Get ready, because this one may get big: 44% of all iPad applications being tested on the actual device are games. Hey Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, the iPhone/iPod titan is getting its tentacles all over the living room.
The iPhone/iPod monster has positioned itself as the preferred mobile gaming platform for developers and is quickly becoming one of the largest game platforms in the planet, with 75 million iPhone OS devices sold in just 2.5 years. The current king of all game platforms sold 125 million units of the much cheaper Nintendo DS in five years and two months.
Now Apple is moving the action into the living room. Would gaming be one of main purposes of the iPad? Would the iPad become the next casual home gaming juggernaut, like the Wii? The market will tell in time, but apparently developers think that the possibility is there. Their reasoning seems solid: The iPhone/iPod demonstrated that you don't need buttons and a d-pad to offer a good gaming experience to most people (not only hardcore gamers). It's the same road first taken by the Nintendo DS and then the Wii. Both have a big amount of incredibly successful games that don't use buttons at all and require little involvement and time. In fact, it seems like consumers—not hardcore gamers—favor that kind of interaction, along with games that can be easily shared and enjoyed by a few people at the same time.
Like the iPhone/iPod Touch, the iPad is a continuation of this road. Unlike its handheld brothers, however, the bigger screen of the iPad is good to share the game experience with other people. I can easily picture two or three people sitting together on a sofa, playing with one iPad, passing it around in turns. I can also imagine multiple iPads in the same household, and people playing networked games in separate screens. Or people around a table, playing a board game touching the iPad and using their iPhones. Except this board game would have spectacular graphics and be fully animated. And perhaps have remote players connected too.
Given the general direction of the market and the possibilities of the platform, it's not surprising that game developers are pushing so hard for the iPad. It's yet to be seen if the Apple device would be a success or not, but having such a developer support is going to play a big role. The fact is that developers are betting that it will be a success in the gaming department. 44% is a huge figure, especially considering that the next category—entertainment—only grabs 14%. And especially considering that this is a completely unknown device. They don't have too much to lose, since the games can target both the iPad and the iPhone/iPod Touch.
I don't know about you, but I can't wait for a fully-networked Tron light cycle game for the iPad, with each device being a bike cockpit. [Business Week]