Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPad have been revolutionary devices in communications and technology. The tablet and the iPad in particular have heralded what Steve Jobs called the post-PC era with consumers trading in their desktops for the smaller tablet computer. But smartphones and tablets have also changed the face of gaming as more and more gamers have been attracted to casual games like Rovio's Angry Birds leading to declining sales among the gaming establishment especially with regards to handheld consoles. Nintendo's 3DS had tepid sales before the company was forced to slash prices. Sony embraced casual gamers by allowing PS Vita users the ability to download and play casual games with the Vita. Now with Apple's new iPad boasting a more powerful processor and a screen resolution that is better than an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3 will gamers soon be ditching consoles for iPads?
Certainly Apple and game developers are hoping that will be the case once the new iPad hits the market. According to Tim Cook during the keynote speech announcing the iPad 3 that many iPad users prefer the tablet to consoles.
"We asked iPad users who also had a portable gaming device, and even a gaming console, their favorite device for playing games. Their response? iPad. In fact, for so many activities, they responded iPad. This is incredible when you remember that this device has been on the market for less than two years."
Other video game developers from Electronic Arts and Crytek, famous for Crysis, are looking for ways to transfer hardcore games to the iPad. The next generation iPad could also play the "triple-A" games those with the best graphics and cost millions to produce.
"Apple is definitely building their devices as if they care a lot about 'triple-A' games," said Mike Capps, president of Epic Games, the studio behind Gears of War for consoles and Infinity Blade for the iPad.
EA has already bought some of its stable of games to the iPad while Crytek is going to release its first iPad game this spring. Developers are attracted to the iPad's strong consumer base. With Apple selling more than 55 million iPads there is a large and steadily growing consumer market that could match the consumer base of Microsoft and Sony. Sony's PlayStation 3 has sold 62 million units and Microsoft's Xbox 360 has sold more than 65 million units.
While many hard-core gamers still prefer the form factor of traditional consoles this could change if a Bluetooth controller is developed for the iPad.
"It is quite easy 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 and becomes your new console," Capps said in an interview.
Meanwhile the gaming stalwarts aren't necessarily worried about the advent of iPad gaming. Nintendo is set to release its new Wii U console later this year while Microsoft and Sony aren't going to be rushing new consoles just because the iPad has better graphics.
"Regardless of the device, consumers have repeatedly demonstrated that they care more about the experience than the tech specs," Nintendo's US executive vice president of sales and marketing, Scott Moffitt said.
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