Buying an iPad? You Probably Won’t Need Anything Else

In the week or so that I’ve had my new iPad, any reservations about the device being a full-blown on-the-go gaming machine have evaporated with each new title I’ve played. By “full-blown,” I don’t necessarily mean one which replicates the experience of gaming on a console — the kind of full-blown gaming advocated by the PlayStation Vita. By full-blown, I mean the type of thing that can suck you in for as long as something of a more traditional calibre can with the same degree of attachment and involvement. I wasn’t expecting to have as much fun with the iPad as I am as a gaming device, and as much of a quick reaction this is, I probably won’t be looking to supplement this piece of kit with a dedicated handheld console any time soon.

It’s of no surprise, a couple of years after the iPad’s launch, that the games have picked up a lot of steam and some already look great on the new iPad’s so-sharp-you-could-cut-yourself “Retina” display. EA’s iOS version of Dead Space and driving title Real Racing 2 look spectacular, and they’re both brilliant fun and very easy to control. Less action-heavy titles like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed-inspired card game, Recollections, passes a train journey or two with minimal effort, and asynchronous titles like Hero Academy are good when I’ve got a Wi-Fi connection or I tether my phone. Even traditionally controlled titles like FIFA 12, whilst a little expensive by app standards, are playable provided you have a Smart Cover handy.

The games, as a whole, work so well because they are thought out and planned with the device in mind — that, and they’re all dirt cheap. Some titles, like Temple Run, Angry Birds: Space and Canabalt, are designed with one-shot gameplay in mind: commutes or quick breaks from doing other things.  Others like Infinity Blade can withstand extended play for longer journeys or gaming sessions. But regardless of how they are designed, they are designed to work for the iPad, and they do, which is why many titles are so successful. This factor is one of two deciding factors in why something like this wins outright over a dedicated gaming device these days.

After trying the Vita at Sony’s flashy — and bro-heavy — preview event in Glasgow two months ago, I was pretty amazed by what I saw. The games looked great, and the dual analog controls were excellent — notwithstanding the rear touch panel, which was there but didn’t really do much else. But the device didn’t sell itself to me completely because I was too busy playing games on my phone on the way home.

Phones and tablets are great multi-taskers, able to perform all kinds of amazing operations on a single screen. Users can draw, write articles, take notes, listen to music and play countless different types of game — all without having to reach for another device. The age of the single-use device is over, and the iPad and smartphones will, inevitably, become dominant as the 3DS and PS Vita fade into obscurity. They won’t die — not yet — but will find themselves overshadowed by devices that play games just as well as they do, if in slightly different ways. That they happen to do a hell of a lot more on the side is, you know, a useful little plus point.

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  1. Tom

    I just hope that with PSSuite (or without) all these games will come across to the Vita in some form. Although I got a vita for ‘big’ games, I’m mainly playing free downloadable ones which I already own for on the PS3. Although I wanted an Ipad, a PSVita is half the price, twice as powerful, has a lower resolution than the iPhone even (with Anti-Aliasing this isn’t as big a problem as it seems) and a less intensive operating system, meaning it won’t be properly outdated in hardware terms for at least 4 years, and by that time, developers should have worked out how to optimise code for the system, giving it at least another couple of years on top of that of being supported.

    Of course, theory and reality are completely different things. However, the amount of games confirmed which are (meant) to be in the pipeline, alongside cross-platform indie games like Zen Pinball 2, alongside PSSuite, means I think you should at least consider looking at a Vita.

    (Although Sony isn’t saying much about it, I think PlayStation Suite may take some people by surprise. Looking at some developer forums, Sony is heavily supporting regular Non-Game apps, is charging the same price as apple to develop on it, is allowing people to use their Vita or android phone to test there programs on and is using the same programming language as Microsoft. It is also allowing free apps with In-Game purchases!)

    In fact, its looking so promising, Sony will probably f@@k it up big-time by making you buy the same games multiple times to play it on different platforms or something.)

    Summary: I prefer the Vita to the Ipad for the reasons expressed above

  2. I don’t see my tablet as replacing my laptop – it’s smaller and more convenient for quick day trips or an overnight stay somewhere as opposed to lugging my laptop places. The games really are surprising in their depth and their ability to entertain for an extended period of time, and I genuinely didn’t expect to be as amazed as I was. Just because it doesn’t have buttons doesn’t mean it’s “simple”.

    My iPad will probably replace my physical magazines and newspapers and any ideas of buying a handheld console completely, and I have no regrets about that.

    • One thing I like about living today is just consumer choice (and less monarchs and inquisitions). I have an IPad 2, and I mainly use it for reading books and mags. I just view the IPad as a multi-purpose device, my psp as an emulator machine and my vita as a console for unique, and ps3 games I just want to take on the go. I just have found a use for both, and I don’t regret having both.

      However, if I was a betting person I would bet that within a couple years time, we will be hearing about you and your shiny you PSVita Slim on SG UK :P.

  3. Even the Virtual Boy was better than Star Wars Kinect! = )

  4. Lukas Heinzel

    I think Star War’s Kinect is better than the PS3 😀

  5. @CanaryWorf

    Cool, now where can I get an iPad for £200?… Oh.

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