Recently there has been some speculation on the successors to the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Powerhouses when they were designed, both lived in the shadow of a much less powerful machine, the Wii.
iPhone and Android based smart phones have ravaged the portable video game market. Casual gaming has arrived and changed how people think about video games: smaller, tighter-focussed, shorter playing time and dirt cheap. The day of games costing more than a yuppie food stamp seem to be numbered, even for games other than social or casual games. Why bring another device when your phone is good enough or even better than that standalone device? Why pay $40 for a game when you can by half a dozen for the same price?
Now, there is a new platform for gaming that is disrupting the old status quo, the tablet. The iPad in particular has a strong line of action and board famed already. Recently released or coming soon for the tablet are Bards Tale, Shadowrun Returns and Baldur’s Gate. Maybe not state of the art gaming, but these type of RPGs are for hardcore gamers. Low cost of entry to the market place, high rate of return on retail prices to developers and concrete hardware specs means a small team can deliver a large game experience. The tablet is an all in one system with access to all the games you’ve bought and is capable of graphics near current gen consoles.
Granted tablets aren’t ideal for certain types of games, FPS I’m looking at you, it’s good enough for a lot of games, is portable and can be used in 5 minute stints. And aging gamers often have the money for a tablet but don’t have a lot of time due to grown up responsibilities. The tablet provides an acceptable piece of hardware well suited for short-term play games and a plethora of inexpensive good games to suit all kinds of needs. Is a dedicated box still needed when you can have all your media including games under your arm?