With the introduction of paid applications in the Android Market, a wave of high-profile games may be coming to Google's mobile platform.
One of the appealing features of the T-Mobile G1 is the ability to download new applications from the Android Market, but the market has been lacking in games because developers couldn't charge for their programs. But with the introduction of paid apps, Android users will be able to download high-profile games like "Guitar Hero World Tour."
The "Guitar Hero" series is already on a slate of Java-capable handsets, but the Android version will let gamers take advantage of the G1's touch screen to play the rhythm-based game. The game is available now, has 15 rock songs to jam along with, and enables multiplayer battles. "Guitar Hero" could just be the tip of the iceberg for Android, as there are already plans for games like "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," "Tetris," and "Monopoly" to find their way into the Android Market.
Games are becoming an increasingly important part of a mobile platform's appeal, and the market raked in nearly $4.5 billion last year. Games and entertainment applications are routinely the most-downloaded programs from Apple's App Store for the iPhone 3G and the iPod Touch.
For the moment, Apple has a few advantages over Android in the mobile gaming front. Apple has a larger audience with more than 15 million iPhone users, which is about 10 times the number of Android users. But there are multiple Android-powered handsets expected on various carriers this year, which could help bridge that gap.
Apple's main advantage may be that the App Store's payment system is tied to the iTunes ecosystem, which is already linked to tens of millions of credit cards. The Android Market is using Google Checkout, and it has yet to gain mass appeal.
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