Apple’s iPhone, seen as a benchmark for other manufacturers, has GPS and many handsets have motion-sensing accelerometers, just like a Wii controller. Games studios are racing to exploit a new world of what is called “pervasive gaming”, where everyone carries a powerful gaming machine in their pocket.
The first wave of games are largely based on treasure hunts, with a phone guiding users through a set of waypoints to a particular goal.
Phones with GPS allow people to discover each other’s locations and meet physically as well as virtually. That kind of camaraderie will appeal to many. If the 3G mobile games are designed correctly, they will attract people who currently just mobile users and as the sometimes madcap physicality of Wii gaming has loosened inhibitions, social location-based gaming will do the same.
GPS gaming is likely to be the first application to introduce the masses to being connected digitally to their surroundings. The 14-to-19 age group will lead the way, because their social lives depend heavily on cellphones.
As soon as you get the link between texting, social networking and GPS-enabled devices, you are going to get something that takes off like wildfire among young people because their culture is already primed for it.