Thursday, March 08, 2012

iPad 3 - Not different, but possibly a game changer.

I tried to ignore it. I managed to not bother finding any stream for the presentation itself. I also had Twitter closed for the duration. In fact, for a self-confessed gadget geek like myself, I made a reasonable shot at behaving like the rest of the world does. I, simply, was not getting swept away with the iPad 3 news.

But shortly after the big show? That's a different story. Now, I have seen the specs. Now, I know that it isn't called iPad 3. Or iPad HD. It is just ... iPad.

More of the same old iPad

This is somewhat confusing, of course, since there was already an iPad. Then, we got iPad 2. It was logical for the world to assume there would be a new moniker for the new hardware, but instead we can all now wonder what the old one will be renamed to, or even if it will continue to exist at all? Certainly the original model will now be remarkably cheap, as people who waited for the announcement before splashing the cash will realise that they are getting a better machine for the same price as they were going to pay for the iPad 2. Also, some may now look at the iPad 2 as a viable purchase, being as the price has dropped.

On to the important stuff though. Is this good for us gamers?

Well, basically, nothing has really changed. The machine itself is still beautiful, but nothing that has been added is likely to make anybody who still flies that uneducated "iOS games are just flash games" flag put it down and embrace the medium. Fine, they can be like that, stuck in the past. I'll be too busy enjoying wonderful titles like Beat Sneak Bandit on my "not an actual games platform" to listen to them, lest they make me miss a beat and therefore not get a clock.

I don't own an iPad, and this fact annoys me greatly. I just can't afford one, it's really as simple as that. And, if I am honest, it is not just annoying. It is actually holding me back in terms of my hobby. Right now, someone is making a phenomenally enjoyable game that I won't be able to play, because my iPhone is the old 3G one that nobody bothers optimising for any more. (Example: WHY THE HELL is the EA Sports 'RiderNet' app not available for my phone? It's just text and images!) I do also have access to an iPhone 4, but there are already some iPad-only titles out there. With the new horsepower, this number will only increase.

Look at that display resolution again. 2048 x 1536, also known as more than 3 million pixels. (Also known as more detail than the human eye can actually see.) And you just know that someone is already thinking of games that take full advantage of this. And that quad-core A5x chip? Again, somebody is right now making a game that will ONLY be possible on machines sporting it. Hopefully, most of the good stuff that does come out will be optimised for as many models as possible, but programmers are basically famous for being lazy, and not bothering to streamline unless they are forced to.


It is only to be hoped that this newer and more powerful iPad allows games to start existing that will open the eyes of more gamers to the possibilities inherent in iOS. The biased idiots will continue to bleat on about needing the "AAA experience" of the "bigger games", and sooner or later Epic, who seem to ADORE iOS, will give them something that they just can't say "No" to. And, on that day, things will shift in one of two directions.

Either the "hardcore" will open up and embrace the quirky and innovative titles that are literally spread all over the App Store, or the large publishers will just start making sure that there is an "as close to equal as possible" version of everything they make on every format. Either way, it can only be seen as a win-win scenario.

I still want an iPad. There are fools out there who still refuse to accept iOS as a viable gaming platform. Like I said, nothing has changed. But, with a bit of luck, things might be about to...

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