Here's the Vision of iPad Gaming Greatness Apple Overlooked

With the announcement of the iPad and the demos of its gaming chops, you would think gamers would be happy. But it seems like Apple missed an opportunity to take mobile gaming somewhere new—by using the iPad as a hub for networked iPhones and iPod Touches. The OS was updated to support peer-to-peer play, why not connect the iPhone with its mother ship? Consider the following scenario.

A group of friends is huddled around a coffee table to play Zynga's Poker Live. On the table as a centerpiece is an iPad—it shows a 6 and a pair of Aces as the flop, with a current pot of $100,000. Each player looks at their hand on their iPhones, considers how much they are going to bet. One player taps their bet higher and then flicks their chips off of their iPhone screen and onto the pot pile on the iPad. That's how you do touchscreen Texas Hold'em.

Using the iPad in a networked game with iPhones would revolutionize mobile gaming. Imagine board games: The Scrabble board in the center, with everyone examining their tiles on their personal screens. Electronic Arts is already on board the iPad train—make it happen, guys!

More traditional video-game experiences could be enhanced as well. Strategies games ala Command and Conquer with the battlefield in the center, but each player controls their units on their iPhones; Puzzle games ala Peggle where players deal with their own set of pieces, but effect the larger group in the center; Third-person shooters ala Gears of War where you can see how the tide is turning on the gunfight on the iPad.

So why did Apple not discuss how iPads use peer-to-peer play, nevermind connectivity with the iPhone? I think with all things iPad, Jobs and Company played it safe and didn't add anything new except iBooks—which wasn't yet proven innovative. It will take an iPad 2, with cameras and Augmented Reality, with multitasking and a larger screen, for the iPad gaming revolution to really begin.

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  • Milly

    There's a new site for the ipad/iphone called At the moment it's only for play money but they're meant to be launching for real money this Friday the 8th October. Seems pretty good.

  • C Smith

    That's pretty close, but a better example would be MADDEN. The iPhone/iPod Touch would make it so your opponent couldn't see what play you're calling.

  • Daniel Klajnberg

    I really think that apple missed out not including a camera on the back of the ipad, where augmented reality could be taken to the next level. The ipad could be transformed into a window that merges reality with virtuality.

  • Harald Sæ

    I would love to see wifi brigde (ad hoc network) opportunity to support this kind of gaming or to use your iPhone/Pod/Pad to upload pictures from your SD card.

  • Filipe Frota

    They should have put an integrated camera on the device for video calls...
    The ipad has a latent potential for gamers, djs /musicians, designers… but IMO the main target here is business people… travelers.. people on the go in general. I can’t wait to have all my magazine subscriptions in this thing. The magazine format for the Ipad will be industry changing.
    Amazon’s Jeff Bezos must be asking himself why the hell he did not made a deal with Steve Jobs for a Joint venture for releasing a co-branded E-Reader… Who’s gonna stick to that Kindle thing, instead of getting an Ipad? Amazon almost had it! They underestimated apple by thinking that the first tablet in the market would be the winner. I wonder if they will be able to have a payback on the Kindle project.

  • Kevin Ohannessian

    I can think of many situations where I would want to go electronic over actual cards or board games: you are playing a mixed group of local players and online players, you are traveling on a train or plane and lose cards or pieces are a hassle, it is cheaper to buy a $10 board game app than a $30 board game, it is easier to carry about an iPad instead of a dozen board games, and certain games are quicker and better with electronic aid (Risk, Carcassone).

  • Andy Sauder

    If you're all sitting at a table together, why not just use cards? Or scrabble...? I don't see wanting to game on my own ipod as well as watch a monitor in the middle. I think iPad vs iPad would always be more fun.