: Could iOS kill console gaming?


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99semaj
2012-03-08, 09:19 AM
Some interesting data out of this week's iPad update presser:


iPad has now sold more units than XBox or PS3 and will soon surpass Wii...and did it in less than half the time.
iPad has more graphical proceesing power
iPad has higher resolution
Can be streamed to a 1080p HDTV
Has a far more robust media store
Already has cracked the mobile market via iPhone


Granted the gaming catalog needs to grow, but titles like Infinity Blade and Sky Gambler prove that you can have the same calibre on iOS. Seems to me it's just a matter of time. Has console gaming already died and we just don't know it yet?

Veee
2012-03-08, 09:37 AM
Sure the iPad sells more but are people really replacing their consoles with iPads?

Can you play online games with an iPad?

And what about things like controls? Is tapping and rotating a screen really that satisfying for certain types of games?

james99
2012-03-08, 10:13 AM
Mobile phones and tablets are a obvious threat to mobile gaming but not home consoles at this point.

NeilN
2012-03-08, 10:32 AM
Agree with james99 right now. However in five years time, who knows? Apple or Google + random manufacturer might produce an iPad/Android tablet that could hook up to a TV via HDMI and support wireless controllers. Some games could be played on both the tablet and the TV and for others, you could have subsets for each output device. For example, customizing/outfitting your avatar could be done on a tablet while gameplay would be done on the TV.

jvincent
2012-03-08, 10:53 AM
The console gamers are always going to want better graphics/shading/frame rates than can be crammed into a portable device.

There is some serious silicon in the Xbox360/PS3 and it is only going to be higher performance in the next generation consoles.

The power requirements for those would drain an iPad3 battery very, very quickly not to mention the heat dissipation required, etc.

TorontoColin
2012-03-08, 10:56 AM
iPad has now sold more units than XBox or PS3 and will soon surpass Wii...and did it in less than half the time.
iPad has more graphical proceesing power
iPad has higher resolution
Can be streamed to a 1080p HDTV
Has a far more robust media store
Already has cracked the mobile market via iPhone

I think you could make an even better argument for all of these things with PCs, other than the last one, and it has been true for a very long time, but I don't see PCs as a danger to console gaming.

I'm sure the iPad's graphical processing will be topped by the next generation of consoles, coming soon. And the higher resolution doesn't really matter because console gamers typically want the big screen of a TV, on which the iPad is only 1080p anyway.

I think Nintendo should be very concerned at the moment, but Sony and Microsoft shouldn't be too concerned about the iPad. The bigger threat for them one day is probably a future version of Apple TV.

Tikker
2012-03-09, 07:26 PM
nintendo? nah, they produce the majority of the quality titles for their platform, so it's not like they have to really worry about studios defecting

MarcP
2012-03-09, 07:52 PM
It may be more of a threat to the $60-$80 games than it is to the console itself. With games going for $0.99 and slightly above, I have yet to convince myself to get Mass Effect 3. I'll probably wait for the bargain bin.

Tikker
2012-03-09, 08:03 PM
the 99 cent games play like 99 cent games tho

there is a HUGE gap in the quality of games for iOS and windows/xbox/ps3/nintendo

MarcP
2012-03-09, 08:05 PM
It's still hard to justify $60+ despite quality and scope. I'm not as excited about new games that pricey anymore.

BGY11
2012-03-09, 08:21 PM
Apple or Google + random manufacturer might produce an iPad/Android tablet that could hook up to a TV via HDMI and support wireless controllers.

Some phones like the Galaxy S II or Galaxy Nexus can already do this. MHL adapter to connect to the TV, and a PS3 controller can connect to the phone via Bluetooth. I could see this migrating over to some of the tablets if they can't handle this already.

The big misleading thing i see here is making the assumption that more people are playing games on an iPad vs traditional consoles. I also don't believe the statement that graphics processing power on an iPad is better than an Xbox 360 or PS3 - if this were so, those consoles would use a lot less power than they do (and yes, I understand the other components in a console affect power utilization, but the GPU is still a big factor here).

I want to see how games perform at the new iPad's native resolution - if it can still deliver so-called "console quality" graphics at that point, then I'll be surprised.

audacity
2012-03-10, 11:40 AM
When comparing against a 7 year old console in a Moore's-law-world it really isn't a surprise that the new iPad has more GPU power. Of course, one needs to remember that the iPad 3 must drive a lot more pixels than a console does (even if they were to run games at 1080p).

I think the main weaknesses in new consoles are that the screen sizes are small and most games are designed for a touch screen - which isn't a great controller for many things.

That would be like if game developers tried to make all games work only using Kinect. That would work well for a few game types, but not so well for many popular genres.

99semaj
2012-03-10, 11:58 AM
No reason that you couldn't have bluetooth controllers, though.

jvincent
2012-03-10, 05:45 PM
When comparing against a 7 year old console in a Moore's-law-world it really isn't a surprise that the new iPad has more GPU power.

I'm not convinced it has more GPU power.

Just because the resolution of the display is bigger doesn't mean much. Scaling algorithms are easy.

Where the big power for GPUs in gaming PCs and consoles goes is into the shaders/pixel pipelines. They also have a lot of attached specialty DRAM to support the shaders. That kind of stuff is NOT in the iPad.

audacity
2012-03-10, 07:54 PM
jvincent,

I'm certain that Apple wouldn't just render all display images/content at 1024x768 and then scale it to 2048x1536, because if the iPad did that all the time, it would just be a pixel-double and it wouldn't look any better than the original.

Until a 3rd party game dev who got early access to the new iPad hardware chimes in on how much pixel pushing power it has compared to a current console, it's just speculation.

Of course, John Carmack predicted (http://www.industrygamers.com/news/john-carmack-unquestionable-that-mobile-will-surpass-current-consoles/) that this would happen rather quickly, so if the iPad 3 isn't as fast or faster than the current gen consoles, the next iteration certainly will be.

jvincent
2012-03-10, 08:41 PM
Maybe my scaling comment wasn't the right one.

Until iOS apps are developed using DirectX11 (or whatever we're up to now) or equivalent shading/rendering engines then there is no way that the embedded GPU in the A5X is even close to having the capability of current gaming GPU.

A quick check shows that the GPU for the Xbox 360 has a dedicated 500MHz bus for just the graphics engine. Not sure about the width of it but I'd guess it's at least 128 bits wide, maybe 256. The A5X has a single shared memory interface at 533MHz for both the CPU and the GPU.

Since graphics rendering is all about memory bandwidth, you can see how the Xbox (now 8 years old) has probably twice (or more) the capabilities of the A5X.

audacity
2012-03-11, 01:51 AM
Carmack basically said in the interview I linked that the Xbox 360 was between 2 and 4 times faster than the iPad 2. I'm sure how much faster is dependant on the benchmark (as always), but whatever. The point is that the product that I'll call iPad 3 is in the same performance ballpark as the Xbox 360. In other words, I'm sure there would be many gaming focused benchmarks where it would beat the 360.

But which "gaming machine" is faster in absolute terms doesn't really matter. What really matters is that they are in the same ballpark now, so mobile gamers can have graphics that are in the same ballpark as they have on their game consoles. Games ported from a current gen game console to a mobile device (well, the iPad 3 specifically) won't be a "poor cousin" graphically of the 360/PS3 version of the game. That is what is significant because we will start to see "straight ports" of games, and that will be interesting for all sorts of reasons - especially when one considers the price of said game on each platform.

TorontoColin
2012-03-11, 04:34 AM
That's all well and good, but we're not going to see Bioware porting Mass Effect 3 to the iPad any time soon if they have to sell it for 99 cents. Game development is expensive, and would iPad users pay $50 for a quality game? If not, the point is moot as the system would be unsustainable.

audacity
2012-03-11, 02:53 PM
TorontoColin,

I think that is a poor argument. There are many games being released on the PC that are "free to play" (there are many examples like the latest Tribes, various MMOs, etc). Those games are very expensive to develop, and if they can sustain the free to play model on the PC I'm sure the publishers could sell them for $0.99 on iOS - and still charge for the in-game content - and do just fine.

Like all software the major cost is in the development of a game, not the distribution. If you can sell to more customers you can charge each customer less. If mobile devices "grow the pie" as much as they're expected to over the next few years, then I fully expect software (and game prices) to come down from their historical levels. In fact, I'd say you should count on it.

I think the only reason why customers expect iOS software to be cheap is (currently) the scope of that software is usually way less than what you get on a PC (or console). If iOS software becomes better/more capable, I think the prices can and will go up, and customers will be okay with it. And that can happen when the devices themselves become more capable.

eimaj
2012-03-12, 12:44 PM
The thing is, the new ipad is just catching up to machines that are 6 and 7 years old. With the release of new consoles in the near future, it will again be significantly behind...for the time being. With the release of new ipads (and other tablets) all the time, they have a better opportunity to be constantly upgraded with better processing and graphics chips. So in a few years, tablets will most likely catch up to these new consoles faster than we may think.

The biggest problem I see with tablet gaming is space. It will be hard to have a collection of console sized games that take up 10-20-30 gb (or more) on the limited space of a tablet, unless you wish to dedicate an sd card to each game, of which you couldn't do with the ipad anyway unless Apple smartens up about this.