Japanese mobile games portal DeNA announced today it’s bringing the popular iPhone game Infinity Blade, one of the first mobile games geared toward hardcore gamers, to its mobile social network.
The game will be marketed as Infinity Blade X for Mobage. It will be free to play and supported by selling virtual goods in the game. Players can spend real-world dollars to buy better weapons, armor and spells that will help them progress through the game more quickly.
Infinity Blade broke through a lot of the boundaries for graphics on a smartphone. It was one of the first games to show that the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 could compete as gaming platform with devices that build specifically for gaming. Infinity Blade on the iPhone 4 actually looks a touch better than the graphics available on the PlayStation Portable, Sony’s handheld video game console, and much better than those on the Nintendo DS.
The game puts players in control of a man on a mission to destroy the “God-King,” a hyper-powerful knight that kicks your ass the first time you play the game. The player controls the game by swiping their finger to swing their sword and tapping the screen to dodge attacks and bring up their shield. Over time the player becomes more powerful and gets access to better equipment — like new spells, swords and shields.
Infinity Blade was a commercial success for Epic Games, the company behind the game, and brought in more than $10 million in revenue. That’s pretty impressive given that the game costs $6 on the Apple App Store. Epic Games is known for games that push the limits of graphics on devices like its over-the-shoulder shooting game series Gears of War.
Mobage has around 28 million users and carries more than 1,000 games for smartphones, tablets and feature phones. By contrast, Zynga is the king of Facebook games and has barely started operations in the fast-growing mobile social game market in Japan. In a direct challenge to DeNA, Zynga launched a joint venture in Japan with SoftBank last year to build games for the Japanese market. DeNA has been growing at a blistering pace and could be on track to unseat Zynga as the top developer of social games for mobile devices.