When the iPhone launched, there were two types of developer.
There were those who immediately got it, and leaped into creating apps. And there were those who weren’t convinced by it, and preferred to wait until the apps market was established by others before taking it seriously.
The same thing happened when the iPad launched just over a year ago.
There’s nothing wrong with being risk-averse. Most traditional gaming companies have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, and their shareholders would probably expect nothing less.
But those who jumped in feet-first found a willing market of purchasers who wanted to buy software for their shiny new devices.
Some of those visionary developers have created the kind of software that defines the device for their users, and have been able to create viable businesses out of hobbyist gaming.
There are clear advantages to being among the first developers on a platform, as long as the platform does take off as expected.
So will you be among the first to adopt MeeGo, or will you wait and see?
If you haven’t heard of it, MeeGo is an open source operating system based on Linux, which is being supported by Intel, Orange, Toshiba, Acer, Asus, AMD, Texas Instruments, Sprint, and Telecom Italia, among others.
The idea is that the same underlying operating system can be used across a wide range of devices, starting with netbooks and tablets, and extending to include smart TV, smartphones and in-vehicle infotainment, among other platforms.
Because it’s a truly open system, it can be deployed on pretty much any device.
You might think we don’t need another OS but when you see it in action, it makes sense. The tablet user experience, for example, provides an interface that brings together updates from different apps and social networks and publishes them on the home screen, sorted by category.
Instead of having to go into apps to see what’s going on, you can use the home screen to find out which apps you should be starting. The user interface will differ according to the platform, but having the same core operating system will bring portability to apps across platforms that we’ve never seen before.
The same game could run on a phone, netbook and smart TV, with perhaps some reskinning to take account of the different input devices and screen resolutions.
So, then the question is: will MeeGo be used by gamers? The answer must be “yes”. One thing we’ve learned over the last few years is that people like to play games on all kinds of devices. Nobody buys a phone or tablet mainly because of the games, but everyone plays games on them.
Casual games are big business, and in the future, people might well want to check up on their virtual crops or ace another level of a puzzle game while in front of the TV or in the passenger seat of the car. If the same game will run across all their devices, even better.
There are already MeeGo netbooks and tablets on the market, and the infrastructure for selling MeeGo apps is already in place.