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iPad games are a big opportunity June 28, 2012

Posted by jeremyliew in games, games 2.0, gaming, ipad, tablet.

I posted recently about discovery being the challenge in gaming. This is very true of mobile gaming where the level of noise is very high.

I think that iPads, and tablets broadly, present a current opportunity for game developers. According to Pew Internet Life, one in three Americans owns a tablet or ereader as of January 2012. Many publishers acknowledge that tablets are going to be very important gaming platforms. John Ricatello, CEO of EA, recently said that iPad is EAs fastest growing platform. Says the International Business Times,

Reuters reported Gonzague de Vallois, senior vice president of publishing at Gameloft, saying: “The iPad is the fourth step in the gaming evolution. The first being the microcomputer, the second being the game console and the third being smartphones.”

Even Microsoft, with it’s new Smartglass product, acknowledges that the iPhone and iPad will be important gaming platforms.

Yet today, there are far fewer games built specifically for iPads. Discovery is substantially easier for iPad than iPhone as it is less crowded. And even most “HD” iPad games are simply upresed version of the iPhone game. Yet tablet gaming has the opportunity to be quite different to phone gaming:

  • Longer session times
  • More screen real estate for display
  • Multi-touch and other more complicated gestures more feasible
  • Opportunity for co-op and competitive play with another person sharing the same device

If the tablet is fundamentally an entertainment device that lives in the living room (versus the phone being a utility device that lives in the pocket and is frequently used out of the home), then you would expect different use cases to emerge, and different games to address those use cases. There is a window where better products can lead to better discoverability. I expect this window to close over the next 18-24 months.

Who do you think is doing the best job of optimizing the tablet gaming experience?


1. Ben Milstead - June 29, 2012

Nice writeup, Jeremy, agreed, although dev budgets are typically higher for tablet games — everything in your list above, for example, would up the budget/risk, potentially offsetting the gain from the window (I’d give the window the nod at this point, though).

2. Mark Sroufe - June 30, 2012

Wikipad — which is supposed to be shipping this fall — is a 10″ tablet being aimed specifically at gamers. You can use it as a regular tablet (Android ice cream sandwich) or dock it with a game controller piece (fits around the bottom and part way up the sides in landscape mode). They are betting big that tablets will be a major mobile gaming device. Oh, and it is using a parallax barrier technology to deliver glasses-free 3D (you can also view in 2D of course).

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