Tapulous, Other Ocean, Demiforce eye wider game development opportunities on the iPad

Mar 24, 2010
Games

In the days leading up to the April 3 release of Apple’s iPad tablet computer, video game developers prepare for an entirely new landscape that will showcase their applications.  Beyond just tweaking iPhone apps so they configure to the 9.7-inch screen size the iPad will provide, developers are taking into account the context in which […]

In the days leading up to the April 3 release of Apple’s iPad tablet computer, video game developers prepare for an entirely new landscape that will showcase their applications. 

Beyond just tweaking iPhone apps so they configure to the 9.7-inch screen size the iPad will provide, developers are taking into account the context in which users are interacting with their games and applications. While most consumers carry their iPhones everywhere they go and tap into quick distractions on the fly, the iPad is seen as a movable household fixture that will be more leisurely consumed on the couch. 

“The experience is now moving into the living room,” explains Tapulous CEO Bart Decrem. 

A developer of some of the bestselling iPhone games of all time including the play along “Tap Tap” titles centered around Lady GagaThe Black Eyed Peas and Metallica, Tapulous in the coming weeks will be introducing a new title specifically geared to the iPad. While Decrem wouldn’t reveal too much about the release, he did say it will provide an entirely different social experience. 

“You can have more people play at the same time on the same device,” he said. “We will also take advantage of the screen real estate and processing power.” 

A higher bar for game developers 

Unlike when the iTunes App Store launched nearly two years ago, there is an established market with defined standards and practices that game developers are expected to adhere to. Creating games for the iPad will require more than just copying and pasting existing iPhone apps to a new platform. 

“You have to bring something new,” said Mike Mika, head of development for Other Ocean Interactive. “Apple is putting a lot more focused energy in terms of the quality of the apps that come out on the iPad.”

Other Ocean has long developed games for platforms like Nintendo and the Microsoft Xbox. The firm scored an early hit on the iPhone in July 2008 with the release of Super Monkey Ball. While Other Ocean has since developed or marketed multiple titles for the iPhone including Diner DashDream Chronicles (these latter two developed by PlayFirst Inc.), and a sequel to Super Monkey Ball, the focus moving forward will be squarely on the iPad. 

“For both business and production reasons,” Mika explained, “we will focus on the lead iPad platform (and release iPhone versions a month or two thereafter”). 

No overnight gold rush 

One of the poster children for overnight success in the iTunes App Store is Steve Demeter. Within months of the store’s launch, Demeter’s small firm Demiforce was grossing hundreds of thousands of dollars selling the game Trism

While a new version of Trism will be configured for the iPad, Demeter is not expecting any “app frenzy” to last beyond the first shipment of devices. 

“There’s no preexisting install base of anticipating customers,” said Demeter, who noted that the iPhone was available for more than a year before the App Store opened. “The iPad is a different kind of beast. It’s hardly cut out to be a pocket gaming machine. I don’t know if it’ll attract the same types of buyers as the iPhone.”

The only thing for certain is that the iPad represents new and unexplored levels for mobile gaming. Stay tuned.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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