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iPhone Turns Into Wii-Like Controller

With software from Social Gaming Network, players can turn an iPhone or iPod Touch into a motion controller for games on a PC screen.
Nintendo's Wii has been a tremendous hit since it was released two years, and it routinely dominates the sales charts. Despite rivals PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 having superior graphics, Nintendo's console has been successful because of its focus on the casual audience and the motion-controlled gaming.

A video game company is trying to replicate some of that success with Apple's iPhone 3G. Social Gaming Network will release a suite of PC games that enable the player to use the iPhone or iPod touch as a Wii-like controller.

The first game is iFun Golf, and it lets players use the accelerometers in the handset to mimic a golf club. In order to work, the user would have to download the game to the smartphone from Apple's App Store. The player then logs in to the game in a Web browser on a home computer and runs the app on the handset.

If you're on the same network -- via Wi-Fi or 3G -- the two programs will sync, and the player can swing away with the smartphone. The golf swings with the iPhone will then be translated to the game on the computer's monitor. SGN said it has been able to minimize the latency, but there will probably be a slight delay when using cellular networks.

Users can play in real time against friends, and the company said it will expand the lineup of games to include baseball and other sports. SGN said it will offer support in the future for other phones that have accelerometers, like T-Mobile's G1.

Video games routinely dominate the paid application sales chart for the App Store, and many developers have been drawn to the iPhone and iPod Touch because of the graphics capability, strong processor, motion control, and touch controls. Some have speculated that the devices could become viable gaming platforms that challenge Nintendo's DS and Sony's PlayStation Portable. Major game developers like Electronics Arts, Sega, and THQ have already released high-profile games for Apple's devices.