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Bigby avatar 5:03 PM on 11.27.2010  (server time)
Tablet gaming and what it means for you

That image above shows some serious chops on a game for a phone. Now imagine that on the iPad. Even more possibilities spring to mind. Phone games have been gaining major traction in the mobile world and game development world. Rovio alone with it's Angry Birds game behemoth has shown just how popular it can be. Now lets move into the world of 7, 8, and 10 inch tablets and things begin to change dramatically. What can this larger form factor with bigger horsepower offer to gamers who are now moving into a more mobile future?

Mobile tablets like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab are the tip of the iceberg that is tablets that will be coming our way in 2011. Acer, ASUS, LG, Blackberry, Toshiba, MSI, all are ready to unleash the whirlwind of tablets they have in their stables that are just waiting to be released. All they are waiting on is a UI designed to work on the larger form factors and specifications their tablets offer. In this case Android 3.0, or Gingerbread, which is due to release sometime in the next few weeks. Promising new features and optimization for larger form factors, lots of manufacturers have been waiting for this OS before releasing their tablets. What does this mean for games and game developers? Well Google has stated they are releasing new SDK tools for developers to make programming for Gingerbread easier and more intuitive and more control over native resolution settings. Meaning they can streamline the process of how the apps they develop will look on a larger or smaller screen depending on what it is being installed on. Also the Android Market will be tweaked to allow videos of games made to be seen inside the market place rather than just a link to Youtube as has been the case in the past. This means you can get a look at what the game is before you get it right there on the app page. Making the likelyhood of you actually buying it that much higher.

Another big aspect that will change gaming on tablets is the hardware being released on them. The LG Optimus pad will be sporting the new nVidia Tegra 2 processor that has plenty of horsepower to keep your games running smoothly on these bigger screens. Intel's going to be releasing some new chips to be used in mobile devices as well along their Sandy Bridge line of CPUs. This all means more power in those tablets and more variety on the types of games you can run on them. So developers will have more power to develop more sophisticated games with not only higher graphical capabilities but also more depth to them as well.

With a bigger screen comes more real estate to place controls that will not block the action on the screen when your digits get in the way to take control. So the game becomes more the centerpiece rather than having control images taking up a good portion of the viewable area. For action type games that take some pretty quick responses and timing this is essential. You cannot have a fast paced action game with your big meaty thumb in the way of a quarter of the screen for a large portion of the time and it remain an enjoyable experience.

Games like Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies, Sam and Max, etc work well on these mobile devices due to the fact that most of the actions can be done with touching certain areas of the screen to perform actions without it being a hindrance. But now with the larger screens you can bet you will have a larger gamut of games to choose from in the following year when these devices really start to churn out. Developers will have a field day with the new possibilities these devices offer in terms of gameplay, storytelling, depth of character development, graphical capabilities, etc. This is all good news for the gamers out there. Giving them more options than ever in the mobile market that is dominated by phones and their inherent limitations.

Now you may say you do not need a tablet and you are just fine with your phone and its game offerings as well as more practical aspects. And that is fine as well. Just because they are being developed does not mean you are obligated to get them or even support them. But keep in mind that as it stands now many of the games that will be developed in the next year on will have options to upsize for tablets. So if you DO decide you want one after all just know you will not be losing anything from going to your phone to a tablet but gaining so much more.

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