After making inroads into the enterprise domain as reported by Good Technology, Apple's iconic tablet iPad is fast replacing gaming consoles to become the preferred platform for game makers.
Industry Gamers quoted EA CEO John Riccitiello as stating that iPad was now its "fastest growing platform" and consoles which used to be 80 percent of the industry in 2000 is currently 40 percent of the industry.
Riccitiello attributed the demise of gaming as a platform, to the accelerated change in hardware platform brought by devices like iPad which has compelled EA to rollout software "every 90 days". In comparison the gaming consoles followed a five-year development cycle, when new uniform hardware upgrades would be put out. Thus game developers had the luxury of sprucing up the infrastructure and software for the upcoming consoles.
Since consoles are specifically crafted to run games they offer higher compute power compared to a tablet. However Riccitiello downplayed this factor stating: "I think there's going to be an interesting debate when you get to processing power beyond what you can push up with a 1080p or a 720p [system]. Most people squint between 1080p and 720p, because what's the difference, seriously? I would argue that there's more to be provided in terms of value for the consumer in micro-transactions and social experiences and driving those better in cross-platform gameplay between a console and a PC and a handheld device and a social network than there is supercharging graphics."
Since Apple iPad was launched in March 2010 it has garnered a host of apps, majority of which are games. USA Today quoted Scott Steinberg, analyst for high-tech consulting and research firm TechSavvy Global, as stating that most of the iPad purchasers are casual gamers who who enjoy low-end simple social gaming experiences" or hard-core gamers wanting to "tap into the selection of thousands upon thousands of simple action, arcade, puzzle, word games and other offerings."
It has long been surmised that iPad is due to revolutionize the gaming industry. 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."
The new breed of tablets like iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 are no longer compute power deficient devices as the recently launched iPad 2 flaunts a dual-core 1GHz chipset, the A5 and offers superior graphical capability with the use of PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU.
AnandTech stated that as gaming evolves on the mobile space the geometric complexity will also increase and with the next round of ultra GPUs coming the mobile way the geometry performance will be further enhanced. Using the GLBenchmark 2.0 Apple's GPU used in iPad and iPad 2 were benchmarked on two different geometry tests - the textured triangle test and a fragment lit triangle test.
The original iPad managed 8.7 million triangles per second in the textured triangle test while iPad 2 managed 29 million triangles per second. And on the fragment lit test the PowerVR SGX 535 in the A4 could barely break 4 million triangles per second while the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 in the A5 managed just under 20 million.
Thus, with more hardware improvements tablets are fast becoming beasts which can take on consoles in future.
Another reason why iPad scores over gaming consoles when it comes to buying decisions was best explained by Olly Farshi, a game developer on Gigaom. Speaking from the buyers perspective over the iPad's edg, he used the analogy of a toy and platform calling the iOS a platform and 3DS a toy. Thus, he claims that consoles will continue to exist next to iPad as toys rather than competing platforms.
Lastly, the reach that tablets and smartphones currently offer is much higher than consoles, with possibilities of hitting higher sales volume which is higher for game makers on mobile or tablet space than consoles.
Gaming console-maker Nintendo, in a move to inspire interest in its 3DS games consoles, slashed its retail price from $250 to $170. The cut resulted in Nintendo having to revise its forecast from $1.4 billion to $257 million. For the three months preceding June 30, Nintendo only managed to sell 710,000 3DS consoles and 4.53 million 3DS games worldwide.