Perhaps as unsurprising as the PSPGo! was Steve Jobs’ recent reveal of the Apple iPad this week in a San Francisco press conference. The ebook/very large iPhone had the support of the iPhone developers over at EA even before its launch, and Peter Moore (head of EA Sports) recently weighed in on the device in a talk just before the tablet’s reveal.
“If it’s got a great screen, some buttons, you can turn it on and it connects to the Internet, it’s got the ability to be a games machine.” said Moore.
Other developers have had a more cautious response to the device, like the recently quoted David Whatley, CEO of Critical Thought Games, makers of the #1 iPhone hit, geoDefense Swarm. “The existing iPhone install base is already massive, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The biggest impact is that the iPad could mean millions of potential new App buyers – both for existing products given the native app support, and new games developed from the ground up. As predicted, the device is basically a scaled up iPhone using the same essential SDK and App Store mechanism, and that’s a good thing for small, indie studios. I believe the combination of a proven gaming interface and an astoundingly successful content delivery model means the iPad could be just as much of a boon for gaming as the iPhone was.”
Sean Ratcliffe, Sega of America’s VP of Marketing, also had a contained enthusiasm for the new platform. “Any new technology such as this has a huge impact on the gaming space. When the iPhone was announced no one anticipated the vast amount of apps and games that would be coming down the wire and the iPad opens up the same possibilities. Great new technology means great opportunity and we anticipate some exciting games coming out. At this point there is nothing we can talk about specifically on the games side. But we have shown tremendous success with our IPhone games (like Super Monkey Ball and the classic Sonic titles) so we will definitely look at how we can be as successful with the next generation(s) of Apple hardware.”
Another iPhone dev-company CEO, Dave Castelnuovo of Bolt Interactive (creators of the best-selling iPhone game, Pocket God) had this to say, “I think it will extend the iPhone’s reach into the gaming industry but it will not be as important as the iPhone, at least not for a while. There are some issues with multi-touch that prevent it from becoming the perfect gaming machine. Not having the tactile feedback of real buttons makes it hard to get really immersed in a core gaming experience. That said, developers will probably tune the touch interface to the point where gamers are more comfortable with it. People really resisted using a console for FPS games at first, we may see a similar path with the iPad. We are going to wait and see. We will probably add iPad specific support to future updates but the amount of time we spend on the iPad depends on their sales figures.”
Analysts have been equally skeptical, with EEDAR’s Jesse Divinch quoted as stating that, “Right now the iPhone infrastructure is not conducive to a healthy bottom-line for third-party publishers, games are just too cheap with the most premium of games retailing on the iPhone for $10 (or $7 in publisher revenue). If third-party publishers are going to treat the iPad as a serious gaming device the average selling price per game has to at least double, which is difficult to achieve, especially when you consider that your $19.99 game in the App store is competing against games that sell for $1 to $5.”
With the literal overload of information coming in from all sides on Apple’s new toy, its difficult to sort how the device will fare in the market from developer and analyst opinion alone. But wade through it if you will, and give us your thoughts below, Elder-Geeks! Will Apple’s tablet succeed at further broadening the company’s success in the gaming front, or will it just stagnate and split the iPhone market?