Thoughts on iPad Gaming

By Mike on 5:43 pm

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It's here! The iPad is finally out. Well in the United States anyway. Everyone else will have to wait a little while longer.

It's not wrong to call the iPad a giant iPod Touch. After all, it does pretty much the same thing. The iPhone and iTouch are rapidly becoming viable competitors in the portable gaming market. Mostly due to the greater variety of low cost titles and instant gratification of the App Store. So what about the iPad? Should gamers be interested in it?

From a technical standpoint, it could shape up to be the most powerful mobile gaming platform of this generation. It's beefy 1ghz Apple A4 processor and 512mb DDR far exceeds the specs of the DSi and PSP. However, it still retains the GPU used in the iPhone 3GS, limiting graphics capabilities.

Several reviewers have already taken a look at its gaming abilities. Kotaku praised it's responsive controls and support from major developers. There's a lot of high praise for the device out there. To get a more down to Earth idea of how games will work out on it, we have to look at it's smaller cousins.

So far, the iPhone has attracted mainly cheap, short, low cost titles. The platform also has an obscene amount of shovelware. Developer support while there has always been weak at best. EA has been churning out some decent titles here and there. However, most are fairly limited. The iPhone's version of Rock Band for example is nowhere near the quality of the PSP version. At $6.99 you can't really complain. The games really haven't improved much over the years. The iPhone attracts simplistic, casual titles. The kinds of games for people who don't play games.

We can expect the same from the iPad. Games are expected to cost more but I wouldn't expect them to be better either. Don't expect complex, in depth games arriving on the platform anytime soon. The high cost of the platform itself is also a deterrent. I wouldn't recommend spending $500 on something you'll only play games on.

That doesn't mean the iPad is doomed. It has a lot of potential as a gaming device, should developers take advantage of it. The platform would be ideal for point-and-click style PC games such as real-time strategy, SRPG, city building simulation, and adventure titles. Genres that have seen a revival of sorts on other systems. iPad developers just have to realize what it is. It's not an arcade system or a console. Its gaming style is closer to PC than it is to an Xbox.

I expect interesting things to come, but gamers should take a wait and see approach.

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