Everyone seems to be loving the iPad and all of us even more excited about the new iPad 2. I personally am not an iPad user but I can see why people like playing games on them. Angry Birds according to me has been a major hit and everyone loves playing it although I personally haven’t really spent a lot of time playing it myself. Even before tablets came along, gaming on phones was never something that interested me. Coming from a PC gaming background, I found the 2D mobile phone games to be silly. Even Flash games on the web don’t really interest me one bit.
Going beyond the likes of Angry Birds
2011 – Tablets on Steroids
The recent advancements in the tablet space where dual-core processors and graphics accelerators are making their way onto tablets and mobile phones have got some of us thinking. Won’t tablets soon be powerful enough to play visually impressive mainstream 3D games. Okay, maybe they won’t run Crysis at a ridiculous resolution with antialiasing and details cranked up to the maximum, but they’re definitely going to be taken a little more seriously. We’re already seeing many FPS and racing games being played by users even at this stage. Things are only bound to get better this year and we haven’t even yet heard of the next generation of tablets. Pricing is another key to the success of tablets and smartphones. Apps aren’t as expensive as console or PC games. Most of these games are priced well under $10. A popular PC game would be at least three to six times that price. So people don’t mind spending the money and developers know very well that people won’t minding spending that money over and over again in a month. I won’t buy five PC titles in a month but I wouldn’t mind spending on five or six Android games for example.
The heart and soul of gaming – Consoles and PCs
PCs and consoles have been at war for a long time now and many claimed that PC gaming was going to be dead on the arrival of the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 when they first arrived. That didn’t quite happen but consoles did reach a whole new level. They might not offer great graphics today but they are definitely on the priority list of every single major game developer out there. FPS games, once thought to be PC’s domain, are no longer the same today. Developers are actually developing exclusive FPS games for the console and then sometimes, they might get ported to the PC – something completely unimaginable earlier in the decade. Out goes the quality of models and textures and out goes the performance benefits of high-end PC hardware. PC gamers are left with below-par quality with a buggy game engine. The bigger gaming market is with consoles and it’s no surprise game developers would choose them over PCs. With tablets coming in, will gaming consoles face the same fate as PCs?
What are tablets waiting for?
More and more money is being spent on tablet game development and it might show in the number of titles being designed for the PC and the consoles. Consoles might face a similar dilemma if tablets can offer somewhat similar performance and quality. As it is, tablets and smartphones are expected to outsell PCs this year It may not be easy sailing for tablets just yet. There are a few things stopping tablets from completely taking over. The biggest problem of them is the hardware interface. Touchscreens might be fun to play Angry Birds on, but an FPS with multiple controls and shortcut keys will definitely not offer the same experience that you get on a PC with a keyboard and mouse, for example. A tablet with a control set from a handheld console would be a good bet. Sony Ericsson’s new Xperia Play phone is an interesting product that runs the Android OS, has a decent hardware spec and most importantly has a full fledged control pad. Put a small control pad at the bottom of the screen and that might just work.
What do I think of all this? I have always been a PC gamer and I intend to stick around with it for sometime. I might invest in a Playstation 3 sometime for the sake of playing some exclusive titles. Tablets? I personally don’t find using them to be very comfortable to use, especially when you’re bending your neck looking down at it for long periods of time. Sitting on a couch in front of a large screen TV playing your favorite game is more like it.