How would you react if someone said you could play the latest, most sophisticated PC games on your boring old mobile phone, simply by opening a browser? Skeptical smirk? Tears of joy? It's the promise of OTOY, a server-based screen-telegraphing technology that some are calling a "quantum leap in gaming possibilities."
You install nothing. Just point your phone's browser at the appropriate OTOY server, which handles all the heavy lifting, and bam, there's you, propped in bed at three in the morning, furiously tapping your glittering slice of wallet-sized "whoa!" as your World of Warcraft raid slips into its third consecutive hour.
But wait. Hold up. Aren't we missing something here? PC games on a phone? Hello? Anyone's form-factor klaxons even faintly chirping?
The issues OTOY raises isn't whether you'll be able to play Crysis or Left 4 Dead on your mobile--it's the real deal, and you'll be able to soon--the question is, would you really want to?
Pocket Gamer thinks so. In fact they're positively ebullient. "This could also open for all new [sic] market for PC game developers who could sell the exact same game to both desktop players and mobile gamers," they write. Developers could sell the exact same game? Far Cry 2 and Prototype on a Nokia? Mirror's Edge and Fallout 3 on an iPhone?
Something's not translating here. You're saying I'm supposed to take PC Game X designed specifically for high-resolution display technology and a keyboard/mouse, and keep playing it with the same rules and interface regulations in a 3.5" 480 x 320 pixel display space?
There's a YouTube video of David Lynch talking about phones and movies. Maybe you've seen it. It's rather amusing and worth a look (thought not entirely work-safe, fair warning). Here's what he says, as Apple's trademark jingle dings along.
Now if you're playing the movie on a telephone, you will never in a trillion years experience the film. You'll think you have experienced it, but you'll be cheated. It's such a sadness that you think you've seen a film on your ****ing telephone. Get real.
I'm not a Lynch evangelist here--I'm perfectly fine watching bubble gum like Spider-Man 3 or Indiana Jones 4 in tiny-vision--but the bottom line's ineluctable. Some films were never meant to fit in your pocket. Never were, never will be. Same goes for a whole swathe of PC games.
Have a look at OTOY in action and judge for yourself (the fellow here's using a gamepad to drive things, which isn't cheating so much as hilariously clunky). Some see "the future of gaming" in this. I see the future of ophthalmology subsidies.
To be fair, just because OTOY can, doesn't mean OTOY will. While the novelty of running Crysis 2 or Alan Wake on your iPhone without a mobile interface redesign might convince a few high priests of geek to fire it up just because, I'm thinking more Minesweeper, Solitaire (or games designed--or redesigned--specifically for OTOY).
How about you?
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