April 5, 2010 - Tech junkies have been waiting for this for years! The Apple iPad is finally here, and all the rumors, speculation, and secrecy can end. Now we can finally determine once and for all whether or not the iPad is a worthwhile product that deserves to be a sibling of the revolutionary iPod and iPhone.
However, we're not all that interested in this device's worth to the average consumer. We're worried about gamers! Is this hulking behemoth of a handheld console worth picking up exclusively for the gaming aspects? We just had to find out for ourselves, and so we picked one up on launch day to bring you the definitive word.
We were somewhat surprised to not come away with a definitive "yes" or "no" answer to this question. Whether or not the iPad is a good purchase for your gaming needs will depend on many factors, not least of which is the depth of your pocketbook.
It's hard not to mention the fact that, as a gaming device, the iPad is the single most expensive addition to your console collection as you're likely to find. The lowest point of entry for someone looking to get their iPad gaming fix is $499, and that's for the bare minimum of features. That will get you the smallest hard drive and no 3G internet access.
The good news, though, is that once you're in, the gaming has already proven to be pretty spectacular. The large screen makes a colossal difference in the gaming experience, and many games that were up-scaled from their iPhone versions are just plain better with the larger play area.
As always, Apple's touch screen technology is amazing and effortless, providing a great responsive interface for a wholly different style of gameplay than you can find on any system.
The biggest downside most people will notice, though, is the similarly enhanced prices for iPad games. Most games that are new to the iPad or have been up-scaled feature a premium price; ranging upwards of $15 down to $3 (though some apps are still free).
For a lot of games, this represents a problem because the gamer just isn't getting enough for their money. Sure, it's a larger surface screen, but a lot of these games simply do not have enough extra content to justify the high price tag.
However, "high price" is a relative term. Taking into consideration that even the most expensive of apps are still only half the cost of a regular Nintendo DS game, it no longer seems so ridiculous.