Is the iPad a Game Changer?

It’s Game Week here at iPad.AppStorm, and all this week we’re going to have tons of reviews, giveaways and other good stuff, all centered around the gaming world!

The iPad has been dubbed as one of the most revolutionary devices in the modern technological industry. It went from doing simple, productive tasks such as checking email and browsing the web, to creating movie trailers and full-length songs. Many corporations have adopted this platform into their daily work routine and even expanded what people can do on the go, freeing people from the chains of their desktops.

Like on any mobile computing platform, people have created games to test the limits of the device. But is the iPad powerful enough to take on the mobile gaming industry? Is there a market for tablet gaming? Can the iPad compete with the dedicated gaming console giants we all know and love today? Lets take a look.

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Is the iPad Powerful Enough?

The new iPad is equipped with a “dual-core Apple A5X custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip with quad-core graphics” as it states on their website. What does this mean?

A system-on-a-chip is very much like a motherboard on a desktop computer. It has a main processor, a graphics processor and memory, all on one chip. It’s divided into many small processors that handle different tasks such as video encoding for the camera or graphics power. The A5X has a dual-core CPU meaning that the main processor has two cores, while the graphics part of the chip comes with quad-core abilities.

With the Apple A5X processor, the iPad can bust out high quality, smooth graphics on the powerful Retina display in Infinity Blade 2.

With the Apple A5X processor, the iPad can bust out high quality, smooth graphics on the powerful Retina display in Infinity Blade 2.

I say “abilities” because it is very hard to test and benchmark this kind of thing. When comparing the A5X chip to the NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip found in Google’s Nexus 7, the iPad comes out on top when it comes to single-textured drawing and simple lighting. Having said that, it is very rare to see a game take full advantage of quad-core power. When comparing the two chips, Apple and NVIDIA went about their graphics power a little differently. Apple wanted to focus on the resolution the display is churning out — most likely to show off the Retina display — while NVIDIA focused on rendering and shading. It all depends on what the game requires and uses.

All in all, the A5X chip is a very powerful engine that pushes the iPad and its games into a new class of gaming.

Is There a Market for Tablet Gaming?

Yes there is. There are hundreds of thousands of games in the App Store — far more than the libraries of any dedicated console. Developers have hopped onto the tablet band wagon and pushed their creations to the biggest game store on the planet. Tablets sell. A lot. The iPad topped a global scale of 84 million units by March of 2012. In fact, a survey taken by PopCap (one of the popular game designers for the web and iOS) states that current iPad users are three times as likely to buy the next generation of iPad than those who have not purchased one.

There are thousands of games in the App Store in every genre imaginable.

There are thousands of games in the App Store in every genre imaginable.

Tablets also do a lot more than just games, so if a consumer were to think about using a device for entertainment, a tablet is more likely to be what they grab for due to both its portability, and its all-in-one design.

Purchasing tablets is also a little different than gaming consoles. A new reiteration of the iPad usually comes out every year. Each new version of the tablet comes with enhanced and increased performance while upgrading to a new one is as easy as restoring from a backup in iCloud. Having said that, tablets are more expensive. At the time of writing, the iPad 2 is selling for $400 and the new iPad for $500. But if you look at the prices of the games, they’re anywhere from $15 to one dollar. Compare this to the PS3 and Xbox and you can get a game for $60. Tack on about five of these and you’re on your way to getting another iPad.

Apps and games for the iPad are cheap which makes consumers more likely to buy, too.

In Conclusion

The iPad is perfect for gaming. It is portable, powerful and a phenomenal companion on the go. It has all of the multiplayer wireless gadgets so you can play with others, and a display that will knock the PS3 and Xbox’s socks off with 2048 x 1536 pixels (compared to 1080p or 1920 x 1080 pixels). Although first buying an iPad is a little more expensive, games are a fraction of the cost of console games with just as much entertainment. Everyone is buying an iPad nowadays, which gives game developers a huge audience when publishing to the App Store. Not to mention, the iPad is made for more than just games.

It is working — the iPad is quickly catching up in the gaming market. The iPad is definitely a game changer.


  • Ben

    I’d just like to point out a slight inaccuracy in your last paragraph. The XBOX and PS3 can display 1080p yes, but less than 1% of their games actually run at 1080p. Most games run at 720p (and sometimes lower then get upscaled to 720p like COD), since the current consoles hardware is incapable of maintaining playable framerates at 1080p.

    • http://www.idontgivearats.com bobcob

      Well Said.

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