BitSnark

Random scribblings by a prick. Enjoy.

The iPad- Will It Blaze A Trail Of Gaming Glory For Apple?

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The style obsessed and trendy folks who were watching a cheery Steve Jobs unveil the Apple iPad last night, found themselves swooning over it’s smart dimensions, iBook functionality and of course, just how the hell they were going to justify forking out $499 + for such a frivolous device.

For the rest of us however, who are interested in y’know games, the iPad surely doesn’t represent anything to get too excited about, if at all.

EA was on hand to throw their support behind the machine, showing us in-game demonstrations of Need For Speed Shift and a Tiger Woods Golf title. Both games appeared to be running at a smooth clip, with fairly high resolution graphics; think slightly higher-def PS2 visuals and you kinda get the picture. Apple also revealed that the iPad is also 100% fully compatible with existing iPhone software and boasts a double-pixel enhancement method which effectively allows the natively lower resolution titles to be viewed on the larger screen without any noticeable degradation in visual fidelity.

Based on this, it seems like Apple find themselves in a little bit of a predicament if they are attempting to market it in any shape or form as a gaming platform. Ironically, the first obstacle that they have to overcome is their own success. The well-known success of the app store and it’s sub $1 purchases has led to consumer expectation that the majority of iPhone titles are cheap throwaway entertainment, with only ‘premium’ titles such as GTA: Chinatown Wars hitting that $9.99 mark.

Therefore, who will really fork out more for what will ostensibly be only graphically superior versions of iPhone titles that they already own, or could purchase at a cheaper price? Michael Patcher, the well known analyst for Morgan Wedbrush Securities alluded to the fact that Apple were a victim of their own success and that with the current pricing model, consumers will be loathed to pay more and developers would need to double prices to $19.99, to make any kind of decent profitable return.

Additionally given the touch control input of the iPad, it seems likely that just like the iPhone, its strongest titles will be games that leverage that functionality in new and interesting ways; with games like Rolando springing to mind. These games however, are already available in iPhone form and while the compatibility with the App Store is most welcome, there really isn’t a whole lot that the device can do (in functional terms at least), to distance itself from the iPhone.

This, compounded by a high retail price across all SKU’s, will create a strong entry barrier for consumers, ultimately meaning that the rest of us, who don’t look at games as throwaway entertainment, will still stick with our PSP’s and DS’s as our preferred form of portable gaming.

Just my two cents.

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Written by bitsnark

January 28, 2010 at 12:04 pm

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