At Apple’s event today, Steve Jobs revealed the iPad, a tablet device that resembled an embiggened iPod Touch. What did it mean for gamers? Games from the current iPhone OS will run on it, either in a small window at the original resolution, or scaled up to fill the 9.7-inch screen. EA’s Travis Boatman was there, and Need for Speed was shown.
Another guest on stage was Mark Hickey from Gameloft, the biggest selling game developer in the app store. He demonstrated a shooter game called Nova, a prototype made in just a few weeks. Featuring not only higher resolutions, but more complex touch controls, it showed what a game made for the iPad could be. With such a large touchscreen and 1GHz processor the potential for future gaming experiences is vast.
But what does the game industry at large think of it? Here is what some shared with me:
Bart Decrem, CEO, Tapulous (Tap Tap Revenge)
“This is big because it will build on the success of the iPhone and iPod touch, increasing the presence of the iPhone platform in the living room and the bedroom. That means users will spend more time in front of iPhone OS devices and less time in front of their TV and traditional console devices, which ultimately means they will spend more time in Tap Tap Revenge and other iPhone games. So this is part of a big shift from traditional console games aimed at hardcore gamers, and towards casual, social games enjoyed by everyone during their spare minutes. Tap Tap Revenge current titles will run unmodified on the iPad, and the new form factor opens up a world of new possibilities–for example, two-player mode will be a blast on the iPad. We’re going to aggressively explore how we can take full advantage of the new capabilities.”
Patrick Seybold, Senior Director, Corporate Communications, Sony Computer Entertainment America (PlayStation Portable)
“The introduction of the iPhone and iPod Touch have unintentionally aided our business by increasing visibility of handheld gaming devices with casual gaming consumers. From our initial observation, the iPad would do the same and could even further increase visibility on the gaming sector. There is continued opportunity to graduate those users to the PSP and PSPgo for a richer portable gaming and entertainment experience, and the PlayStation brand is where they’ll find that.”
Jonathan Kromrey, General Manager of Apple Games, Namco Networks (Pac-Man Championship Edition)
“With Apple’s announcement, Namco Networks is more excited than ever about creating AAA games that take full advantage of the gorgeous 9.7 inch display, improved wireless WiFi /Bluetooth, the blazing 1GHz A4 chip, HD and double-pixel support out at launch. With more than 23 Million Namco Apps downloaded, we feel the iPad will play a significant part of our goal to reach any player, anywhere at any time.”
Susan Wu, CEO, Ohai (City of Eternals)
“We’re pretty excited about the iPad. Apple has an incredible track record of opening up entirely new markets with simple & elegant consumer devices. And since our entire mission at ohai is about bringing World of Warcraft caliber MMOs to as broad of an audience as possible, we’re going to be making full use of these new platforms. Full scale MMOs on your touchscreen personal device, anywhere and everywhere? Awesome!”
Sean Ratcliffe, Vice President of Marketing, Sega (Sonic the Hedgehog)
“We are excited about the idea of the Apple Tablet. It opens up the options for different types of gameplay–similar to what the DS and iPhone did when those came out. Different ways of playing games opens the door for the developers to be more creative and you come out with some great gameplay experiences and some really innovative control schemes. I can’t even begin to imagine what we will see over the next year or two. A different way to play MMOs like World of Warcraft that is completely touch screen interactive? Some great puzzle games that will appeal to any kind of gamer–both casual and hardcore? RPG’s that take advantage of the tablet to create even more interesting upgrade systems? Playing some kind of great online adventure using the touch screen and GPS/satellite technology to uncover mysteries or have an adventure in different parts of the world? With the tablet–as with any other new system and new technology–there is a clean slate in front of us.”
Steve Youngwood, Executive Vice President of Digital Media, Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group (SpongeBob Jellyfish Jam)
“Gaming is a huge part of how we entertain our audiences online at Nickelodeon. We try to offer as much access to our games as possible, so the more compelling the device, the better. We’ve launched several successful apps on the iPhone and iTouch and look forward to expanding onto the iPad as well.”