Whilst the iPad is, in its own right, a very capable mobile gaming machine, the majority of the gaming world still find their solace in front of the big screen. With the release of the Xbox One and the PS4, consoles are now more powerful than ever, and juggernaut PC hardware is pushing games further than ever before. It has never been my view that mobile gaming would replace console/PC gaming, but rather it would serve as an excellent, on-the-go alternative. But can the two not co-exist in a more intimate way?
I believe that the coolest app on iOS is Battlefield 4 Commander. Battlefield 4 Commander is a companion app to EA and Dice’s smash hit Battlefield 4. The title is an epic first person shooter, with multiplayer and singleplayer elements. Of course, Battlefield 4 is most renowned for its multiplayer (which is riddled with bugs and glitches, but that’s another story), the epic scale of its battles and its incredible environments create a marvellous visual spectacle for the user. But there’s also a highly tactical element to Battlefield four, and that’s where Commander comes in. Commander allows you to use your iPad alongside your PC or console, enabling a strategic view of the battlefield. It lets you assign squad objectives, use intelligence such as UAVs and EMPs, and even call in airstrikes. The app has fully integreated VOIP support so you can communicate with your team directly through the iOS app. Battlefield 4 Commander is a phenomenal example of how the iPad can be used in conjunction with a PC or a games console to make your experience infinitely better.
The same can be said of the Call of Duty app for iOS, which allows users to keep track of Clan Wars stats, career stats, the progress of your friends and rivals and even edit your custom classes. In both cases, using the iPad adds a new dimension to gaming that doesn’t break the bank, and I would love to see more of this.
Recently, I’ve been playing the Day-Z standalone, a fantastic zombie-apocalypse simulator based on the ultra-realistic Arma 2 engine. Playing this game requires extensive map knowledge, as well as an understanding of the games mechanics, and in game-objects. Information that could all be access very handily through a similar companion app. I suppose that the idea I have in mind is very similar to the concept currently used by the Wii U. It works around a console that powers a game, and then a tablet working with that console to provide a user with extra information and functionality. Granted, I don’t believe the iPad would be able to successfully recreate the kind of input functionality of the Wii U, but as a tool of information, the possibilities of using the iPad in gaming is infinite.
For nearly any game, be it a first person shooter, a strategy game, or certainly an RPG based around a much larger map, like Fallout, the iPad could be used to display a comprehensive, real time map. Call of Duty has shown how the iPad can be used to display features such as stats and progress, and the possibilities there are also widespread, as this can be applied to almost any game.
The iPad would certainly be well suited to features like the Pip-Boy from Fallout 3!
Not only that, the iPad could be used in sports games as a screen for tactics selection and changes, as well as further room for stats, and perhaps even game settings.
I guess the more information can be taken away from the users main gaming screen, and placed on an alternative display, such as the iPad, would relieve your main gaming screen of much clutter, allowing you to concentrate solely on your gameplay. Yet the iPad isn’t simply a second display, because its touch screen and snappy responsiveness make it an unparalleled tool for displaying information and input functionality.
With that in mind, I am desperate to see developers behind successful console and PC gaming titles look towards mobile devices, particularly the iPad, as useful companions to gaming on the big screen. Do you think that the iPad has a role to play in PC and Console gaming? Leave your comments below!