Some years ago I investigated if iOS was a viable platform for an authentic video game experience, something that could be comparable to the home console market. My conclusion was – there ‘might’ be potential, entirely dependent on a few factors such as controls and experience.
It’s now 2018 and I’m ready to see if any progress has been made.
With the ever growing plethora of content building within the confines of Apple’s App Store, you’d think there was a large amount to pick from?
Well, yes. There is. But the issue isn’t quantity, it’s quality.
Indie games for the most part are excellent, but they are far and few and between in offering what ‘feels’ like a modern gaming experience. If iOS is positioning itself as a serious contender in the console gaming market (as Apple have said) then we need to start seeing evidence that developers also see it that way.
SHOW ME THE MONEY
Dipping into iOS it’s initially disheartening to see so many freemium models and regurgitated game models. To me there is something psychological going on here – that the quality of the game and its worth diminishes. Then there’s touch controls! Very rarely do I find any enjoyment in this experience, so it’s great to see so many games now implementing MFi controller support. One step forward.
The next improvement appears to be in parity. It’s early days and the tip of the iceberg, but parity with other platforms is slowly coming. No longer do we just see perfect ports of 25 year old games like: Kinghts of the old Republic, Max Payne, BULLY and GTA. We see fully fledged behemoths like Civilization VI and GRID Autosport. And whilst Civ 6 is a lower resolution, the experience is perfectly acceptable and very welcome on iPad.
Codemasters’ GRID Autosport uses HD textures running at a silky 60 frames-per-second with Mfi controller support. Whilst not competing on the graphical powerhouse front it was still a very pretty game to look at. This is the first time I comfortably felt that iOS can compete. Combine this with the retro scene in Sega Forever and there’s a very powerful mix coming together that appeases a range of gamers in the market.
Apple is casting its net wide, trying to be all things to all people with an Apple TV, a smart device and tablet.
What’s my conclusion on iOS gaming in September 2018?
‘might’ IS be potential. But companies, beyond Codemasters and 2K, need to nurture and stimulate the iOS library with more quality content, and offer a comparable experience found on other platforms.