Frenzied excitement and fears of fragmentation: Developers react to iPad 3

New tech could leave indies behind

Frenzied excitement and fears of fragmentation: Developers react to iPad 3
Only Apple could generate as much buzz around the date and location of iPad 3's unveiling as the big reveal itself.

The moment the Cupertino giant pushed iPad 3 invites out to the great and the good, so blogs, tech sites and - indeed - Pocket Gamer carried the news as if the tablet had already been released into the wild.

Developers aplenty are eager to know just what Apple has under its sleeves, but as PocketGamer.biz has discovered, there is plenty of fear doing the rounds, too.

For one, while developers can have confidence in a platform that, even now, seems guaranteed to sell in the tens of millions in year one, the prospect of developing for bigger and better hardware isn't one all indies are enthusiastic about.

Here's a sample of the new features developers will have their eye on in iPad 3, along with a hefty dose of the upgrades they fear may leave them out in the cold:


Will Luton, creative director, Mobile Pie

"The thing that shakes up mobile games is less processor evolution but more distribution and input technology.

"There are few games companies really pushing the iOS family processing limits - NaturalMotion and Chair being excellent notable exceptions. Whatever performance it provides will unlikely change what games we make."

Click here to read the interview in full.
Andrew John Smith, MD, Spilt Milk Studios

"I think the entire tablet market will benefit from the iPad 3 as it will encourage more competition, as is the case in all of these hardware markets, and I'm sure there's room for Android, Windows and even Blackberry-based hardware to do good business."

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Paul Taylor, joint-MD, Mode 7

"I personally think other tablet manufacturers are aiming for a subtly different audience than iPad, which is almost a separate platform in its own right at this point.

"It is really tough to see where serious competition will come from, but as I said, I think the aim of other manufacturers isn't a head-on clash."

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Ste Pickford, co-founder, Zee-3

"I think right now the only thing I'd like from an iPad 3 is either for it not to exist, or for it to have the fewest new features possible!

"It's the 'single device' concept that made it possible for micro teams like us to make games for iOS, as we didn't need to worry about supporting dozens of target platforms.

"Every new iPhone or iPad upgrade is making the situation for iOS developers a little bit worse."

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Mills™, CHIEF WONKA, ustwo

"I think the iPad 3 will continue to build on its predecessor's success.

"We'll see more full feature games as people embrace iPads rather than more traditional gaming devices. iPad 2 is already powerful enough to run really resource intensive games - just check out Infinity Blade 2.

"Better game performance will also close the gap between consoles, but so far I think AirPlay is too laggy to actually replace a console with an iPad and TV setup.

"Retina display is a much bigger deal for iPad than it is iPhone as, with most 3D games, retina resolution is hard to distinguish on an iPhone's screen."

Click here to read the interview in full.
Oli Christie, CEO, Neon Play

"In terms of development, I think it'll be a lot more time consuming to create interfaces for Universal applications if Apple doubles the screen size.

"Supporting both 480x320 and 2048x1536 resolutions is a significant difference.

"Double the pixel density means that textures need to hold four times the number of pixels resulting in much higher file sizes. This is especially problematic if applications still need to be less than 20MB for 3G download."

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Adam Telfer, VP of game development, XMG Studio

"If Apple doubles the pixel resolution, the App Store will become increasingly fragmented. A Universal build will have to account for both SD - 320x480 - and HD on iPhone, as well as iPad and iPad 3 resolutions.

"In order to keep the build under 20 MB it will take considerable effort. We'll either have to offload assets to our own servers - which is expensive - or force users to download 100MB apps when they only use 20 percent of the assets because their device only supports one size."

Click here to read the interview in full.
Peter Collier, co-founder, Hogrocket

"We're more interested in software features and developments than hardware upgrades to be honest.

"Unless you're a developer producing high-end titles such as Infinity Blade that really push the hardware, it doesn't make a great deal of difference to us."

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Andrew Rollings, co-founder, Hiive

"I believe that it will increase the production costs for a game and price indie developers out of the market.

"The only thing holding this back is the lack of a dedicated inbuilt game controller. If we had one of those, the App Store would become a high-budget low-risk FPS crap-fest before you could blink."

Click here to read the interview in full.
Gareth Jenkins, founder, 36peas

"From a dev perspective, I'm hoping for at least same GPU throughput in iPad 3 - i.e. in relative terms, considering the likely new resolution.

"The chip will be what it'll be. As game devs we'll always be optimising to what's available."

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Andrew Stein, global mobile business developer director, PopCap

"The rumour mill seems to be pretty consistent that a new iPad 3 will have a Retina display screen.

"That sounds awesome from a user experience but a bit scary from a developer perspective as the art impact is quite substantial.

"App sizes are going to get even bigger than they are now and iPad 3 will need bumps in processor speed and lots more memory to ensure that the real-world performance of an iPad 3 app is comparable to the same 'non-Retina' game on an iPad 2."

Click here to read the interview in full.
Przemek Marszal, game designer, 11 bit studios

"The standard iPad resolution is already big enough to display eye-candy graphics, so I don't need any growth in pixels.

"What I actually would expect is a slightly more powerful GPU than the one in A5.

"It has already proven its ability to be a great gaming device, now it'll add some more fireworks. Just give devs a chance to create magic and they will do."

Click here to read the interview in full.

Thanks to all the developers involved for their time.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.