Wednesday I posted a video of Firemint’s Real Racing 2 HD doing double-duty on my iPad 2 (s aapl) and 40-inch LCD TV (included below). After playing the game, I pinged Firemint for some thoughts regarding the future of iOS gaming. The company’s media liaison, Logan Booker, provided me with some insight regarding Real Racing 2 HD and what could come next.
Real Racing 2 HD proved the perfect opportunity for a first-run implementation of dual-screen HD output, according to Booker, because of the game’s genre. A racing title makes perfect sense, he said via email, “when you consider the natural and incredibly precise control method” and “the fantastic visuals and iPad 2-specific optimizations.” It’s true that using the iPad 2 as a steering wheel for the action going on on the TV immediately felt natural.
Racing may have been a natural fit for Firemint’s first foray into dual-screen iPad gaming, but Logan also pointed out that what makes the idea so appealing is how easily the iPad 2 straddles the divide between living room and mobile gaming. Thanks, he says, in particular to “the seamless connect/disconnect functionality,” the iPad 2 represents the easiest way to jump between mobile and home console-style gaming yet. If you need to vacate the room to open up the TV for a spouse or roommate, or to catch a ride somewhere, you don’t have to stop gaming: just unplug your AV adapter and take it with you without skipping a beat. Booker sees “plenty of compelling opportunities to build on this feature in the future.”
When considering what the iPad 2 may be capable of in future gaming applications, it’s good to look at what it’s already doing. Firemint designed Real Racing 2 HD to output a 1920 x 1080 image to your TV screen, while at the same time driving 1024 x 768 resolution on your iPad 2, which, as Booker points out, represents “a lot of processing going on.” Apple put a lot of muscle under the hood of the iPad 2, and how that will ultimately play out in the gaming realm has only begun to be uncovered.
I tried to get Booker to muse about what other additional features Apple could add to the iPad down the road to make it even more capable as a gaming device, but he wouldn’t bite. Instead, he argued that the “iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are already very compelling gaming devices and great platforms to develop on,” and concluded that “[t]he powerful hardware in iPad 2, along with its 1080p out functionality and added gyroscope, just bolster its credentials.” After having spent quite a bit of time already with Real Racing HD 2, I’m inclined to agree.