Apple's iPad: The Next Gaming Platform?

In a recent episode of Pach-Attack over on Game Trailers, games analyst Michael Pachter said that Apple has stumbled into the games industry "by accident." Currently Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch are proving not only to be incredible tools, but also as competitive gaming platforms, combining both functionality with entertainment in a way Nintendo and Sony have yet to seriously grasp.

"I don't think that Steve Jobs, when he came up with the iPod, ever thought about it being a gaming device," Michael Pachtner said. "The iPod Touch is a gaming device. As I've said before, I think the iPad is going to be a gaming device and I think Apple is seeing that this type of software is driving hardware sales. I think it's going to encourage more development to sell more hardware and I think Apple's going to become a serious gaming company."

Apple's App Store is already seeing attempts to make the iPod Touch and iPhone platforms serious contenders. Gameloft's N.O.V.A. is considered as the platform's Halo, offering an incredible sci-fi shooting experience with easy-to-manage touch screen controls. Chillingo's Ravensword: The Fallen King presents an excellent Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion type experience at the palm of your hand. Modern Combat: Sandstorm, which is another FPS by Gameloft, offers both offline and multiplayer military shooter action in the same vein as Bad Company and Modern Warfare.

So why doesn't Apple just create a game-specific console? Namely because the company doesn't develop games internally. "The difference between Apple and Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft is that Apple is not known for internal software development so I don't think you're going to get an Apple games group like you have Microsoft Games Studios," he said. "So Apple's going to be solely dependent on third parties to support their console in the future and that's a shaky proposition."

Hopefully we'll see high-quality launch games taking advantage of the iPad's hardware when the device hits the market over the next few months.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • matt87_50
    I don't think it so much became obvious that the ipod touch was good for games, more that it became obvious that its pretty useless for everything else... even as an ipod... its bigger and has much less storage than the classic counterpart. Jobs himself even said this, they are focusing on games because that's all it's remotely good for.

    people like games. they like making games and they like playing games. all Apple needed to do was NOT restrict them - even then people were hacking doom into the original ipods - just give it beefy specs, and an open(ish) dev process and you will have games, thats what they got. it doesn't even matter that the control system is TERRIBLE for most games.

    so yeah, its not hard to make a gaming machine, in fact you pretty much have to go out of your way not to. If Apple were serious about gaming I think they would have added some physical controls.
  • sicpric
    Apple? Games? What planet am I on?
  • babybeluga
    I'll take "The Ipad is still useless" for "doesn't matter if it's under $1000", Alex.
  • Wolygon
    The iPod Touch good for gaming?

    I FAIL to see any portable console as a "good" gaming device, let alone something from apple.
  • JoeyDV
    Anti-Apple rhetoric aside, this is simply proof that the gaming market is bigger than anyone realizes. It fills space like gases fill volumes.

    Whether or not a large touch screen is suitable for ALL games, there are some games that will do very well on that platform. Need I mention the Wii? Some stuff works. Others, not so much.

    If anything, as often-marginalized gamers, we should be holding the iTouch/Pad up as precedent that gaming is truly mainstream, for expert and novice alike, and that proper development and delivery is still untapped.
  • climber
    The whole, distribute TV shows and movies via the internet in small little windows and gaming on iPod/iPad, seems to me about rolling back the resolution and detail of content, since it's such a resource bandwidth hog, hardware spec burden to have super high quality gaming. I myself life photo-realistic environments, very sophisticated AI and really good cinematics and storyline... so you can imagine what I'd like to do with the impish little Wii... But it is easier, more cost effective for developers and you can roll out a large variety of content more quickly if it's designed for 480x320, and there's no fps battles in benchmarking going on. I hope the days of serious high quality gaming isn't over (see the development costs of modern games in a recent Toms article).
  • madass
    I'm one's mentioned this yet.
    Can it run Crysis?
    Considering the fact that it has a 1ghz single core.....I'd say its doubtful.
  • Someguyperson
    Really? The Nexus One has a better GPU in it. The iPad is just ARM parts stuck together with an Apple logo on it. Why devolop games on it when it's a closed system with a closed OS, when a devoloper could design a game for Android or Windows Mobile 7 and have the same hardware with a much more open OS AND more users. Sorry Michael Pachter, NO!
  • knownballer
    I think people are missing the point. Hardcore gamers are part of a very small minority. If this becomes anywhere near as popular as the iphone/ipod touch was it could very well push games into the mainstream community like no other platform save the wii has. I would say most indie games should be playable on the ipad from a control standpoint. I can already see the possibility for some great rts games, though it's a shame apple didn't use tegra...