The App Report: iPad 2 Gets Updated Apps, Not Next-Gen iOS Gaming

by Carlos Macias, posted on 11 March 2011 / 1,477 Views

Today sees the release of Apple's newly-minted iPad 2, the upgraded version of last year's popular tablet that has encouraged imitators like the Motorola Xoom and assorted others. iPad 2 is said to boast a dual-core processor and dwarfs the original's graphical capabilities by nine times! Or, so says the press release.

From the looks of it, you'd be hard pressed to disagree as we're seeing graphically intense titles Dead Space (from EA) and Infinity Blade (Epic Games) getting updated visuals today for iPad 2 consumption. Even Firemint -- who came into the scene with the breakout hit, Flight Control -- delayed their iPad version of Real Racing 2 to tie into iPad 2's launch.

For those of us who consider ourselves hardcore gamers and like their on-the-go and console-like experiences linked together as the aforementioned games do, it's great news. It means next-gen iOS gaming is here! Not quite.

Visuals that rival console experiences are one thing but, really, the thing that sets most iOS games apart are their portability and quick-hit gaming nature. I played Dead Space to completion and invested hours in Infinity Blade leveling up my character. They were great experiences and I had few complaints about them, but none included a need for better visuals. The games looked great in their initial release and showed off how well the developers optimized the games to run on iOS. 

Guess what? I played Infinity Blade mostly on my iPod Touch and would have opted to do the same for Dead Space had a universal app been available. Not only is the iPad uncomfortable to play with after of hours-long use but its not entirely ideal to make in-game progress everywhere you go. An iPhone/iPod easily fits in your pocket and progress can be made whenever and wherever you are. 

Added insult is the fact that Apple opted out of including a Retina Display with iPad 2 like the one currently in the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch. A feature that will be held-over for iPad 3's launch next year (or, later this year if you believe the rumors) most likely. iPad 2's 9.7" screen may be great for internet and media consumption and have upgraded graphical capabilities but it still doesn't match the clarity provided in the cheapest iPod Touch at $229.

The biggest test will, of course, be in software. Updates to existing titles show great support for those of us deciding to upgrade to the iPad 2 and a way to spotlight great titles to new users, but the games already exist. And are completely playable (and enjoyable) on already available hardware. I hope App Store developers make me eat my words when they launch incredible experiences exclusive to iPad 2 but, in the meantime, I'm happy being able to play apps on mobile platforms I already own.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to start up a discussion in the comments, wherever your loyalties may lie.

[
The App Report focuses on Carlos Macias' ramblings on everything iPhone gaming related (and maybe other mobile things outside of Apple's influence). He does not own an iPhone (read: hates contracts) but acts as his iPod Touch serves the same purpose with front and rear-facing cameras and a microphone picking up the slack. He can be reached at carlos_macias@ymail.com for potential app coverage and other inquiries.]

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League of Evil

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Real Racing 2 HD, GarageBand, Mirror's Edge 
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