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The iPad is Made for More Hardcore Games

Now let’s all agree that the iPad is a huge iPod touch/iPhone.  Now let’s agree that the iPad is the “missing link” between laptops and phones.

Agreed?  Agreed.

Now, based on those two assumptions, shouldn’t the games be more… in depth?  Laptop/computer games are very close to console games; in fact, they are console games.  Games such as Team Fortress 2, Battlefield 2142, and Halo all appear on computers.  And logically, if the iPad is better than a phone but lesser than a computer/console, shouldn’t the games reflect that also?

Now let’s bring this to another notch and bring in the portable factor.  Quite frankly, for me, the iPad almost never goes out of the house.  Sure, the whole point is for it to be portable, but with a Wifi-only iPad, it’s hard to be really “portable”.  On top of that, the 9.7 inch screen is far from fit-in-your-pocket material.  Plus, it doesn’t have the phone capabilities, leaving the iPad quite more like a laptop or computer in that perspective.  It just isn’t very portable.

And the portable factor is what makes iPhone games iPhone games: quick, pick-up-and-play, casual games.  Fruit Ninja, Flight Control, heck, even Madden NFL or Real Racing 2.  All are built to quit out and open the app up to find your game paused right where you left it.  All are built to play for either one minute or an hour.  And most importantly, all don’t have much complexity to them: slice the fruit, draw some lines, tap a square, tap some arrows and follow the grey asphalt road (although Real Racing 2 is a little bit more complex than my description).  The entire game experience is built around being easy to pick up, easy to put down, and easy to pick right back up again.

And if the iPad really isn’t portable, then why should the games be?  Fruit Ninja HD, Flight Control HD, Madden NFL HD, and most likely, inevitably, a Real Racing 2 HD.  There are a numerous number of casual games on the iPad, all built around the same principles that the iPhone is built around; and I feel like I’m being repetitive, but here it is again: iPhone equals portable, iPad does not.  iPhone equals easy to pick up, iPad… you get the picture.

So with all those factors put in—portability and the fact that it’s between a laptop and phone—it’s easy to view the iPad as different from the iPhone and, consequently, the iPad should be treated like so.  And while the App Store is filled with indie developers, there are those big guns out there that just rehash their games to fit the iPad screen; those guys need to step up.

And of course, the indie devs can too.  And ideally, in my opinion, games should be somewhere along the lines of Aralon in depth, presentation, and overall expansiveness; that fact should be the only reason for hiked up prices on the iPad App Store.

The iPad is more than just a big iPhone; the only reason it still is a big iPhone is because of the games that are holding it back.  Let’s get some more depth, even though the prices will inevitably rise.  The iPad has so much more potential than receiving just rehashed, HD versions of iPhone games.




  1. Quick Fingers on Wednesday 29, 2010

    Interesting… I have been developing a hardcore space trading game for the iPad so I do hope you are right!

  2. defcubusal on Wednesday 29, 2010

    Ive always thought of hardcore gaming as subjective… And what people make of it, I’ve seen people play angry birds like a hardcore game and I’ve seen people play mw2 casually. Just a thought. Also I believe if people are going to look at the iPad as a betweener.. They really need to boost the memory and ram. Not just as so.. Considering it’s potentially weaker than the 4th generation touch as far as processing and ram considering it has to power that larger screen. Overall I agree with this article.

  3. Jasmine on Wednesday 29, 2010

    I really appreciate your point of view!

  4. Robbert on Wednesday 29, 2010

    I fully agree with this article. Can you recommend any complex in depth iPad games available?

  5. Daniel on Wednesday 29, 2010

    Aralon HD, Warpgate, and Galaxy on Fire 2 are all pretty deep games for the iPad.

  6. Ryan on Wednesday 29, 2010

    Daniel,

    Great article! I love your perspective and completely agree. However, I think the problem is rooted in the fact that Apple really underestimated and consequently under-equipped the iPad. Even iPod games blown up (double the pixel count) on an iPad screen tend to lag. How can devs make more complex games on limited hardware? I am waiting to see what Apple does with the 2nd Gen iPad because if they do up the resolution (which is the number one rumor), then they will really have to boost the hardware. If they don’t, maybe Google will win the tablet market.

    The iPad can be a really great device with just a little more horsepower under the hood. Right now, it is like driving a Ferrari with a lawn mower engine. In a way, it doesn’t make sense.

    Again, great article!

  7. Daniel on Wednesday 29, 2010

    Hey Ryan,

    Definitely agree with the lack of power in the device, but it only is a 1st generation model. Hopefully once it gets to the 4th or 5th generation like the iPhone and iPod touch are at now it’ll be a lot faster.