While we’re on the subject of the iTunes Store and the iPod, Apple’s new iPod games are yet another way to enjoy a video iPod. It’s actually a bit surprising that it’s taken Apple this long to capitalize on the idea of games for the iPod, considering that rudimentary games have been built into the iPod operating system since its initial release (although the original breakout iPod game was apparently an Easter egg hidden in the first iPod interface). At the moment, Apple is offering a small game selection that is a combination of classic arcade titles and common web-based games.
Although the $4.99 price tag might seem a bit steep, the games are actually very well designed, and it’s clear that a good deal of thought went into creating a good gaming experience. The process of purchasing and installing games on an iPod is the same as purchasing and syncing any other iTunes Store content. So far, Apple has given no indication whether it will open the gaming interface up to third-party developers (although it also seems clear that Apple worked with game developers to craft the current games). However, the games are stored as files with an .ipg extension in the same folder that houses your iTunes library, so it’s conceivable that someone will come up with a way to create third-party iPod games—with or without Apple’s support.