The iPad, is it really a gaming device?

On March 1, 2010

iPadWith all the publicity about how the iPad is going to revolutionize various industries, everybody seems to forget about the industry that is currently practically supporting the iPod Touch (the current mini-version of the iPad minus the iWork and 3G capabilities): the gaming industry.  A hefty chunk of the top-selling apps in the App Store are games.

Could the iPad also be a competitor to portable gaming systems like the PSP or the Nintendo DS?  It does have a bigger screen with a better resolution, but it’s larger size is a bit of a hindrance when it comes to carrying the thing around.  I don’t see kids taking their iPads out of their backpack to play another round of Warcraft.

On the other hand, if lots of games changed their interfaces to make use of the larger screen (ie. head to head, board games, etc), then the iPad might bring something special to gaming, the ability for people to ‘share’ the gaming experience while in the same room.  I think a lot of that has been lost since most video games currently are really solo acts.  The iPad’s larger screen definitely makes sharing the experience much more likely.

With some tweaking, all the current games in the App Store can run on the iPad.  But does having a larger form factor make the game any better than its smaller cousin the iTouch / iPhone?  I don’t think so.  Do you?

And then there is the price.  For $200 (iTouch, PSP, DS) you might be able to afford having a gaming system in your pocket.  For $500?  That price is a little high if you plan on using the iPad for just games.

I think the iPad will finally let the non-game apps take their place in the top spots.  I imagine that most people buying the iPad will do so for the other genres of apps outside of games.  Productivity, Educational, Medical, eBooks, and all those other non-gaming categories will most likely be the biggest hits for iPad users.

Perhaps now, a few more non-games will make the top 100 list.  What do you think?