iPad 2 vs. NGP: Handheld Games Battle

iPad 2 vs. NGP: Handheld Games Battle

Apple’s iPad 2 adds another contender to the increasingly crowded handheld gaming market. A niche that was once exclusively Nintendo’s domain is suddenly filled to the brim with palm-sized systems jostling one another and aching for the buyer’s attention.

The iPad 2, however, isn’t quite as portable as some of the available systems, nor is it as portable as some of the systems that are waiting in the wings. That doesn’t matter, according to Dave Castelnuovo, the creator of the iPhone app Pocket God. The iPad 2 is equal to Sony’s upcoming New Generation Portable (NGP) in terms of graphical horsepower, says Casteluovo, which will make it a serious contender as the handheld wars heat up over the course of the year.

“You’ll see the iPhone and iPad added to the cross platform strategy of more AAA games,” Casteluovo told Modojo on March 11. “Especially considering that PSP2/[NGP] will be starting at zero install base when it is released compared to the millions of iPads that are currently on the market. Infinity Blade is a great example of Epic finding a way to make their game backward compatible with the old iPad and unlock a new level of graphical detail for iPad 2.”

It’s true that the NGP will have to find a way to woo a userbase that will have solidified around the iPad, iPad 2 and Nintendo 3DS by the time Sony releases its new handheld. And having access to pretty graphics on the road is a compelling reason for taking careful note of a handheld system’s horsepower.

In the end, though, how much will it matter? The iPad isn’t a very popular gaming device for numerous reasons, and the iPad 2 is still a bit unwieldy for video games, even though it’s thinner and lighter. Moreover, as Nintendo has proven over and over again, processing power means little: Everything comes down to the games, and the battery life (though the Nintendo 3DS’s battery lifespan of three-ish hours does admittedly level the playing field a bit).

The NGP is also engineered with games in mind, whereas the iPad 2 is a multitasking platform. Ergo, the NGP will (presumably) be far more comfortable to hold and game on for long periods of time, thanks to little things like hand-grips, analogue sticks, and d-pads.

Developer excitement over a platform is a good thing, though: Even though we can sit here and list reasons why the iPad 2 isn’t an A+ platform for games, all it takes is one fellow or lady to say, “Hey, let’s tweak this and improve things by 1,000%.” For now, though, tablet computers aren’t ideal for long-term serious gaming sessions. But it’s okay; we’ll manage. There are scant few choices on the market, ha ha, but we’ll manage.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.


  1. Hm… interesting… Well, I aint getting non of them… MAYBE the NGP, if it looks good. But, if the ipad 3 comes with a retina display, a quad-core processor, and a gig of memory, then I think ill be saying goodbye to the NGP… Really was hoping for the retina display on the ipad 2, but, oh well…

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