New iPod Touch ad shows up on, and why the device won’t be getting analog controls anytime soon

Mon, Sep 28, 2009

Analysis, News

Well, in case you needed any more proof that Apple was dead serious about positioning the iPod Touch as a gaming device, look no further than the online ad below which was recently featured on the video game website

The ad is pretty similar to other online ad-campaigns that Apple has run previously on websites like the New York Times, and such ads that appear to “break” a website reportedly cost quite the pretty penny.  Still, not everyone feels that Apple’s iPod Touch is up to snuff as a dedicated gaming device.  Macenstein recently wrote that as much as Apple may try and convince you otherwise, the Touch will never serve as a replacement device for hardcore gamers.

Oh sure, many developers have come up with clever tricks and inventive control schemes, but aside from a few standout casual games that were inherently designed for the touch screen interface (Flight Control, Puzzlings, Fieldrunners…) the majority of games would benefit GREATLY from some sort of analog control buttons. Sure, driving games LOOK like they work great in the 2 second clips in the Apple ads, and tilting to steer works well enough, but find me ONE die hard racer who likes having to precisely hit certain areas of a flat screen while turning said screen in order to break, shift, shoot, etc.

Some solid points, and I can attest that the best games for the iPhone are those that were designed specifically for, and work uniquely with, a touchscreen device with an accelerometer.  Flight Control, anyone?  In contrast, I’ve tried my damndest to get behind touchscreen games of Soccer and Tennis, but they’re just utterly lacking without any analog controls.

That said, the iPod Touch caters to a completely different kind of gamer, one who is more likely to spend a few hours playing Snood or Chess on Yahoo! games than they’re likely to spend shopping around for Sony PSP discs.  In that respect, the Touch is the gaming device for those who really aren’t gamers, much in the way that the iPod Shuffle is a music player for those who aren’t hardcore music buffs.  Dare I say that the iPod Touch is a gaming device “for the rest of us.”

One final point – gaming is just one aspect of the Touch’s capabilities, and while Apple may tout it as a gaming device, it is, in reality, a multipurpose device that just happens to play games.  Would gaming on the iPod Touch improve with the addition of analog controls? Certainly, but with over 50 million iPhones and iPod Touchs currently in circulation, customer enthusiasm has undoubtedly and convincingly sapped any ideas Apple may have ever had about releasing a dedicated gaming device with analog controls.  If customers are buying the cookies, why switch up the recipe?


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Jared Says:

    Having just bought an iPod touch to expand my music collection in my pocket from 30GB to 64GB, the gaming is just gravy, especially on top of the Internet Device stuff. I totally agree with your analysis. In addition, I haven’t and won’t pay for games, but lots of free games are pretty compelling. Currently addicted to the word search game Word Scramble 2 (or is it Scramble 2?).

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