Opinion, arguments & analyses from the editors of Scientific American

Forget e-reading, the iPad is more likely to be used for fun and (3-D) games


Apple, iPadMost people, even those who pre-ordered the new Apple iPad, have yet to get their hands on one, but game developers have already put the wheels in motion to take advantage of the new platform. Say what you will about the iPad potentially turning the e-book reader market on its ear. Games are big business in Apple's App Store and the iPad's 25-centimeter LED-backlit display gives game writers a lot more room to work with.

In anticipation of this demand, Engage Digital Media has already put its inaugural iPad Game Summit on the calendar for June 28 in San Francisco. There's very little information available about who will speak at the show, and the list of topics to be covered are pretty generic (market research, revenue opportunities, consumer behavior, etc.). Still, such details tend not to matter when people smell a gold rush.

There have been more than 30,000 games released in the App Store since it opened in July 2008. Research firm Flurry Analytics estimates that iPhone game revenue totaled $115 million and $500 million for 2008 and 2009, respectively. "iPhone (and iPod touch) is a gaming platform to be reckoned with," Flurry reports. "Controlling five percent revenue of a $10 billion industry in just a year and a half is significant."

Game developers are still trying to figure out how to price their software. As BBC News reports, the maker of the "bubble wrap" iPhone game has sold 3 million downloads at 99 cents each, but plans to charge $1.99 for the iPad version. This increased price tag is likely to become the norm for iPad games if early users are willing to pay up.

Some are anticipating that 3-D games will have a strong appeal on the iPad. Stonetrip, a France-based maker of software writing tools, earlier this week announced that its customers will be able to write 3-D games for the iPad. They can already use Stonetrip's products to write 3-D games for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iPhone and Google Android platforms.

The Wi-Fi-enabled iPads is expected to be available at a handful of retailers on Saturday (for those who didn't pre-order) starting at $499, with versions featuring 3G wireless broadband connectivity shipping by the end of the month for $829.

iPad image courtesy of Apple

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Starting Thanksgiving

Enter code: HOLIDAY 2015
at checkout

Get 20% off now! >


Email this Article