updated 01:55 pm EDT, Fri October 15, 2010
RIM accused of neglecting BlackBerry gaming
BlackBerry phones aren't even registering for game developers, an examination of the app community uncovered on Friday [sub. required]. Plants vs. Zombies developer PopCap said the BlackBerry simply wasn't being supported in its current form as it wasn't suitable compared to Android and iOS. Apart from a development environment that until recently was difficult to use, the smartphone platform has virtually no performance emphasis, as even the BlackBerry Torch uses a two-year-old Marvell processor.
"RIM today is not really on our radar," PopCap's mobile development lead Andrew Stein told the WSJ. "[BlackBerry phones are] not great gaming machines."
Gaming is expected to be much more important on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which RIM has promised will have a dual-core 1GHz processor and enough graphics performance to run modern mobile games. The gap has nonetheless been cited as a significant drawback in expanding BlackBerry App World, which only just passed 10,000 apps where Google is near 100,000 and Apple has passed 250,000. Gaming remains one of the largest single categories in the App Store.
BlackBerry development has faced other problems that were largely resolved with the App World 2.0 update and the development environment for BlackBerry 6 but which had already been implemented in Android and iOS, in some cases two years ago. Call logging developer Widality noted that, until RIM's new app strategy was unveiled, it had to not only create separate free and paid versions but charge a minimum $3 and ask users to pay through PayPal. App World 2.0 let companies charge the same 99-cent minimum as Apple and Google as well as pay with credit cards, which have been usable with iPhones since the App Store launched in July 2008.
RIM has gone on to create a formal environment for creating web-based apps and to shadow Apple's iAd and Google's AdMob with BlackBerry Ad Service to help finance free or low-cost apps.