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Game Changer?

If it's successful, Apple's iPad will demand - and reward - creative thinking from game developers

The media circus which has attended the launch of Apple's iPad has had one unfortunate effect - it's made sensible discussion of the pros and cons of the device all but impossible, buried under a mountain of emotive, knee-jerk reaction from all sides of the field. Apple is a company that polarises opinion more than almost any other, and it will be some weeks before the device, its capabilities and its possible market impact can be assessed dispassionately.

As such, I don't want to talk about whether or not the iPad is going to be a success. What is more interesting, from a games perspective, is to look at the "what if" question - to make the assumption that this device will be successful, that it will hit the optimistic sales targets set out by market researchers, and to ask what happens to game development if and when that occurs.

Already there are competing theories lining up across the industry - a testament to just how important the App Store has become in a very short space of time. Although the iPhone / iPod Touch platform is still in its infancy in terms of market penetration, and does not enjoy the kind of tie ratio for videogame sales which you would see on a more focused handheld console device, the App Store is already making a lot of money for game developers with the right ideas.

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Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.
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