How the iPad Revolutionizes Gaming

How the iPad Revolutionizes Gaming

Apple’s iPad is nothing if not a pricey portable gaming system and entertainment device disguised as a combination tablet PC and portable media player. (Or just a giant iPod touch or crippled, oversized iPhone, depending on whom you ask.) But per USA Today‘s story Apple’s iPad Could Revolutionize Video Games, it enjoys a major advantage over traditional handheld game consoles such as the DS/DSi and PSP.

Specifically, the fact that the iPad is already compatible with thousands of games that speak to a huge audience courtesy of its App Store, and are offered at a wide range of price points starting at free and going up. The only problem: Until sales of the tablet PC really take off, there’s little incentive for game developers and publishers to do more than offer enhanced ports of existing titles. Hence the most likely purchasers we say are casual gamers “who enjoy low-end simple social gaming experiences” or hardcore gamers wanting to “tap into the selection of thousands upon thousands of simple action, arcade, puzzle, word games and other offerings.”

Then again, as Fortune also points out in the cleverly titled Gaming on the iPad, No One Knows You’re a Mom, the iPhone’s already blown the doors off of the market, paving the way for independent developers to flood the system with countless engaging titles. The sheer accessibility, value pricing and user-friendliness of said gizmo also bleeds over into its successor the iPad, which gets to piggyback on the goodwill the cellular handset and its huge array of offerings have already generated. Or, as yours truly puts it: “[The iPad] is a Trojan horse that gets gaming into the lives of those who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves gamers. But at the same time, what we have is a highly-connected, multi-functional, highly social, highly variable, and affordable gaming platform that serves a multitude of functions, better speaks to people’s lifestyles, and offers in many ways a much more rewarding gaming experience than what you’d get from a traditional $30, $40 cartridge or disc that demands a certain degree of commitment and investment from the player.”

Allowing game developers to sell direct to players, the gadget further allows for more experimentation and innovation on the part of software publishing houses than you’d find in the retail game publishing world – a major plus for gamers. Connectivity through 3G networks for on-demand online game downloads virtually anytime, anywhere is also a huge upside that the system enjoys over even the most cutting-edge portable gaming systems from Nintendo or Sony. Pair it with Apple’s upcoming Game Center social network for gamers – which, like PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, allows for multiplayer matchmaking, achievements and social elements – and you get a killer combination. Or, as we so demurely assert: “When [3G] hits critical mass, the iPad will be another big nail in the coffin of what you’d consider traditional gaming because at 1.5 lbs, you’re not tethered to a single place. You can just pick it up and go. You can’t do that with my Xbox 360. If you do, you”ll get a hernia.” Ahem.

About Scott Steinberg
Scott Steinberg is CEO of strategic consulting and product testing firm TechSavvy Global, and a noted keynote speaker and business expert. Hailed as a top tech expert and parenting guru by critics from USA Today to NPR, he’s also an on-air analyst for ABC, CBS and CNN.

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