The release of the new iPad, with its upgraded graphics, processing power and the ultra sexy retina display, has big name video game publishers foreseeing the device as a potentially massive disruption in the console video games market.
Massive User Base
Sales figures for the iPad compared against the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 reveal the gap between them is closing fast: The PS3 has sold 62 million units, while the Xbox 360 has moved slightly more at 65 million. With 55 million iPads sold to date, and the release of the new iPad recently, the attractiveness of that growing user base of potential gamers can’t be ignored.
The new quad core processor and onboard memory on the latest iPad currently rival Sony's and Microsoft’s consoles, leading Epic Games president Mike Capps to believe
that "Apple is definitely building their devices as if they care a lot about 'triple-A' games". While Capps believes that the standard console player enjoys playing video games through a wireless controller and on a big screen, its not hard "to imagine a world where an iPad is more powerful than a home console, where it wirelessly talks to your TV and wirelessly talks to your controller", essentially supplanting the definition of what a 'console' is.
EA's Frank Garibeau agrees, seeing the effect of that transformation on the publisher side as being a relatively simple on. He believes that when the device rivals the Xbox 360 and can seamlessly connect to a TV it won’t be a 'big deal' to the company, as they'll "put the game through the iPad and have it display through the television." That growing user base of 55 million buyers is not lost on a company like Crytek either, best known for cutting edge video game engines: "As more people come to these platforms, we have to follow our fans" said studio manager Kristoffer Waardahl.
Another element bolstering the theory that Apple is aiming at Nintendo and Sony is the rumored
release of their television set later this year. The so called 'Itv" is reputed to be running a modified IOS platform, which obviously has an impact on console video game sales when you consider that Apple’s APP store could run natively on it. The news, coupled with the EA scenario of a powerful iPad as a wireless 'console game' hub, would enable it to compete equally with digital distribution services like Steam and Origin, and expand the cross platform opportunities of apps within the APP store.
Apple has a magnificent way of innovating existing systems and bringing them together. An iPad with console spec hardware, wireless controller options and publisher support from the likes of EA and Epic could severely shake up the Nintendo / Microsoft / Sony market trinity. We could see cross system integration ranging from multiplayer across iPhones and iPads to a whole new controller feature set when you consider Siri. Not to mention, while Sony and Microsoft have 'tacked on' media options like Netflix on their devices, a fully featured iPad that natively does everything from iTunes to social networking as well as video games, is a powerful combination the competition cannot afford to ignore
Douglas Stewart is a staff writer at iQU. When he is not writing, he devours books, plays an excessive amount of games, and is working on his upcoming fiction novel that (naturally) involves intersections between technology, gaming and society. Follow Douglas @TheGearCog