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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.