Today marks another milestone, as Electronic Arts releases Dead Space for iPhone and iPad, in conjunction with the launch of Dead Space 2 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Windows.
That alone wouldn’t be a big deal, except that EA isn’t releasing a portable version of Dead Space for Nintendo DS or Sony’s PSP — more evidence that the iPhone and iPad are not only capable of providing weighty video games to hardcore players, they’re also better for business.
To be fair, this isn’t the first time a major publisher has released a high-profile iOS game in lieu of supporting the Nintendo DS or PSP. Capcom, for example, trimmed down Resident Evil 4 and Street Fighter IV to fit on the iPhone without doing the same for other handhelds, and EA released a Mass Effect spin-off that was only available for iOS.
Dead Space for iOS is different because it’s launching at the same time as Dead Space 2, as you might expect from a PSP or Nintendo DS port. It’s meant to be a companion game (or as Joystiq puts it, “Dead Space when you can’t play Dead Space) rather than an afterthought, and it’s supposedly quite good. EA’s Mass Effect port, by comparison, was roundly panned, even by the people who made it.
The strategy appears to be paying off so far. Dead Space is, at present, the third highest-grossing app on the iPhone charts with a price of $7, and the $10 iPad version is in eighth place. I expect EA to continue this strategy while relegating Nintendo’s and Sony’s platforms to the backseat.