I finally joined the wonderful world of smartphones yesterday. I decided to ease into the trend with a Palm Pixi. I know what you’re thinking. No Droid? No iPhone? I love my Verizon service (no iPhone), and the DROID sitting at $199 was not an investment I felt like making right now. So the Palm Pixi it was. It doesn’t have the sheer number of apps available, nor the pure unadulterated technological strength of more expensive gadgets… but for a newbie to the whole scene? I’m definitely digging it. For the price, it’s a perfect starter kit and I’ll simply switch to the DROID next year on my upgrade date if the Pixi ends up not being enough for my tech-nerd ways.
I spent the better part of yesterday evening shopping the app store for the Palm OS, playing around with my long-dormant Twitter account, linking e-mail accounts to my phone, and testing its processing speed by seeing how many different apps it would let me run at once. Needless to say, I forgot to let the dogs out and wound up picking up little nugget-sized droppings around my office chair… as if they knew exactly the reason they weren’t being let outside and how to make sure their message got across.
I played around with a few of the free games available for the Palm, and while I wasn’t disappointed, considering the platform, I began to wonder just how much the trend in mobile gaming is going to affect us MMO gamers. We’ve already seen Blizzard release an app for their armory database, and Fallen Earth is next in line with a pretty handy little tool which will let you manage crafting queue and craft items, deal with the auction house, interact with clan members (via chat I’m assuming), view character profiles, and view the world map.
That right there is pretty much everything I’d want to do MMO-wise with my phone though. I can’t see ever really playing these games on the phone… the interface is just too limited. But then the same thing has been said about console MMOs and developers are finding new ways to break down that barrier all the time. When I think about some of my go-to MMOs (WAR, Champions, PotBS, and LotRO at the moment) I have trouble thinking of anything I’d really need to do in the game from my phone. But when I start to ponder it, watching the status of the capital cities for WAR in semi-real time, or the contention status of different ports in PotBS would become a pretty addictive practice. Being able to play the auction house from my phone would also be extremely enticing.
I’m the kind of player who doesn’t really use the AH that much in most games because I’m usually too busy adventuring and with precious little time I don’t want to spend it filtering through the thousands of items on offer. But if I was given the chance to do my bidding and selling from the office on my phone? Or during a long queue at whatever store I’m at? I’d jump on the opportunity to flex my under-selling prowess.
A twittering friend of mind recently posted that it’s an amazing world we live in when you can upgrade your DSL service with a tweet, and I’d have to agree. Our phones aren’t just for calling anymore. In fact I barely use mine for calling at all. I’m nearly out of battery life today already because I’ve been using it to stalk people on Facebook and look at ridiculous videos on Youtube instead. But will our phones ever be used for more “hardcore” gaming than Plants vs. Zombies? And if so, how will that look? MMOs are very much akin to graphical representations of spreadsheets as it is, but how could the action and actual exploration ever translate? And do we need it to?
All it will take is some clever developer to make us all into believers. But for now, I’ll just look forward to making my virtual fortune from my phone. Or losing it all. Probably the latter. I’m too impatient to be auction house rich.