Apple building up iPad 3 to rival Xbox 360 and PS3, claims XMG's Adam Telfer

But indie era may be over

Apple building up iPad 3 to rival Xbox 360 and PS3, claims XMG's Adam Telfer
The quandary many developers face when setting out their desires for a new piece of hardware is, most – if not all - happen to be gamers too.

It's a mental tussle perfectly illustrated by XMG Studio's VP of game development Adam Telfer.

While he wants Apple to take on Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo in the living room, he's also wary of the development costs involved for outfits such as XMG if iPad 3 represents a major step up from its predecessor.

We caught up with Adam for his take on how Apple should find the right balance for developers and consumers alike with its all-conquering iPad.

Pocket Gamer: From a developer's perspective, what's the least you are hoping for from iPad 3?

Adam Telfer: Increased hardware capabilities, and the same screen resolution. This would actually be ideal.

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.

Apple should be building a resource bundler into the next version if they plan on increasing the screen size again. We should be able to only download the graphics we need when downloading onto a device. It will help us keep our games small so users can download over 3G.

I'd also like a higher res camera, so we can take advantage of it for augmented reality.

If you were making the decisions as Apple, what's the one wildcard feature you'd include?

HD - or high resolution - streaming, mirroring AirPlay from iPad to Apple TVs. Start talking the console world by storm and force Nintendo's Wii U strategy into question.

A smaller, cheaper iPad would be nice, too, but it's probably not going to happen.

The latest suggestion is iPad 3 will come with an 'A5X' chip, rather than A6 as expected. Given we know nothing about either, is this likely to make any practical difference?

X? Sounds amazing.

Seeing as we don't know much about either, it doesn't sound like it would make much of a difference. I think we can all expect a multi-core high performance mobile chip. A5X could mean it's still dual-core, but I hope that they push for quad-core. 

I'm anticipating that it will rival the Xbox 360, PS3 for capabilities, if not more. Apple will hopefully be building iPad 3 to be a gaming console first – a tablet that will really push for dominance as a transmedia machine, with iCloud at the centre of its media and entertainment management.


Where do you think iPad 3's competition is likely to come from?

Kindle Fire is certainly attacking iPad on price point.

Windows Phone 8 could also start to take market share away from Apple as Microsoft is getting better at mobile. It's inevitable Microsoft will catch up.

Windows 8 may help it do that in the tablet market, but I just don't see it taking a huge chunk of share until iPad 4.

Broadly speaking, what do you think iPad 3 will do for games on the App Store, and mobile gaming in general?

Bigger and bigger budgets will be brought to the mobile gaming space. We're already competing with console sized games - Infinity Blade, Grand Theft Auto III, etc.

What will be interesting is how well console companies can adapt to the mobile. EA looks like its really taking good steps to become dominant on the store.

You'll see less indies, and more publishers. As the budgets rise, indie developers won't be able to compete, and will need to go back to the publishing models to compete.

I think the 'meritocracy' that is the AppStore will slowly start to erode. With publishers getting larger and larger, it will be harder and harder to get great games noticed.

I think multiple App Stores may also start popping up. Great developers should already be building mobile apps that act as niche hubs for app hunters.
Thanks to Adam for his time.

You can find out more about XMG Studio on the firm's website.

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