Apple, Tech, and Gaming

iPad Gaming Potential

- 2010.03.11 - Tip Jar

As an avid gamer, I must ponder whether the iPad will be up to snuff for more intense gaming experiences. The answer to that question depends on how developers react and continue to perfect those same experiences on the iPhone and iPod touch.

iPad with New York Times appConsider the fact that the iPad uses the same graphics chip as the iPod touch and iPhone. (For a bit more on that subject, see Apple Confirms: iPad Uses PowerVR SGX Graphics Hardware on Mac Rumors.) Some have taken this as a negative and have dismissed the iPad as an oversized iPhone/iPod touch.

To a gamer who has been around the block a few times (let's just say that I started out on an Atari 2600 in the early 80s), I can tell you with great confidence that when the hardware schematics stay relatively similar from one software generation to the next, the developers have more time to optimize and perfect the code for that particular hardware.

Look at titles like God of War/God of War 2, Resident Evil 4, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Compare those titles to launch titles and other early PS2 titles. You typically can't compare early software titles to those that come later in any gaming console's lifespan. These particular titles mentioned came towards the end of the PS2's product cycle, although the platform is still receiving much support far beyond a typical game console's product life cycle due partially to the fact that the PS3 didn't garner the early support it needed (but that's another story).

Sony PS2
The PS2 brought its best experiences
to gamers before release of the PS3.

The point is that software titles typically get better as hardware ages, as long as the capabilities of the hardware can match those required by the software.

Now that the iPhone and iPod touch platform has existed for nearly three years and the app store for nearly two, you can expect better and better software development for that hardware. These same apps will work on the iPad, which means that the iPad will have launch titles and other applications that are superior in many ways to what may have been expected from a new product line.

The X factor is Apple's own 1 GHz A4 chip in the iPad and whatever its true capabilities are. If the A4 allows developers to create iPad-specific games that can use the extra muscle of its processor - roughly 50% more powerful than the current iPhone and iPod touch - you can expect some great gaming.

Could games like World of Warcraft and Doom 3 work on an iPad? Perhaps. Only time and development will tell. LEM

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Dan Bashur lives in central Ohio with his wife and children. He uses various PowerPC G3 and G4 Macs running Tiger and Leopard. Besides finding new uses for Macs and other tech, Dan enjoys writing (fantasy novel series in the works), is an avid gamer, and a member of Sony's Gamer Advisor Panel. You can read more of Dan Bashur's work on, where he contributes regular articles about the PSP, classic gaming, and ways you can use Sony gaming hardware with your Mac.

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