One thing iOS and Mac developers need to take more advantage of is the halo effect of Apple’s devices. I’m talking about how users of iOS devices also tend to own Macs, and vice versa. Real Racing 2 for the Mac, out Thursday, is a perfect example of how to capitalize on that with value-added features.
The EA game, which was originally a Firemint title until that company was acquired in May, is a Mac port of a title that has already made a name for itself on the iPad by providing a two-screen gaming experience; players can use their iPads as controllers for the iOS version of the game as it streams over AirPlay to an Apple TV-connected HDTV. The new Mac version offers a similar experience, by allowing players to control steering via their iPhones or iPads, just by visiting a web address in their device’s browser, so long as the Mac and control device are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
In testing with the iPad 2, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S, the control scheme worked flawlessly. The experience was terrific; even though you’re only connected via the browser, steering feels very responsive, and you can also switch camera angles, hit the brakes, and check out your rearview mirror from your controller device.
EA isn’t the first to make a Mac app you can control with your iPhone or iPad, but this is a remarkably simple and elegant implementation of a solid motion control experience on a home computer, something that gaming consoles are all competing to offer consumers. That EA is backing this kind of control scheme, and not just an independent developer, also bodes well for the future of two-screen Apple gaming. Let’s hope Apple supports and promotes developers trying out this kind of deep device integration, which would make sense since it only offers more incentive for users to stay within the Apple hardware and software ecosystem.