Dreamsky Technology’s recently released app, iGameDock, is an interesting new concept in “X-in-1” apps. The way it works is as follows…you purchase the app for 99¢ and from within the app, you get access to the FULL versions of 3 games. Right now these are Particle Wars, Doodle LeftorRight and Electron Zero. Notice I said “right now” that’s because iGameDock works almost like a magazine subscription or “rental” service where the games will automatically change every 2 weeks at no additional cost to the user. Dubbing it as a “Cross-Mobile Social Gaming Discovery Platform”, Dreamsky hopes that iGameDock will expose gamers to new titles and help them discover games they may have otherwise missed.
The idea is both simple and brilliant, and I see this is as a win/win for both player and developer alike. Many people tend to buy a game, play it for a couple weeks (or less) and then move onto the next one. iGameDock allows you to continue to do this, but for just a single one-time 99¢ fee, potentially saving you some money. Plus, you get to play the FULL version of the game, not some limited or watered-down lite version. The obvious downside to players being that if you really like a game, you’ll only have access to it for a couple of weeks, but Dreamsky does provide you with links to purchase the game as a separate app if you want to keep it forever (as well as links to other free titles). On the flip side, this is also a very good deal for developers. iGameDock opens up a great avenue for the game development community to allow players to experience the full version of their games, without cannibalizing potential sales since the player doesn’t actually own the title and only has access to it via iGameDock for a limited time.
Are the games any good?
Okay, so over time, you’ll get a lot of games for your 99¢, but are they any good? If the initial offering is any indication of future titles, then you are likely to get a mixed bag (but so far more good than bad) as Dreamsky attempts to appeal to a broad demographic of players. Let’s take a closer look at the titles:
Doodle LeftorRight is a bit of a novelty throw-away game that I don’t see having much longevity (hey its gone in two weeks anyways rigjht?) where you are shown a picture of a human hand closed or with various fingers extended and you must identify it as being either the left or right hand as quickly as possible.
Electron Zero is a fun, futuristic memory game where you are shown a series of neon-looking electrons moving across the screen and you must re-trace their path with your finger. The quicker you are, the more bonus points you earn. Each round more electrons are added to the sequence, forcing you to remember longer and longer paths.
Particle Wars is a solid dual-stick shooter with bright Geometry Wars-style graphics. With 12 stages, loads of characters and and upgradeable weapons. It alone, makes iGameDock worth the price of admission.
All three of the games are Scoreloop-enabled titles, so it’s possible that the only games that will be included are those using Scoreloop, but while its not my favorite of the iPhone social networking platforms it does have a decent adoption rate with some nice titles. I’m not sure how/if Apple’s GameCenter will effect iGameDock’s future offerings.
iGameDock is a great concept which will give players access to a seemingly never ending and always evolving list of games. The key to its success and longevity hinges Dreamsky’s ability to keep the quality of the included titles high and fresh and not resort to filling it with shovel-ware. I gave this a “GOOD” ranking for now until I see the next batch of titles, but I’m excited about iGameDock’s potential. In my conversations with the developer it sounds like they are actively seeking out partnerships with new developers to bring their games to iGameDock. I’d really love to see iGameDock get some exclusive titles BEFORE they are separately available on the App Store, allowing developers to build hype for their upcoming releases.