In case you haven't heard, iPhone and Facebook games are, like, huge. And whenever I am interviewed for an article or a website, or I get into a design discussion with a fellow gamedev, the question inevitably gets asked: "Dude, why don't you port your games to the iPhone or iPad or Facebook?"
It's a reasonable question. iPhone and iPad games are earning bagazillions of dollars. For some, anyway. But me? I have no intention on going there. At least not yet. There are several reasons for this, which essentially boil down to:
1 - I am not a programmer by trade. I muddle through by using middleware tools that are specifically geared to make my types of games (point-and-click adventure games) on the PC. There are no middleware tools for making these games on the iPhone.
2 - So there's no middleware. Why don't I go and make some? Well, yeah. I guess I could, but that would cost quite a bit of time, effort and money. Not only that, but once the tools are made we'd have to completely program the games from scratch, which would also take quite a bit of time, effort and money.
3 - Even assuming I could manage #2, I would have to sell the game for 99 cents after spending all that time, effort and money. Which is absurd.
4 - As I said a few posts ago, I am a coward. Even though I sell PC games, I earn enough to live on. It's asking a lot to risk everything for such an untested (for me ) market. I like being able to pay my mortgage and eat. I'd rather spend all that time, effort and money on something that's proven, rather than something I have no experience with.
5 - Couldn't I just make a small game to test the waters? See #1 and #2.
So that's the gist of it. It seems perfectly logical to me, but whenever I voice these reasons I am met with skeptical looks. Apparently I am crazy for not jumping on the bandwagon. Do iPhone games mean instant success? Certainly not. Unless you are Apple, or a major developer, or extremely (extremely!) lucky, it's a gamble like everything else.
True, the PC market has been neglected while major developers move onto greener pastures, but it certainly isn't dead. It's just hungry, and indies like us are in a good position to feed them. The iPhone market doesn't need our help. It is well-fed enough.