I'm still working my way through a virtual stack of iPhone and iPad games from the holiday season and yet more games are on the way.
The promise of new content via free updates has always been a good reason for keeping old games on an iDevice. In 2011 developers hope to push harder with even more compelling updates.
With so much money poured into games like Infinity Blade, developers want to get serious mileage out of their investment by drawing you back with updates.
It's going to be hard, though, as the number of killer games keeps growing. What do you prefer: returning to old games to enjoy updates or trying new games?
Zombie Infection 2 spreading to iPhone and iPad later this year
If you haven't heard, zombies are all the rage right now, which makes it only a matter of time until Gameloft releases a sequel to iPhone and iPad thriller Zombie Infection. Oh wait, it already has for J2ME handsets. It doesn't take much to connect the dots and assume an iOS version is coming later this year.
It makes perfect sense when you consider the iOS version of Zombie Infection was a remake of the original J2ME game. As such, the J2ME Zombie Infection 2 is surely a precursor to an iPhone and iPad edition in the months ahead. Given that zombie fever still grips the App Store, it's a sensible move.
Moreover, the critical praise lavished on the J2ME instalment of Zombie Infection 2 make it a promising prospect on iPhone. While there's much room for improvement with relation to the first game, this sequel could excel if the action and level design tightens up. We'll find out soon - expect an announcement around E3 in June.
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars coming to iPhone and iPad
With the successful debut of Traveller's Tales's LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 on iOS late last year, more LEGO love is on the way. LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars looks likely for an iPhone and iPad release shortly after the forthcoming console and handheld debut this spring.
The brick-busting adventure chronicles the new Clone Wars animated series with new levels, characters both familiar and fresh, and plenty of new features including touch controls tailored to iOS devices. Hopefully, the game packs a virtual analogue stick option right out of the gate, rather than introducing it as an option in a future update.
Traveller's Tales is taking iPhone and iPad seriously and we know from the great work LucasArts did with Monkey Island 2 Special Edition (hey, we're still waiting for that Grim Fandango remake) that iOS is a priority, so it's just a matter of time until an official announcement is made.
Infinity Blade updates planned for the next six months
After investing much time and money into action role-playing hit Infinity Blade, Epic Games and developer ChAIR have no intention of moving on soon. According to a source close to Epic Games, the company has plans for regular updates for the next six months.
In addition to the promised multiplayer update expected before the start of spring (February looks likely), new content - armour, weapons, rings, etc. - will be introduced in small updates through the summer months.
While these minor updates won't necessarily encourage new downloads, they are an attractive means of keeping those who already bought the game engaged. It also shows a commitment that few console publishers have demonstrated toward iOS games.
The regularity with which these updates will hit the App Store isn't clear: I'd estimate every 6-8 weeks, although until Epic Games and/or ChAIR make an announcement, we're left to speculate.