Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The iPad is a Game-Changer

Today, Apple announced their newest product: the iPad. It’s a 9.7” diagonal touch screen computer. The iPad is what netbooks should have been. It’s a sexy piece of technology. And it maxes out at just above $800, with the base model costing $499.

apple-creation-0097-rm-engiPad MMOs could revolutionize the genre. The graphical capabilities will not be up to par with even a low-end gaming PC, of course, but the ability to play on the go with a touch-screen interface—that is, literally, game-changing. The iPod Touch was a step forward—the iPad’s screen size make more serious gaming inevitable, and games designed with the touch interface in mind will change the way we play in a fundamental way. Think of commanding a starship with your hands, with a user interface ala Minority Report. Imagine drawing on your screen the path your character’s sword will travel. Multi-touch opens up so many fine-grained interactivity options for combat, crafting, maneuvering, and just about anything you do in a virtual world.

Think that typing on a software keyboard (one that appears on the screen and provides no tactile feedback) will wear thin? Apple has an accessory that allows you to plug the iPad into a keyboard dock and type more comfortably as the machine charges. Combining keyboard input and touch screen input will lead to some exciting changes in how we implement game interfaces.

Micro-transactions will be easily implemented through in-app purchases. We might not even need separate billing sites—just use the iTunes store and in-app purchasing mechanisms.

I’m really excited about this. This device is something special.

8 comments:

Genda Silverspike said...

Two words...

Apple Newton.

They'll probably sell a ton of these, but it's too big to be a iPod Touch replacement, and too small to be an effective computer.

Meh. They had to stub their toe sooner or later. Apple stock is down 2% today on the announcement.

TV by the Numbers said...

It's a big iPod Touch.

For those wanting more screen real estate, it could replace a Touch purchase, but I'm not sure how many people are in that group, vs. wanting something they can fit in their pocket.

Dblade said...

We already have this, but with a smaller screen size. It's called the Nintendo DS, and it already has action MMOs: Phantasy Star zero, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles.

The DS shows exactly what touch screens can do. Games already let you draw a path on the screen for sword screens-Ninja Gaiden for one does. I'm not really sure Apple,a company that has historically sucked for gaming, will do more or better than Nintendo already has.

evizaer said...

Genda and TV:

Most people seem to write this device off because it's not easy to pigeon-hole into an existing genre of products. We'll see how it behaves in the market--I think it presents us with a new category of simplified computing for around-the-house use.

dblade:

Comparing the DS to the iPad is like comparing a bottle-rocket to a the space shuttle. A tiny touch screen that can only take single-touch input from a stylus vs. a 10-inch display with multi-touch. The computing power of the devices does not compare at all, either.

Have you played iPod Touch/iPhone games? There's some fun stuff out there. Apple hasn't "historically sucked for gaming" either. In the 80s and early 90s Apple computers were a serious platform for gaming. Apple has little to do with the success of games on their platform--it's mostly user demand and nvidia and intel being in Microsoft's pocket for many years when PC gaming was maturing.

Anonymous said...

Unimpressed. No flash, no multitasking. Looks like a big iphone without the phone. So a jumbo ipod touch. Wheee.

Your Avid Gamer said...

As much as I'd like to see MMO's try new boundaries, the best this one is good for is to kick the idea around. Technology and consumers won't let this get into the market.

Unless... these iPad's sweep the market replacing the average PC within a decade. After that happens they need years to develop it. After that 15 year swing takes place we have a new technology in place.

Scenario 2, Guitar Hero style but for computers. A MMORPG can have a different set of controllers (like a touch pad) added onto a normal computer via a USB slot. This is the more reasonable approach to getting a large customer base to keep it going. If you needed to buy an entire system for this style gaming I don't think it would ever be the huge hit it could be.

Even with scenario 2, the game would have to be carefully developed and of course have the finances be tweaking it for years.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... General concensus is that the ipad is a flop with no nitch. I'll wait for the next gen with a real os before I make the plunge. Hell, no multitasking? Major bummer for people who wanted to use it for chatting while they surf the net. Overall, just not impressed.

evizaer said...

The market potential of the iPad is yet to be seen. When there's software out for the platform and users have it in their hands, we'll see how much of a bust it is. It's easy to slam something like the the iPad or iPod before they're released because the implications of these products aren't readily transparent to people who are not in the tech industry. Within the industry the iPad has had a shaky reception, too, but it's primarily because the device is not meant for the dedicated technology user as much as most apple products are. The iPad is in a unique bind: the people who cover tech aren't thrilled because it isn't aimed at them, and everyone else lacks the understanding of tech needed to see the implications.