iPad could be stealing sales from game consoles

Thinking of buying a 3DS? Or maybe a PSP 2 if it’s ever announced? How about a third option you may not have considered - the iPad? Don’t laugh. A recent study by Resolve Market Research suggests the iPad is becoming a viable option to portable gaming systems.

According to the study, prior to owning an iPad, 23% of users said the iPad would be preferable to a portable gaming device for playing games. That number may be an interesting statistic by itself, but after owning an iPad, 38% of users said they wouldn’t buy a portable gaming device. That number was second only to e-readers at 49%. Full-sized gaming consoles also made the list of no-longer-needed items with 27%.

There was once a time when gamers looked at Apple platforms the way an escaping prisoner searching for a hiding place looked at a truckload of rotten tomatoes and fish heads - it’ll serve your purpose, but it’s not your first choice by a long shot.

All of that changed with the release of the iPhone app store, which unleashed an avalanche of low grade tower defense games and fart simulators, but mixed in just enough decent games to make the iPhone a legitimate gaming platform. With the ease of developing for the iPhone transferring to the iPad, there’s always the possibility that it could eventually overtake dedicated gaming devices in the handheld sphere.

Could, yes. But probably won’t. As anyone who’s played them can tell you, controlling games a touch screen instead of buttons is like riding a blindfolded elephant on crack instead of a horse. In other words, they’re a little clumsy. The dedicated gaming platforms deliver an experience that the iPad just can’t match and core gamers know it. Combine that with its cost and the iPad doesn’t seem like a real threat to handheld gaming devices.

In fact, the iPad could actually be beneficial for gaming in general. The iPad study reveals another surprising tidbit that, after the early adopters, the second wave of iPad owners are older than 45. This is a group that typically doesn’t game and it’s possible that these and other non-traditional gamers could become more interested in video games after exposure to iPad games.

With all of that in mind, the iPad still has a ways to go before it reaches the popularity level of the iPhone. The study also shows that 55% of owners and would-be owners see the iPad as a very expensive toy. Those who didn’t plan on buying one cited the price and a lack of need for one.

Jul 9, 2010


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  • Spybreak8 - July 12, 2010 7:11 a.m.

    Eh, gaming is just becoming more mainstream so it's not surprising people are playing games on the iPad. We'll continue to play on our consoles/pcs.
  • HotCyder - July 12, 2010 2:27 a.m.

    @FinderKeeper All I'm saying is, in comparison to the iphone/ipod touch with equal specs. The power to play videogames on a pocket sized iPod Touch, compared to a bigger iPad, is much more appealing.
  • Rowdie - July 11, 2010 3:41 p.m.

    Not 3d jaws but 3d piranha. Which was kind of a parody of jaws in the first place so that should count. Hard to imagine playing an ipad instead of a console, but as my next portable gaming device? Oh yeah.
  • presc1ence - July 11, 2010 1:12 p.m.

    Man, will touchscreens and 3D just feck off! It's not the early eighties again! 3D and touchscreen are OLD tech , and nothing more that a fad again. (OK dD will eventually work when they get to production projecting 3D screens, but ones that require glasses? C'mon , whats next jaws 3D again?)
  • Cleanser247 - July 11, 2010 12:52 a.m.

    How are they going to fit a bunch of buttons on the screen, without making it difficult to play the game smoothly? I don't see a game like COD:4 or Gears to make it to the iPad anytime soon, or ever: D
  • MediocreDinosaur - July 10, 2010 6:32 p.m.

    And another thing: even if PSP is currently shaping up to be crushed by the DS (and 3DS) the iPhone will not even come CLOSE to closing the gap. Casual players or not, it doesn't take a genius to know that face buttons are far superior to a simple greasy touch screen. It will continue to be DS and PSP, and if the PSP2 don't come soon, it'll be all 3DS kiddoes. reCAPTCHA: misreads won
  • MediocreDinosaur - July 10, 2010 6:30 p.m.

    Good lord enough with the damn iPod. Face it Apple, you cannot and will not make a gaming platform. Just like Microsoft tried with the Zune, so too are you trying with the iPad. Touch screens (and only touch screens, the DS works fantastic) are simply not conducive to gaming. You fill your screen with fingerprints, your controls are clunky and if your fingers aren't layered in sweat you'll have a hard time gliding around. There's a reason KH: Days was less than spectacular on the DS, and that's because the DS did not have an analog stick. Kingdom Hearts could simply not be played with a D-pad. There's some control methods that work, and others do not. Touch screens do not.
  • oryandymackie - July 10, 2010 5:47 p.m.

    FinderKeeper - try playing Assassin's Creed with a touchscreen. I'll be standing, laughing. Especially, because, y'know, the iPad doesn't have a disk drive; you're going to have to compromise on your music/pictures purely for the pleasure of a little bit of olde-world stabbing.
  • oryandymackie - July 10, 2010 5:44 p.m.

    Sounds good - unless you're into Flash games. Sounds good - until you run out of space for your saves and attempt to plug in a flash drive and find a shocking lack of USB ports. Then, you have to somehow communicate to iTunes (which EVERYTHING you want to upload to your iPad has to go through) that you want to store your saves there. And I'm pretty sure that's one service iTunes doesn't offer. Sounds good?
  • crumbdunky - July 10, 2010 1:44 p.m.

    As far as gaming goes the iPad/iPhone/iPod touch just leaves me VERY cold. I don't understand the way people seem to feel it serves gaming in any great kind of way. There's a few great jrpgs, in fairness, but games like SF4, MGStouch et al are the weakest forms of those franchises in my eyes because of the three systems' biggest issue-having to have D-pad and buttons on the touch screen and obscuring the game while offering pretty weak, feedback free controls which are less than satisfying in every respect. Also, tilting the entire world to steer is crap as well! Just like with the iPod Apple seem to have fooled the world with a lifestyle product. To my mind the iPad needs a peripheral, true keyboard to be much use as a portable PC and all three units need peripheral analogue stick controls and buttons-which really wrecks the whole idea of the things, doesn't it? Just like when I had my first iPod I was underwhelmed by the quality of my iPhone in the areas it was meant to save me carrying extra bits and bobs:in short I found it a weaker MP3/4 player than my other options, a weaker gaming platform(for proper games as opposed to five minute wastes of time)and, worst of the lot, I didn't even think it was up to muster as a phone! It's pretty good for surfing and stuff but the ongoing Flash war going on with Apple makes a lot of stuff inconvenient even then. So, yes, these things sell well and may make Apple more profit off the mark than Sony or MS have from gaming this gen(also a result of them being VERY directly in competition with EACH other already, mind)but there's not a lot of what I'd call actual gaming going on-the bulk of the stuff working best is flimsy, casual stuff that you wouldn't use a dedicated platform to play. Within a week or two of getting my iPhone I'd gone back to using my Sammy mobile for phone and music/video playback AND surfing on the go and carrying either my DSi or PSP for gaming. I don't think I've often been as let down by a bit of tech and, sadly, pretty much all the issues I had with it are still present in the bigger iPad which, as the touchscreen typing is, lets face it, pants leaves me feeling it's only really casual customers and loyal Apple die hards propelling the sales right now. IDK whether MS/Sony can join the clamour for the casual gaming dollar but by the same yardstick I'm still to see anything that would convince the gamer in me that any of the Apple lifestyle range can fulfil my gaming needs compared to PSP/DSi/3DS/PSP2. Apple's stuff is packaged, designed and marketed to within an inch of it's life but, to me, it's a lot of style and little gaming substance and little in the way of matching the opposition feature for feature. I've loved the Macbooks and Macs I've owned as the plug in and use policy and reliability has always been amazingly good but anything they've asked me to carry with me for gaming, as a phone or as a music player has been a let down of pretty large proportions. So, they might have got the casuals onside with their overpriced and underperforming triumphs of design over function but, right now, I really couldn't say to anyone with actual interest in games to buy an Apple product for that purpose. They may well have very desirable profits but give me the approach that Ninty and Sony have used portably(with great games easily playable with better controls than iPad et al)or the even more core centric way MS/Sony have dealt with home console gaming over sloppy controls and a billion minigames EVERY time! BTW I NEVER want to be playing AC2 3 or whatever on an iPad no matter where as long as there's better ways to play the game with proper controls as, for me and many others, the way this Apple range deals with control simply isn't up to the precision or tactile task at hand for actual gamers. I get it that some folk are happy Apple have managed to make an impact in sales terms but so far it's not done ANYTHING good for serious gamers and doesn't even look like doing so and if it continues to get developers making short game tat instead of proper games it might well end up being a very bad thing for anyone who craves deeper experiences and decent controls in their gaming. Certainly, I fail to see how it's been a good thing for anyone except Apple so far-and don't get me started on the vapid, copycat filled world of the Appstore(or bloody iTunes for that matter!)! The saddest thing is I REALLY, REALLY wanted to love my iPhone(my mum actually jumped through a TON of hoops to get me mine-trying to win it as it happens took her a lot of time and grief)and therefore probably gave it more of a chance than I usually would but it just hasn't resulted in me carrying anything different with me on my travels than I ever did and if it DOES come then it's as an EXTRA item in my rucksack. I just fail to see what it does for people and REALLY don't see it as any kind of gaming platform-or that it does gaming any good.
  • Modroneman - July 10, 2010 6:25 a.m.

    If you are one of these 'Casual Players' then I want to kick you in the balls! Its the same idiots that are buying into the Ipad that bought into Nintendo's hype when they first launched! No disrespect to the gamers out there that own an Ipad! It's the general public that's drinking the fucking apple coolade, that is making this product more than it is!
  • FinderKeeper - July 10, 2010 2:53 a.m.

    @manguy17: read Sports Illustrated in full-size format. In color. At no extra charge. There was an article about the iPad before its release mentioning that some game developers were already interested in it as a handheld gaming platform. 'Cept bigger than the iPhone. At that time, I said that this was Apple's way of creating a market need where there was none before, similar to what the Wii did (and which the other two *cough* competitors are realizing about four years late). Told ya. Called it. Etc. etc. etc. etc. The iPad (along with the iPhone) is going to displace the PSP from the market. The Nintendo DS and its 3D iteration are capturing one part of it; the Apple handhelds will capture the other part of it. The iPad (in contrast to Kinect and Move) is going to be the gaming platform of choice for casual and first/time gamers over the next few years (along with the Wii, which has the advantage of an existing install base). HotCyder: the seventh-gen consoles-even the slim ones-are huge pieces of metal (and plastic) in comparison to the iPad. Remember all that fuss over the iMac when people were asking "where's the CPU"? I see the same sort of fuss over people whingeing "why does the iPad have to be so bi-iiiiiig?" Let's say two years from now, you're playing Assassin's Creed III on the subway into work or university. Let's say that all you need to play the game are your hands; no stylus or controller necessary... just touch-screen functionality and buttons on the side. Would you rather be playing it on a PSP-size screen with a headset, or on an iPad-size screen with a headset? Apple (and Nintendo) will continue to make buttloads of money while Micro$oft and $ony scramble to keep up (and barely make a profit halfway through the console cycle). Buh-bye.
  • HotCyder - July 10, 2010 12:12 a.m.

    You don't think that the iPad might appeal to a demographic that might not be interested in portable games consoles? BTW, is it just me or is the iPad a pretty big step back? The idea that you can keep the internet, videogames, music, recipes, jokes, videos, films, comics, books, one-liners, the weather, the news, horoscopes, a barometer, a calculator and a notepad in your pocket is an absolute miracle of the modern age - compared to all that on a huge piece of metal you wouldn't take out of your house...
  • Manguy17 - July 10, 2010 12:05 a.m.

    anyone tell me some really usefull stuff that an ipad can do that iphones cant?
  • oufour - July 9, 2010 11:51 p.m.

  • Metroidhunter32 - July 9, 2010 11:38 p.m.

    If I game on it, it was designed to game. RECaptcha just said that it was slaying $16,966,000. So that's where all your funds go GR.
  • parthy - July 9, 2010 11:35 p.m.

    Give me PC/console gaming anytime over this gimmick

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