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The New iPad Release: What It Means For Games.

Dave Cook

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iPad is getting a 3rd iteration, as revealed by Apple at an event in San Francisco last night, along with some strong words about the new tablet as a gaming device. But what does the new iPad really mean for gaming?

Published on Mar 8, 2012

iPad 3, ‘The New iPad’ – whatever you want to call it – has finally been revealed by Apple, and along with it, the capability to support bigger and better games.

However, speaking at Apple’s iPad reveal event, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the iPad is the favourite gaming device for those who own home consoles such as Xbox 360 and PS3.

I’m not quite sure where Cook got his information from, but I’m pretty certain that for many people this statement simply doesn’t ring true. 

Can Apple be justified in stacking the new iPad against this generation’s home consoles? Granted, the new iPad is a nice piece of kit, boasting a quad core A5X chip set, a retina display screen that weighs in at 2048 x 1536 resolution, and AirPlay mirroring with Apple TV. 

All nice features I’m sure you’ll agree, and while this means that the new iPad tech places it almost shoulder-to-shoulder with PS3, the problem is that few studios are using the iPad spec to its full potential. 

If you cast your mind back to last year, Apple unveiled iPhone 4S alongside a trailer for Infinity Blade 2. Geared towards showing off the quality of gaming possible on iPhone 4S, the trailer did dazzle.

But few App developers have since had the resources or time to come up with games that push iPad tech as far as Infinity Blade 2 and a handful of other high quality titles.

When it comes to home consoles, studios are constantly pushing boundaries, but on App Store, it is the simplistic yet ingenious concepts that seem to generate the big bucks. The perfect case and point would be the tech-light Angry Birds, which is not aesthetically mind-blowing, but thoroughly enjoyed by millions.

iPad really stumbles when developers try too hard to replicate the big home console experience. Twin-stick shooters such as Call of Duty and Gears of War are cloned ad nauseam on App Store, yet they pale by comparison, most obviously, due to the iPad’s lack of analogue stick. An official Apple controller would easily rectify this problem and allow for the development of bigger and better games.

Weak online play is also a sticking point. In a games industry that is currently infatuated with the notion of online play as a means of adding quality to new titles, tech-intensive games on iPad simply cannot – for the time being – come close to the frenetic experiences found on home consoles.

Instead, bespoke games built specifically with iPad tech in mind constantly remind me – as I’m sure it does you – that App developers don’t have to copy home console games to induce a sense of quality and value in the player. 

Studios trying to make a quick buck by copying the home console darlings of the day – of which there are many, some more shameless than others – are simply releasing inferior products by following Xbox 360 and PS3 games to the letter.

That, and it waters down the true innovators that exist on App Store today.So is the new iPad a real contender, or even viable alternative to PS3 and Xbox 360. No, not at all, but then it shouldn’t be, seeing as Apple has cleared carved out its own, dedicated cross-section of the gaming market. 

It was recently revealed that App Store has enjoyed 25 billion downloads and counting - That means your method is working Apple, there’s no need to pick new fights you might not win, especially when you're already dominating elsewhere.

 

Want more from the new iPad?

 

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