iPad: Apple's Trojan Horse

Apple's readying for the next console war with its new iPad

The new iPad looks much like the old iPad, until you turn it on. Then you see the razor-sharp clarity of the 2048 x 1536 screen, gleaming with more resolution than a 1080p HDTV. Don't be lulled into complacency by the beauty of the display. There's an army being created because of this new screen, and it's awaiting the signal to come forth and do battle in the next console war.

The first step in Apple's strategy has begun simply by making the 2048 x 1536 resolution the new standard for the iPad. The first reaction of game developers to this new high-resolution screen is that they will be creating a high-res version of their game as soon as they reasonably can. It's usually not a difficult process; some developers (ones who have been listening to the rumors) have been preparing their original artwork in higher resolution for months. Already, some of the key games like Infinity Blade II have appeared with high-resolution versions. Many more games are on the way; every publisher will want to take advantage of the higher resolution, if for no other reason than to produce gorgeous screen shots of their games. A few months from now, it seems like a safe bet that there will be hundreds of games for the new iPad with high-resolution graphics. By the end of the year, it will be thousands of games.

Why is this significant? Let's look at another piece of Apple's strategy for a clue. If you look on Apple's web site, the new Apple TV is listed as an iPad accessory. The new Apple TV can now handle full 1080p output for movies, and with AirPlay or through a cable your new iPad's output can be routed to your HDTV. All of those games that are soon to be in high-resolution will look excellent on your HDTV. The strategy is coming into focus now, isn't it?

"Gamers have learned to live with and enjoy FPS games on consoles, despite the apparent controller limitations. The same thing may well happen with tablet games"

Put this together with the persistent rumor that Apple is planning to release an 'iTV' - an Apple HDTV with some special features (perhaps Siri integration), which would doubtless include a version of the App Store. Probably at that same time, the stand-alone Apple TV box would gain the App Store as well. (Or maybe a newer version of the Apple TV hardware, if they feel the need to upgrade the processor.) Instantly, thousands of free or low cost games will be available in the living room. All of those games that were upgraded to better than HD resolution for the new iPad will be ready to be delivered right to your new iTV (or Apple TV plus your current HDTV). This neatly gets around the problem that most new hardware platforms have, that of limited software at launch. Usually it takes months to get a significant number of games for a new platform, if not years. Apple will have hundreds or thousands of HD apps when their new platform launches.

Now you can see the soldiers pouring out of Apple's Trojan Horse, assaulting the current rulers of the living room, the console makers. Apple's games will be just as good-looking to the casual eye as console games. No, they won't have the in-depth, immersive gameplay of the best console titles. Not at first, anyway. The limitation that you need to download the iOS games will keep them from becoming 25 gigabyte behemoths. That's just a temporary limitation; some of which can be sidestepped by clever design. For instance, large intro animations and cut scenes often take up gigabytes of space on disc; those can easily be streamed instead of waiting for a download. Massive content can be doled out in chunks if the design is tweaked to allow for that; intelligent downloading in the background can help, too.


The controllers... how can you have good games without great controls? "Playing first-person-shooters just doesn't work on a tablet, you don't get the great control you have on a console!" goes the argument from a hardcore gamer. True, as far as it goes. It's interesting to note that this is the same argument that PC gamers threw at console gamers many years ago. "Consoles may be OK for kiddie games, but real games are played on a PC," went the party line. The FPS game was purely a PC game... until Halo arrived. Even then, it was clear that the combination of a mouse and a keyboard was far superior for controlling an FPS. Microsoft toyed with the idea of allowing Xbox Halo players to play against the (then recently-released) PC version of Halo. They ran some tests, and quickly found that even mediocre Halo PC players mopped up the best Xbox Halo players without breaking a sweat. Plans to cross-connect the PC and console game audiences were quietly shelved.

Yet, here we are, with gamers having learned to live with and enjoy FPS games on consoles, despite the apparent controller limitations. The same thing may well happen with tablet games. The tablet itself can be used as a controller if the main game screen is being sent to your HDTV. Certainly, tablets and smartphones as controllers have certain advantages; they have lots of sensors, touch screens, can provide hidden information easily... and you can add a Bluetooth controller that looks a lot like a standard console controller, or for that matter a Bluetooth keyboard if you want to get closer to a PC interface for games. (Easy keyboard availability onscreen on tablets also makes typical MMORPGs much more interesting than they are on consoles.)

"We are seeing the beginning of the next console war now, even before E3 when Nintendo will introduce the Wii U and hopefully reveal key details of its features"

While you're thinking about Apple's assault on the living room, don't forget that Google is working towards the very same goal with Google TV. While the platform has yet to get much traction, Google is by no means finished with their attempt to gain a foothold in the living room. Google's acquisition of Motorola gives it a significant set-top box business, and Google is no doubt trying to cut deals with cable companies to include Google TV functionality in future set-top boxes. For that matter, almost all TV manufacturers are making the most of their new TVs Internet-connected with apps, and some with streaming-game services such as Gaikai or OnLive built in.

Is it any wonder that Microsoft and Sony want to take more time to figure out their next generation console strategy? Microsoft has plans for Windows 8, with a unifying interface that works across smartphones, tablets, computers, and the Xbox. Sony also has a full lineup of phones, tablets, computers and a dedicated handheld console as well as the PS3. Notice that Microsoft is pushing Xbox Live across all its platforms, and Sony is spreading the Sony Entertainment Network (which includes the PlayStation Network) across all of its devices, too.


The battle is going to be fought not just with hardware, but with entire ecosystems. The hardware platform merely enables the delivery of games, music, video, and other media as well as apps. The market opportunity is 10 to 100 times larger than the console market, if the smartphone and tablet markets are any indicators.

Notice too that many of the competitors are aiming for low price points rather than sheer power at any cost. The current Apple TV is $99, and Google TV as a separate box is likely to be the same. Building the functionality into TVs means the cost will tend to disappear as fierce competition keeps prices low. Amazon has found great success with their Kindle Fire tablet by keeping the price at $199 so they can sell their digital media; they could easily do a version of the Kindle for a TV set.

Not surprisingly, we've heard rumors that Microsoft may have more than one new console, perhaps a relatively inexpensive one with fewer features and one more expensive aimed at core gamers. Maybe it's as simple as just taking the existing Xbox 360 and slimming it down more and reducing the cost further. Sony may well want to consider a similar path; they have been very successfully selling PlayStation 2 hardware long after the PlayStation 3 appeared.

We are seeing the beginning of the next console war now, even before E3 when Nintendo will introduce the Wii U and hopefully reveal key details of its features, introduction date, and pricing. When it launches later this year, Nintendo will perhaps have a dozen or more titles shipping for it. With Apple's inevitable launch of an app store in the living room, they will have hundreds or perhaps thousands of titles due to the new iPad's high-res screen. The Trojan Horse is moving into position, with estimates of more than 60 million units to be sold this year, and even more next year. The next console war will be an epic battle indeed.

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Latest comments (39)

Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 5 years ago
I read this story and I'm trying to work out when April came early. It's like the journalist writing this article is totally un-aware of who buys the iPad.

I'll give you a clue. It isn't a group of hardcore gamers, neither is it the casual gaming crowd. It's people who like to use it to read, play or use the odd app and feel trendy. Last time I checked the majority of these people had never been interested in consoles of any kind.

People to whome the word joypad would probably illicit the reply "No it's an iPad" with a totally straight face.
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Simon Lawrence Production Manager, SEGA Europe5 years ago
What's the fascination with how a game looks? I’d rather have a game that plays absolutely amazingly, better than anything before it and looked OK than looked stunning but played OK. That said, I’m a gamer so the Ipad isn’t aimed at me. I use my phone to make calls, my PSP to play games on the go.
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Rodney Smith Developer 5 years ago
4K2K, give it a year and this ipad is going to look low res
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
"It's people who like to use it to read, play or use the odd app and feel trendy."

What an over simplification. I know a LOT of developers who love their iPads, and trust me - they're far from concerned about feeling trendy:)

The iPad won't rival consoles until they come out with a decent controller for it, even if as an add on. But when that happens (and I'm sure it will, perhaps with the tactile feedback on the screen if rumours are to be believed), there's no reason why it can't replace consoles.
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Private Industry 5 years ago
Lets see Vita has the same GPU and a better CPU than the iPad3 and has all the resources available for the games thanks to an OS that has the purpose of running games and first and other things second. Also it runs at a resolution that makes sense because if Apple would care much about games they would have opted for a lower resolution that doesnt waste so much resources and therefore I would say even Vita games will remain to look better visualy and with a larger scope than iPad3 games.

Speaking of visuals, the iPad costs a minimum of 500 bucks, cant compete even with current gen graphicaly so guess what the difference will be compared to next gen and no the controlls debate isnt the same as with console vs PC. FPS games still play better and more precise with mouse and keyboard, but a controller gives at least a feedback how far you push the stick on any direction, you feel where each button is instead of strugeling on how much you move or if your finger is at the right place.

No gamer would buy an iPad or any other Apple product for gaming. And I'm so glad that they dont make consoles because they would sell you every year a new one thats required to play the latest games fully.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 19th March 2012 3:49pm

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Felix Leyendecker Senior 3D Artist, Crytek5 years ago
If history has taught us anything, vital things like controllers have to come in the box and not as add-on, or they won't get the traction that they need in order be considered a baseline feature by developers.
So if apple were to release an iTV or new AppleTV that comes with a proper controller by default (and that's a pretty big if), then sure, it could be considered a home console with an impressive back catalogue of HD games.

Except that his back catalogue consists mostly of games that are designed to be played on the go and kill time on the train, which is not the kind of experience people who sit down in front of a TV to play a game are looking for.
New games that actually make use of the controller and provide compelling experiences to "home-gamers" would have to be produced from scratch, so the competitive back catalogue wouldn't be that big.

Hypothetically, if you would use the iPad as controller and stream the video to a TV, it would be a quite pointless exercise (you can't see what you touch, the ipad becomes a touchpad equivalent) further nullifying the back catalogue argument.

Another thing to consider is that this hypothetical back catalogue, HD or not, would have to compete against existing back catalogues of the current gen consoles (assuming BC next gen)

To me, the large appeal of iOS gaming is that it's mobile and available on a device you need anyway. I don't think you can just transplant the whole concept to a living room box and expect it to work the same way.
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Steve Peterson Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
Certainly dedicated gaming devices will be better at playing many types of games; if they aren't they quickly disappear. The important point about the new iPad is the sheer volume of sales; as a market it's going to be outselling the PS Vita or any other console by 5 to 1. No, it's not intended primarily as a gaming device, but gaming turns out to be one of the most popular uses for it.
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Private Industry 5 years ago
Well sales, Apple managed to get a huge crowed into a mindstate that they will constantly trade in their previous iDevice just to get the new one (see futurama episode about the eyePhone :D)

Also just a little tiny thing about the iPad3 apps and having them on TV. The iPad isnt 16:9 so there is some conversion that would be required without ugly borders on the top and bottom, stretched picture or cut off areas if you just zoom. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 19th March 2012 4:18pm

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Corey Fong Director of Marketing, Flashman Studios5 years ago
I get the feeling the writer of this article is a HUGE Apple fanboi and was probably standing in line for 24hours, waiting to get his/her iPad 4 yesterday :)

There are so many biases in this article and lack of understanding of hardcore gamers and the console gaming business.

A touch screen can never replace a controller. We're not comparing vibration shock (a feature of a controller) to a touch screen. We're comparing a physical object that provides direct tactile feedback to the user not a vague flat piece of glass. So the whole PC vs Console controller point in this article is pretty moot. For example, A game player can not input exact controller inputs needed for fighting games, like street fighter with any precision on a flat glass touch screen. Touch screens are great input devices for specific things, but hardcore games are not one of them.

It's not all about install base either when trying to compete with console games either. Even if iPads outsell Vita 5 to 1, all that means is that the iPad is a mass market device. Where as the Vita is targeted toward hardcore gamers. And we already knew not everyone in the world are hardcore gamers. Different market, different customer.

The one major issue that the article didn't even bring up is the business aspect. Apple needs to clean up the Appstore and create a place where publishers and developers can actually make money to justify the multimillion dollar production budgets of AAA hardcore games, if they are going to even think about competing with consoles.

The Appstore is way too flooded, it's impossible to find anything. Apple has ZERO marketing programs. And lastly, Apple has proven in the past that they will change guidelines on a whim that completely change the business model of their own market without regard to the developers who are actually supporting their appstore.

Unless those things are changed by Apple, no matter how high they get their screen resolution up, console game publishers will not support the platform. At the end of the day, console gamers will not follow, if the games aren't on their platform.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Corey Fong on 19th March 2012 4:38pm

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Meelad Sadat [a]list daily editorial director, Ayzenberg Group5 years ago
It'd be weird for to review how many books are on iTunes or whether hipsters foresake iPad screen protectors to look even more like they care less with style. I think the focus on what these are doing to and for the game industry is spot on. (And they did manage to time launch right when 30K game developers were gathered in SF.)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Meelad Sadat on 19th March 2012 4:59pm

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Jeremy Stein Game Designer, MocoSpace5 years ago
The comparison made in the pull quote is lazy to the point of absurdity.

The difference of input between a dedicated controller and a mouse/keyboard is small. The difference between a touchscreen and a controller is immense.

I fully believe Apple is capable of competing in the console space and/or the hardcore space. But their aversion to physical feedback -- the kind you get from moving an analog stick with your thumb or clicking a key on a physical keyboard -- makes it impossible to believe they're willing to support existing input systems.

Entire game genres are built around these input systems. Years in to the iOS app ecosystem, and we still have yet to see a single good FPS, simulation sports title, side scrolling brawler, or fighting game. When FPS went to consoles, for example, it took a little while to make the controls roughly AS GOOD AS key/mouse FPS titles on PC, but they started out being pretty good. All touch screen FPS games are awful. No one has figured it out, and no one has given us any reason to think they will figure it out.

These types of games need a controller, or you have a platform that does not support these types of games. As Felix pointed out above, you probably need the input device to ship with the platform device itself, or you're just hoping to buck history.

I agree with Fran that Apple does not have a hardcore problem. You can love CoD or ME3 and still be an iPhone gamer. Apple's problem is with the limitations of touch as an interface metaphor. I'm not confident they see things this way, and that's the only reason I'm skeptical of ever seeing a good FPS on an iOS device.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Jeremy Stein on 19th March 2012 7:10pm

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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
You're all jumping on the author, but seems to me he's talking more about potential. He's not saying the current iPad can replace consoles, but that Apple seems to be quietly laying the groundwork. And saying "console" publishers won't support the platform, seems to me lots of them already are, albeit with a slightly different focus.

And the comment about the iPad outselling the Vita etc - don't forget that lots of those who own the iPad WILL be "hardcore" gamers.

If Apple can have a Senseg type screen that functions well, then there's no reason the physical controller point won't become a non-issue. The current iPad is no threat to consoles, but the long game Apple is playing is a massive threat.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Fran Mulhern on 19th March 2012 5:09pm

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Ahmed Sharif5 years ago
I think the article is oversimplifying the situation, treading down an almost conspiracy-like route.

Sure, the iPad is doing well, but the target audience for the iPad (and it's functionality) is not coherent with the audience that consoles exist for. While iPad sales in general are very high, what must be considered is the percentage of those users are using their iPad for actual gaming.

Just as many other comments mentioned, you can't expect to launch a TV then assume the iPad will dominate the console market. They operate and cater to two completely different types of needs. If this were the case then I'm sure Sony would have gone down this route with the PSP/Vita.

I should also note, yes the new iPad has a lovely screen, increased memory and extended specifications; and mobile developers are revamping their titles in accordance, but just because a device outputs at a resolution higher than 1080p doesn't make it a graphical powerhouse. Mobile apps made for a mobile device will always be just that; mobile. They will always possess limitations that remove their potential for living-room applications.
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Jeremy Stein Game Designer, MocoSpace5 years ago
Just because the iPad has a broad umbrella does not mean you can't fit console gamers underneath it.

I think the author is right in that the iOS platform -- in the form of future iPads or Apple TVs or ??? -- could be a trojan horse to taking over the console space in the same manner that it's taken over the mobile gaming space.

But again the article makes it's case on faulty assumptions.

As a result, myself and others are jumping down the author's throat for comparing Halo vs. Unreal Tournament to Modern Warfare vs. Whatever Crap FPS Gameloft Is Making. It's a lazy, inaccurate comparison that oversimplifies the differences. Halo was a great-but-flawed game. Every FPS on iOS is terrible. Console FPS designers had to cross a shallow stream. iOS FPS designers need to cross a solar system.

Until the iPad has adequate haptic feedback or there's some sort of universal haptic feedback standard for playing iOS games, all iOS FPS games will continue to be terrible. As will other games that rely on physical feedback. Until Apple solves that problem, they don't have a trojan horse for hardcore titles -- they have a dead horse.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeremy Stein on 19th March 2012 5:22pm

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Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief5 years ago
I'm broadly in agreement with the author:
- experience shows that the market (as a whole) tends to prefer convenience over quality. e.g. MP3s becoming the next step in music after the CD, rather than a pursuit of high-def
- you don't need everyone to stop buying consoles or console games. Just enough people to make it no longer economical to support the incredibly expensive infrastructure of a dedicated console business. I fear this may already have happened in the handheld markets
- technological/graphic process is about being 'bloated experiences for techno-wankers', not about Games for people that love game play. See Daniel Cook's brilliant post on this subject
- the ipad is barely three years old. We are seeing faster iteration in hardware, software, business models and game design than we are on the consoles. This is its real competitive advantage (and actually a reason why those thousands of rubbish apps are an advantage. I would rather have a market where anything can get made and the gamers can decide if its goods rather than have a small number of men in suits deciding what gets made for me)

I am on record as being an Apple hateboy. I hate their smug self-satisfaction (and that of their aficionados). I would rather that the Android ecosystem was as powerful as the iOS one.

But I also think that the author of this post may be right in most of his ideas.
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Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief5 years ago
Also, I think I'd be quite happy if we never had any more FPSs. Feels like a stagnant genre. /troll :-)
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
Experience, experience, experience. That is the difference between console games and iPad games....the experience.

It matters not that the iPad 'could' have a traditional style controller and it matters not that the ipad 'could' nearly replicate current generation console graphics. What matters is the experience that each device provides.

Tying to shoe horn the iPad into the console space may gain some market share but it won't take over the market. If you are a developer/publisher with big budgets and grandiose design plans, consoles are for you. If you are a developer with limited budgets and clever ideas, iOS and other digital delivery services are for you.
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Robert Mac-Donald Game Designer, Lethe Games5 years ago
Can the keyboard and mouse produce, on average, games with more depth and more interesting gameplay than a gamepad? Yes.

Did the gamepad sell more and became the dominant controller even if the Mouse and Keyboard is better? Yes.

You may argue that you like the gamepad more, that it is more comfortable.

That is the same people using an ipad for games will say. And if the money is in there, developers will follow.
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Felix Leyendecker Senior 3D Artist, Crytek5 years ago
This article/discussion is about Apple entering the home console market via an AppleTV box or an iTV. Which implies that the game's visuals will be played on the big screen and not on the iPad's screen, instead it will serve as a touchpad equivalent, or a detached bottom screen of a Nintendo DS.

Emulating joysticks and buttons may kind of work if you always look at the screen you're touching, but I think it will be a lot harder to make this kind of control work when you're focusing on another screen.
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Jeremy Stein Game Designer, MocoSpace5 years ago
I took FPS as an example, because it's the example from the article.

And I'm basing this off experience making these games. I was a designer on Madden for 360 and was involved in the initial design meetings for Madden on the Wii. And now I make HTML5 games for iOS and Android. So I love the idea of Apple everywhere and do a ton of gaming using touch interfaces.

As it stands today, no one has made a good sports game on a touch platform. First touch soccer, NBA Jam, FIFA, Madden ... everything sucks. It sucks hard.

Dungeon crawlers can be okay on touch. I liked what MS studios did with The Harvest on WP7. But games like Dungeon Hunter, with its virtual buttons, are plainly awkward to control.

Racing games like Real Racing 1 and 2 are great. Those might be closer to the FPS console vs. PC analogy.

But 3rd Person shooters come back to the same problem. Dead Space looked impressive, but the controls were still user-hostile. Mass Effect Infiltrator is TERRIBLE. Infinity Blade is cool, but it's not even the same type of 3rd person action as what you've been able to play on consoles for over a decade.

So, if you want a platform where you can't play CoD, Halo, Super Meat Boy, Mass Effect, Madden, FIFA, NHL, NBA 2K, Street Fighter, Mario, Diablo or WoW ... then yeah, touch screens are great and Apple will definitely topple the console makers.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeremy Stein on 19th March 2012 5:59pm

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Private Industry 5 years ago
Of course publishers support iDevices, but how many copies did Infinity Blade sell as one of the handfull core games on a platform that has far more users than any console? It didn`t sell bad, but not great either so for the moment why would you make a full console gaming experience game for iOS that costs a lot more to produce than Inifnity Blade would retail for more and has low expected sales? The iPad outsells the Vita, but even if it would outsell the Vita 10:1 that would be probably 99.5% of those 10 people being non gamers and 0.5% gamers versus 100% gamers of people who buy the Vita. Core games would need to start selling really great on iOS before you would make your full games also for iOS.

Also as mentioned further up, the app store is a mess. You have to look trough 5 pages of fart apps before you see a proper game because of every Angry Birds there are 500 useless apps and for every Infinity Blade there are properly 10 000 useless or casual game apps. Also I would reckon they would need to get their act together and have a better approval process becasue right now you can put everything on the app store even almost 1:1 copies of other games. What do you think how happy will publishers be if anybody can make a bad almost 1:1 copie of their game and just give it a slightly different name and apple leaves it up there? Compare that to the console submission process that for once makes sure you can just copy another game and release it on the console and for the most part makes sure the games are not completely useless junk. That doesn`t mean there are no bad games on consoles but there are no fart games where you just press one button to make a fart noise. The console manufacturer care about the publishers and the games the consumers get because they need to care about both of them in order to make money. Does Apple need games to make a huge amount of money every year? I doubt it so they don`t need to care about other companies so why make the submission process strickter to get a higher quality or help promote games?

The controller would be still an issue because it doesn`t give you precise feedback, the feedback it gives is "you pressed something" but it doesn`t say how strong i.e. for movement, aiming and camera control it`s important and it`s not enough that you know that you pressed something you need to know how strong. Also an issue would be that the iPad isn`t good to hold if you want to play, you need to put it on the table you can`t just hold it in your hands like a controller. Apple would need to make a compromise with their designs to make it functional for gaming and the same point as the submission process why would Apple care and adapt their designs just so games can be played properly on it? That wouldn`t make them enough money. Apple doesn`t even care if their iPhone is good to hold in the hand or not because the flat back is really bad to hold compared to all other phones with a curved back. It just needs to look fancy.

But let`s get to the most important thing and thats where do you play your Mario, Zelda, Halo, Uncharted, Grand Turismo, Forza and so on and so on? And the answer is not on an Apple product. You don`t Mario on iPhone, so people buy and keep buying the Nintendo consoles and because that`s the case companies keep making games for Nintendo consoles because people buy it and same goes for the other 2, so Apple couldn`t just come out with a TV box or whatever that has the app store and go against the consoles. First core games would need to start selling a lot better on iOS than they are now to even bring your games to it and people would need to stop buying consoles and console games. How did the Dreamcast die? It died because not many people bought it and the games for it. And thats why the game support stoped not many people bought it. So for Apple to be a competition for consoles would require them to take customers away from the console market, but how would they do that? Their products are overpriced, they look nice but not the best design for functionality and you are getting every year a slightly upgraded version to buy for the same full price and they don`t have the games that gamers want. So how would they take away gamers from MS, Sony and Nintendo in the near future and be a competition for the next gen? The MS and Sony main customer base would never go to Apple to play games, Nintendo`s Wii audience got into the Wii because it`s casual and it`s cheap and no Apple product ever is cheap. And I don`t see the casual adudience from 360 or PS3 either because Apple doesn`t have the games and the way they run things at the moment I don`t see them getting them unless they pay a lot to companies to get their support but I doubt it would make them enough money. And thats what it comes down to for Apple would it make them enough money compared to how much they would need to invest and change things like design policy, submission policy and so on.
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James Podesta Lead Programmer, SASimulations5 years ago
Remember that gamers may buy tablets not intending to replace their consoles, but then get sucked into all the addictive little gaming experiences which takes enough time away from the consoles that they start reducing the number of console games they buy... All it takes is for a significant reduction in how many hard-core games they buy, and the console market won't be able to support to $100-$200 million dollar budgets it takes to create those "deeper" gameplay experiences and it will collapse on itself, leaving only the "app store" market which is more nimble and light weight. This will be sad, but its already sad that only sequels to big franchises are viable on consoles anyway.

As for controls, people adapt. Swipe controls are fairly refined now and don't require you to look at the screen. They may be inferior to joypads, but they work and games will adapt to match them. I don't see PCs disappearing anytime soon so FPS,RTS, and MMOs will have a superior control experience there.

As for price, as mentioned, it will be absorbed into the price of the TV eventually. At the moment, Apple is doing just fine financially though without having to compete any major price war. The huge savings in APP prices dramatically offset any initial hardware price.
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Dave Wolfe Game Developer, Cosmic Games5 years ago
A couple things about this post bother me. First, the idea that games that have been prepared for the higher resolution will automatically be ready for the Apple TV. Except the Apple TV is limited to 1080p, which isn't just a lower resolution it's also a different aspect ratio. For some types of games this probably won't be an issue, but there are a lot of games that won't be able to cleanly scale to 16x9; is iPad3 output going to be scaled down pillar boxed then, or will developers have to make a 16x9 version of their games as well?

And as for FPS on console vs. pc...just because some console players don't mind being handicapped by the inferior controls doesn't mean that hardcore gamers have given up their pcs to play fps games on consoles. There's still a lot of hardcore gamers that only play their fps games on the pc. And since when was the "party line" ever that consoles are just for kids games? That's the most ridiculous statement in the whole article. Nintendo certainly has had that reputation for a long time, but not Sony or Microsoft.

And then the idea that people will start carrying keyboards and gamepads around with why am I using a tablet again?? Once you hook up a bunch of gaming peripherals you're now essentially back to console/pc gaming but with inferior hardware and a 10" screen, so what's the point?
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd5 years ago
The assumption throughout this article that games are somehow 'legitimised' by running them through a TV is oddly quaint. Every iOS or Android user already has access to "thousands of free or low cost the living room".
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Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd5 years ago
I frigging hate the controllers that have evolved for hardcore gaming. They are fit for purposes if you are a harcore gamer with years of experience behind you. For the other 90% of the population, they may as well be learning to play the flute.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters5 years ago
@Tameem - 90% of the population probably can't figure out how to use a DSLR camera either, which is why there are idiot-proof point and shoots. Doesn't make the DSLR any less valid a product just because not everyone can be bothered to learn. You get out what you put in. I hate touchscreens, good for UI, abysmal for gaming. Different strokes.
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Private Industry 5 years ago
It depends on the game, anyone can pick up the controller and play lets say Flower or a arcade racing game. But if you want to make more complex gameplay you dont get around using more buttons and they are designed for core games. Touchscreen is great for menu navigation but not for gameplay unless the game has very simple controlls. If you look at the Wii remote thats designed to be casual you have the problem that core games are unplayable with it.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
James Podesta, you are not going to get enough of a mass exodus from core gamers getting caught up in their iPads to reduce the sustainability of the console market. A case example already exists with Japan. Their market has shifted towards all forms of portable devices (portable consoles, mobile phones and devices) which has reduced the impact of the console market greatly...but it does still exist there. And will continue to exist there, and elsewhere, because of a strong underlying demand that isn't wavered by on the go gaming or low priced casual experiences.

Werner, I've played many great core games with the Wii remote. The Godfather and Scarface were much better experiences on Wii than the other consoles because of the Wii remote. While the concept of the Wii remote was accessibility, it still contained enough buttons (11 with the nun-chuck) to properly handle core gaming.
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Anthony Gowland Consulting F2P Game Designer, Ant Workshop5 years ago
You have to look trough 5 pages of fart apps before you see a proper game
There's opinion, and then there's just being objectively wrong.
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 5 years ago

That's what the move towards motion controllers is all about. An attempt to remove the traditional controller from the equation. The problem is that the processing power to create a lag free experience isn't arriving till the next gen. At that point it's either going to take off really fast or we'll all be watching the tumble weeds roll by.

As for controllers. Apps don't remove them. In fact they make an extremely poor attempt to mimic them without any of the feedback you associate with a real controller. I doubt anyone plays a virtual stick game and doesn't find themselves loosing because they end up half way across the screen while trying to move their player or ship etc. etc.
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Private Industry 5 years ago
I didnt play those two, I play a lot of FPS, racing, sports and 3rd person action games and I was never too happy with the controlls compared to the classic controller or the 360 and ps3 controller.

There are maybe not 5 pages of fart apps Anthony but there is a huge amount of useless apps and copies of other games you have to look through to find good new stuff if its not hugely popular.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
Yeah, I do wish it was easier to find the really good stuff. Not sure how they could do that though with the amount of apps on there.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
Werner, I'll grant racing and sports play better on a dual analog set up (though with racing you can use the analog stick on the nun-chuck instead of air driving). FPS's for me go to the Wii remote (provided you can customize the button layout). 3rd person been a let down for me after the 2 aforementioned titles. Try Godfather and Scarface on Wii. Those 2 games showed so much promise for future Wii action titles that never really materialized. It's been disheartening to see it unfold that way because every time I play a 3rd person action title on the other consoles, I constantly wonder how much better it could be if the controls were IR and motion based like those 2 titles were.
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Ben Furneaux Principal Designer 5 years ago
Some of the comments on this article seem so defensive I can't not picture them being read with crossed arms and pouty lips. Pure processing power / hardware capability is irrelevant — gameplay is where the innovation happens. A great game is a great game, regardless of platform.

Let's not forget that controllers aren't perfect. For example: strategy games used to be hugely popular in the PC gaming era but have never really been prominent on console because of the controller — however touch screens are great for this kind of interaction. FPSs are great on a controller, but not so much on touchscreens so it's likely we'll see less of them on this platform going forward.

The real challenge seems to be whether AAA 'blockbuster' games can competitively exist in the low price point ecosystems of iOS / Android / WP7 / browser. Can we expect to see high priced content? Will users pay for it? Do they even want those experiences on a mobile device?

Those are the unknowns — context is the unknown.
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Private Industry 5 years ago
I like to drive with dual analog sticks, always prefered using the right stick for accelerate and break instead off the trigger buttons.

There are some things where motion can help like Golden Abyss where the aiming is superb using the motiin controlls for fine tuning, but I dont like the button placement and form of the Wii Remote. Compared to the other controllers you dont have easy and fast access to all buttons with 1 and 2 all the way down and the D-pad too far away from the A button for my taste.
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Robert Barrow Information Security Analyst 5 years ago
Whilst, as a hard core gamer, I can see where this strategy could get Apple into the console ecosystem eventually. I completely fail to see how any of their current catalogue of games could ever translate into a big screen experience.

I like Angry Birds on the iPad, it's intuitive to play and the touch screen supports it very well. But it also represents the current pinnacle of Apples gaming experience on its iOS devices. I've started playing Infinity Blade. It looks pretty, but the whole experience is smoke and mirrors. Games as old as 'Heavenly Sword' on the PS3 absolutely bury it as an experience and completely highlight it's lack of substance. Again it represents the pinnacle of the Apple gaming experience on the iPad. It looks very pretty but has zero depth and would never translate to a big screen experience. Unless of course you used some kind of interface like Kinnect or Move to bring some depth to it. But it needs to be less on rails for a start to actually be a proper game that I'd be willing to spend hours grinding through.

You just need to compare the experience you get playing Mass Effect 3 compared to Mass Effect Infiltrator. It's not going to cause Microsoft or Sony any sleepless nights! And by the time that apple positions itself fully with a proper catalogue and service both MS and Sony will be on the third (fourth?) iteration of their, already, successful and game orientated services.
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Robert Huebner President/CEO, Nihilistic Software5 years ago
The biggest problem I have with the conclusions of this article is that if you were to ask game developers what they'd want to see in the next iPad, Increased Resolution would not be even in the top 10. The ratio of processing power to pixel resolution is what really matters here.

Any developer of high-end immersive games would have rather souped up the processing power without the corresponding increase in DPI because the net result would look a lot better. Resolution != visual quality by and large.

Likewise, being able to tie the game platform to the living room TV wouldn't rank either.

Game Developer wishes for iPad, for the record:

* Increased GPU & CPU horsepower
* Increased memory
* Increased storage
* Increased read bandwidth from storage

And well, of course, physical joysticks if we're really making a wish list :)
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd5 years ago
It's really, really easy to see from these comments who is actually basing their opinions about the state of games outside of the core console bubble on first hand experience.

There's no single input device that caters for the whole spectrum of games that have evolved around the various historically prominent controllers.

Games that required light guns, keyboards, mice and arcade sticks faded into the background on consoles. Similarly games that can't be adapted to touch screen controls will struggle on tablets. And that's fine! Other platforms will still exist.

Characterising touch controls as only suitable for simple casual games is simply not accurate, you just have to look at the diversity of titles on the iTunes App Store to see that.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
As long as I have a traditional game controller (directional buttons, 4 facebuttons, 4 shoulder buttons, 2 analog sticks, start, select and home buttons) and the ability to connect it to a large screen then its all good.
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