iPad Gaming. Made Bigger.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to use your iPhone as a controller and your iPad as the screen while gaming? This concept seemed so obvious from the start. It’s not a totally new idea so much as it just hasn’t been widely-implemented yet. In fact, Chopper 2 for the iPad did this a few months ago, and made us wonder what it would be like to connect our iPad to the television via the AV Component (or composite) Cable.
Currently, the $50 AV Cables are the only way to accomplish this sort of control scheme. That may not be the case for long. AirPlay is being added to Apple devices via the iOS 4.2 update.
Newly-added features, such as AirPlay, further our interest in what this technology can be. AirPlay’s ability to stream content between the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Apple TV. For instance, a video playing back on your iPad or iPhone can be beamed over to Apple TV and controlled directly through AirPlay. Because of that, it sounds entirely possible to allow for an App to be streamed to Apple TV while using your iPhone as a controller, making a device like Apple TV into an inexpensive gaming console to users who already own an iPhone or iPod Touch.
The only catch is that right now, AirPlay only allows for streaming of video and audio content. Users can’t yet use AirPlay for AppPlay. Sharing Apps with Apple TV from an iPhone would be made much easier now since Apple TV runs on the same chip as other iOS devices and is using nothing more than a slightly modified iOS running an App called Lowtide.
Jailbreaks have already been able to run other Apps on Apple TV and no doubt the hackers will accomplish this before Apple does.
Some developers are already taking advantage of a similar idea. One such game is the aforementioned Chopper 2 (link) by Magic Jungle Software. It’s been working this way for quite some time now, and seems to be doing rather well. Note that players don’t have to use this control method, it’s simply offered as an option to those who own more than one iOS device.
Another such developer is Big Bucket, who is working to by bring the control method to their game titled The Incident (link). They have worked out a way to play the game on the iPhone while using the iPad as the viewing screen. Their solution makes it possible to play the game without having to touch the iPad. This allows users to connect it to their television set across the living room and play the game using the iPhone or iPod Touch as a controller.
The Future of Apple TV?
Very few developers that we know of seem to be using this kind of control option. We hope to see more of them exploring the idea in the future, but that may depend on how well-received the feature is in games like Chopper 2 and The Incident. Actually, we are somewhat surprised that Apple hasn’t pursued the idea yet. Allowing third-party Apps to run on the 2nd-gen Apple TV sounds like a given in a scenario like this. It’s essentially what the Remote App is doing, only rather than controlling a game, you are controlling menu options. Perhaps Apple has something up its sleeve. After all, many users have all the required hardware, and Apple has shown a desire to create a unified environment through their devices.
Could a device like this kill the Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360? Very doubtful. What it can offer, however, is one more option for gaming in the living room, or a gaming machine for those who may not have a console but already own all the necessary hardware. In the past we’ve talked about mobile gaming and Apple’s increasing stake on the handheld market. May they be willing to experiment with console games as well?