I’ve been holding back in writing this article for almost a year now. As an old school gamer, I’m clinging to the past and couldn’t let go of the tangible greatness of dedicated gaming devices such as the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS. But reading about the specs, software and applications of tablets like the iPad2, Xoom, Galaxy and Playbook, I have to confess that I believe the days of the PSP and DS are numbered. This is not because of the technology they offer. It’s the fact that I can get the gaming goodies and multiplayer functionalities without forking out $20 to $40 for a new game. Let’s face it. Tablets are no longer a fad as they were in the early 90’s and 2000’s. Software development is on the rise, chips and hardware are less expensive and the consumer acceptance is high.
As a parent, I’d rather spend $500 on a tablet that my kids can do homework, research and play free games than spending the same amount on a PSP2 that, for the most part, can do one or two things. I don’t need to do a mass scientific study to see that tablets are having an impact on untapped markets. I often watch my 66 year old mother play games with my 60 year old uncle, 40 year old brother, my cousins and their kids using their iPhones, iTouches and iPads. They all live in different parts of the state. Fun and entertainment are what gaming is all about and these tablets are delivering the experience. The technology is transparent. The interface is amazingly intuitive. The price is affordable.
Thanks to game engines from companies such as Epic Games and id Software, new iPhone and iPad games look amazing and this is just the beginning. I can only imagine how game developer like John Carmack will exploit new tablet technologies. All you have to do is look and play Rage HD or Infinity Blade on the iPhone and iPad to see what I’m talking about.
Tablets seem to also hit the pause and refresh button in the gaming market. What does it mean when a $6 2D game with birds, sticks and blocks get more interest and hype that a massive 3D online multiplayer videogame with superheroes that cost $60 plus monthly fees? I have a feeling that current game publishers are realizing that they don’t have to spend millions in developing a game to make money on these new “gaming devices.” Let’s not kid ourselves. This is the secondary function of most tablets and other iDevices.
The bottomline is the bottomline. Why spend money on separate devices for fun, productivity and practically when you can get them all in one. Am I off base here? What’s your perspective on the future of portable gaming?