based on the damn-near-store-ready prototype Gizmodo has their hands on sports the iPhone's familiar (though now-larger) rear-facing camera. But it also has a front-facing camera, the most obvious functionality change of the new device.

Users of the iPhone 4, if that's what this thing is and what it will be called, will have what DSi owners have: A camera facing away from them and a camera facing them.

Non-gaming-minded people may believe that the new iPhone front-facing camera would best be used for video-chatting.

Gaming suggests some other options:

1) Put Your Face In Games

EA let gamers add their mugs to a Mario-style side-scrolling platformer on the DSi with Foto Face. Maybe it makes the game more fun? It least makes the lead character look more like you.

So maybe the next Doodlejump doesn't star that long-nosed... thing... maybe it stars you!


2) Add Head-Tracking

Researcher Johnny Lee became an Internet sensation a few years ago when he showed how a Wii Remote mounted on top of your head, pointed at a TV, could enable head-tracking — the ability for a player to lean and see "around" something. Really magical stuff.

But without Apple releasing a Wii Remote to put on your head, how about going with the more primitive Sony PlayStation Eye-style head-tracking that only needs a camera pointed at the player?

Click to view

Imagine being able to lean your way through 3D games on the iPhone (as you lament the DSi not already offering such a feature).

3) Do the Wario

A year ago, Nintendo showed off WarioWare Snapped, a game that detected a gamer's motions, letting them control games, hands-free. This is a bit of an odd concept, as it requires you to take your hands off the portable device, but not always. Games can be programmed to look for head movement and let the wobbles of your cranium manipulate an object on-screen. The iPhone 4's front-facing camera could do this too.

4) Let Things Get Dirtier

Uh, someone could make an iPhone version of Uno with camera support, but that could lead to all kinds of trouble. If Apple wants a game that allows gamers to expose themselves to the world, the new iPhone will do the trick.

We don't make games for a living, just write about them. Tell us your ideas from what the new front-facing iPhone camera could do for gaming on the system.

For more iPhone/iPod/iPad gaming coverage from Kotaku check out our guide of essential iPhone games plus the highs and lows of the iPad. (And, if you haven't already, check out Gizmodo's exclusive blow-out on the New iPhone.)