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Apple’s new big thing: iPad games? January 29, 2010

Posted by Cesar in gaming me.
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Let’s face it: the iPhone hardware is nothing special.

In Brazil, it took us a while to get it and I only understood its success when I saw the App Store. Their slogan, “there’s an app for that”, is the key to the iPhone popularity. Apple made the App Store very accessible and pushed it really hard. As a result, the flood of applications made the iPhone an awesome device, much better than other phones/smart-phones with better hardware but far less software.

This Wednesday Apple unveiled their new product, the iPad. The iPad is a tablet and Apple expects to have with it the same success the iPhone had. Many predicted the same software based strategy would be used for the new device. And while there’s certainly competition, mostly with Windows based tablet PCs, I suspect a strong application base will make Apple prevail.

It is so much easier to find a bunch of applications you want, go to a store and say “I want an iPad”. The alternative is to find a bunch of Windows apps you want, research which tablet best suits your needs (RAM, HD, processor speed, screen size, video card, …), try to find a store that sells it and hope everything runs. And you will probably leave the store with the certainty that you didn’t make the best possible choice. Check this great video on TED. You’ll see what I am talking about (boy, this video deserves its own post. But don’t wait, watch it now).

But I digress. I want to talk about the impacts of the iPad in the games industry. So let’s talk about games.

Amazon recently announced they would be stimulating application and game development for the Kindle. Together with the iPad, it starts development for intermediate sized platforms, between smart-phones and PCs (let’s face it, a notebook is a PC). I don’t see a big revolution in game programming: everything indicates we’ll program games for the Apple tablet the same way we do for the iPhone. And the Kindle is not as powerful, most likely supporting simpler games.

That being said, the bigger screen and processing power will stimulate more complex game design. I for one like to exercise my brain as much as possible so more complex games, meaning probably more complex code, are a good thing.

Also, the software base for the iPad is already spreading its wings. Gameloft and EA presented games for the new platform, we know Unity will run on the device and Mark Rein, from Epic Games, vented the possibility of having Unreal Engine running on the iPad too. And in the end, if a lot of publishers decide to invest in the platform, we’ll have some great games, no doubt. And that alone should make the iPad a gaming hit.

At first I don’t think many will focus specifically on the iPad. After all, the iPhone base is too big and developers, specially smaller ones, are probably better off making games that run on both platforms. But if Apple succeeds and the iPad becomes the new big thing, it will certainly be a very interesting gaming platform.

I am probably already writing too much. If you want to check other takes on the subject, take a look here and here.

See you space cowboys…

d for the
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Comments»

1. Durval - January 30, 2010

A handheld equipment with a big display that can be used to navigate the web and read books is somehing I have been waiting for. Maybe this is it!


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