One of the major attractions of the iPhone and iPod Touch is the games. Still, Apple’s iPad is being thought of as a gaming device secondarily; a ComScore survey indicates that only 30 percent of people said they’d use the iPad for gaming, whereas 34 percent said they’d use the tablet to read newspapers and 37 percent said they would read books.
However, games on the iPhone account for a half billion dollars in revenue,and games comprise half of the top 10 apps and nine of the top 10 free downloads. “[When the iPhone first came out] gaming probably wouldn’t have been high on the list,” said Michael Cai, Interpret analyst to Ad Age. “[But] Apple can bank on thousands of independent game developers and even traditional game developers and their creativity when it comes to iPad gaming.”
Ngmoco is reworking some games, like We Rule, Godfinger and Charadium, to work better on the iPad while Other Ocean is now creating the iPad games first before moving on to iPhone and iPod Touch versions. “What the iPad does is, it gives Apple and everyone who publishes [for iPad] the ability to intersect with another area of what I call a person’s entertainment map — and that’s in the home. Apple hasn’t really had that foothold in the house,” said Clive Downie, VP-marketing at Ngmoco. “It’s going to be a significant entertainment device; and gaming is a part of that.”
“Its bigger screen, high resolution and better quality are more conducive to group type of games. You can imagine a family gathering around the iPad to play,” said Mobclix co-founder Sunil Verma. “This time around it will be different than with the iPhone because the premium game publishers are developing for it right off the bat. You’ll see a lot of great big titles at launch.”
Not only does the iPad offer potential for new game play experiences, it could potentially be used as a springboard for premium priced apps. “They’re talking about applications that can be run along with other media in the home and even integrated (with other devices),” said Brad Spirrison, managing editor of Appolicious.
“The hypothesis is that the iPad will be better off from Day 1 being supported by the game community than the iPhone or iTouch were,” noted Peter Farago, VP-marketing at Flurry and a former gaming exec at Digital Chocolate and Electronic Arts. “People have a better understanding now of Apple and its ability to get a large installed base. And that’s what game makers want.”
Some wonder, though, if the iPad’s higher price won’t put it out of the market that’s currently dominated by the iPad Touch. “Sure, my kids want an iPad, but the iPod Touch is more compelling (for gaming) in both form factor and price point relative to the iPad,” said Raven Zachary, president of mobile agency Small Society.