Five reasons why gamers may love the iPad

Think Apple's latest piece of hardware has nothing to offer the everyday gamer? Think again

Above: If you don’t care about e-textbooks, flip through your favorite manga or watch anime in HD

That’s where the iPad’s ability to deliver high-quality video and e-books becomes more relevant for the average gamer/otaku. The iPad has already been identified by some as a possible “Kindle killer.” During yesterday’s reveal, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iBook app for the iPad and said, “Amazon’s done a great job of pioneering this functionality with the Kindle. We’re going to stand on their shoulders and go a little further.” If Apple can stand high enough on Amazon’s shoulders, the iPad just might do for e-books what the iPod did for digital music. So far, several large publishers have already announced their support for the iPad and iBooks (Penguin, Harper Collins, and McGraw-Hill, just to name a few). We’re hoping that manga publishers will jump on board as well.

New iPad-specific games may be rather awesome

Tilt your iPad to perform a barrel roll. Slash your finger across the screen to deal a finishing blow with your sword. Pinch and pull to select and command an army of soldiers. There are lots of genres that stand to benefit from the tactile control options born from the iPad’s unique design - and we can’t wait to play them. Check out our picks for the8 game genres that are perfect for the iPadfor more.

But it was the presentation from developer Gameloft that best demonstrated what’s possible for the future of gaming on the iPad. Gameloft managed to integrate several slick new features which allow players to lob grenades with a single screen stroke and to open doors by placing three fingers over the knob and turning.

But most impressive was the ability to target and fire on multiple enemy units with the game’s rocket launcher. During the demonstration, the game paused for a brief moment while the player used his thumb and forefinger to select three enemies. Moments all three enemies were drowning in explosions.

Above: The new NOVA targeting system demonstrated was similar to Fallout 3’s V.A.T.S. feature, only more intimate – and more hands-on

Not impressed? Good. That was a test and you just passed. The real kicker is that Gameloft only had two weeks to see what they could do with the iPad. Imagine what could be done once developers fully familiarize themselves with the iPad’s improved SDK.

More power. More everything

We’ve already seen iPhone games that look more impressive than PSP and DS titles on the visual front – and with more processing power than the iPhone and a better display, it follows that iPad games will only get better.

But on top of all that, the iPad promises to add the Apple shine to just about everything else we like. We know we’ll never get much use out of social media services, like Twitter or Facebook, on Xbox Live. But the Facebook app on the iPad sounds about as addictive as fried bacon laced with heroin. If web browsing, emailing, photo sharing, and reading e-books turns out to be as good as Apple claims, the iPad may turn out to be the most surprising must-have gaming device of all time. Then again, we thought the Virtual Boy would be pretty cool, too.

Jan 28, 2010

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