The amount of hype leading to Apple's iPad reveal this week was astounding. You couldn't avoid it if you tried (but why would you?). It's difficult to imagine how even Apple could have lived up to the expectations for their latest product. The iPad has been revealed, however, and we decided to check in with some of the same iPhone developers we previously asked to make predictions about the then-mysterious new tablet device. Did the iPad live up to their expectations? Not for everyone -- yet.
The Developer: David Papazian, Mobigame
What's He Made? The stylish-looking futuristic puzzle game Edge.
"There were so much expectation around the iPad that it was impossible for Apple to please everyone's wishes.
Anyway, the product looks good for a first version, but we don't have enough technical info yet to comment. Nevertheless, we can already imagine a new kind of casual games for the iPad, but it is probably not a platform that gamers will buy at this price. The upscale capability is a good news for all iPhone developers, and Apple's CPU looks very powerful. For the drawbacks, I am disapointed by the games presented during the show -- none of them really used the platform, but like for the iPhone, innovation will come from indies.
We will definitively support Apple's new baby, we are working on a very innovative sci-fi 3D game that will take advantage from the iPad's big screen. An HD version of Cross Fingers will follow soon, and maybe EDGE HD too if EA succeed to release Mirror's Edge for the iPhone, but that's another story!"
The Developer: Randy Smith, Tiger Style
What's He Made? The beautiful (sounding, playing, looking) Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor.
"On one hand, you can imagine making bigger, better, more sophisticated games specifically targeting the iPad. Tiger Style is currently working on prototypes for our game #2, and our favorite concept could be greatly improved on the iPad -- we'd have more screen real estate and could pursue more of a "sit down and play" mentality, both of which would justify adding more depth and production value. Similar to what we already did with Spider, such a game would have a certain amount of "casual game" instant appeal but also take our players seriously and give them a solid play value like you expect from a console game. This is a really appealing concept to me -- casual, immediate games that are also high production value and worth spending time getting to know.
But on the other hand, I worry about the size of the install base. The iPad targets a spot between the iPhone and the MacBook. Is that a large space? Are there a lot of gamers who feel like they need a device in that space? Unless the market gets very large indeed, it seems like the extra production effort would not recoup its costs. In the first few months, we're likely to see a lot of degenerate 99 cent apps that make limited use of the iPad's improved specs. Whether we see larger production values after that depends on how the iPad market grows.
I think there is some dreamland where the iPad becomes adopted by players as a legitimate console-like gaming device. Sorta like a superpowered App Store where developers can target a "real computer" but still reach a large and open-minded (compared to consoles) mobile device audience. That could really have a significant impact on gaming if it happened, but for a whole host of reasons that level of success seems unlikely. On the flip side, the iPad could just become a tertiary device you might target when you build games for the App Store, not unlike how we currently see the Android -- interesting, but the numbers aren't there yet. That would be kind of unfortunate."
The Developer: Harvey Smith, Arkane Studios
What's He Made? Other than Deus Ex?! He worked on the eccentric puzzler Karma Star.
"I wish it had video conferencing built in, but the pleasure will be in using it. I love the notion that it's translating the computer into something new, letting go of some accreted design legacy."
The Developer: Daniel Boutrous, Adept Games (and G4tv.com contributor -- check out his Tekken 6 review!)
What's He Made? One of the iPhone's better brain-teasers, Trixel.
"I was pretty underwhelmed. To me, it seems like they're simply laying a footstone in the newly emerging consumer tablet market, while conveniently aiming to eat some of Kindle's pie before they get too big with their forthcoming app initiative.
Looking at it as a gaming device with design intentions, I like that I have more screen real estate to play with (1024x768 I believe), but I'm not convinced this iteration of the device will fly off the shelves, simply as design = the art of solving problems, and this currently doesn't solve any new ones, save for screen size, that makes the asking price worth it. $500 is too much for a game console in my opinion, let alone a giant iPod Touch.
Ergonomically, it seems a tad impractical for many currently existing games, but designs will emerge -- like Flight Control, which will rest perfectly within its form factor.
Personally, I would speculate that Apple wanted to ship this with the bells and whistles people think are coming with OS4 [iPhone 4.0], but they couldn't ready it in time. Currently, my sense of the device is that it is only half-baked, and the truly intended pitch is to come in a later version."
"Love it! They hit the ball out of the park with the price points. They will sell millions of them, and I'm already downloading the SDK to make sure I get a geoDefense ready that takes advantage of the extra screen real-estate!"
The iPad won't land into anyone's hand for a few months yet. Until then, it's up to developers -- like those in this article -- to develop compelling reasons to spend (at least) $499 for Apple's latest creation.