Apple game controller for iOS?

Apple Bandai Pipin Game ConsoleGaming on the iOS platform was, arguably, one of Steve Jobs greatest business decisions. Some of us are old enough to remember the Apple game console that never was (Pippin). The Pippin (released in 1995) was not a great success; it made the shortlist for one of the worst tech products ever, coming 22nd in PC World Magazine‘s list back in 2006. However, despite this initial failure, Steve Jobs always knew that gaming would be important to Apple’s future.

Once the iPod came out Apple was finally able to go mainstream with gaming. Even though games had been available on the Mac from the beginning and before (anyone remember Sneakers on the Apple II?), it wasn’t until the iPod and especially the iPod Touch became popular that gaming really took off. Gaming took off to an even greater extent once the App Store was established, making it easier and cheaper to get into gaming.

The iOS user interface makes playing games accessible but what would make it even more so is a hardware controller, just like Nintendo and Sony have for their gaming consoles. Many gamers are familiar with the likes of the Wii and the XBox so it wouldn’t be awkward for them to use a controller with their iPod/iPhone/iPad.

So, the rumour that Apple is indeed working on such a hardware controller can only be good news.


iPad 2 excites games developers with its improved graphics capability

iPad 2 WiFI & 3GThe fact the iPad 2 comes with a dual-core A5 processor and has (if Apple is to be believed) an greatly improved graphics performance (up to 9x the original version) is something that is exciting game designers.

Features that the enhanced specification will allow include real-time shadows and shafts of light, something that will improve the appearance of games no end and should greatly add to the iPad as a gaming platform for software companies.

Already the likes of Unity (game engine) and Epic Games (Infinity Blade developer) are talking up the new iOS device and their plans for the future.

The addition of a gyroscope is also attracting speculations to how games developers are going to take advantage of its capabilities. The impact of the gyroscope will probably be seem most in games that require steering in 3d space, such as driving games like Real Racing HD (by Firemint).

All this can only mean greater success for the iPad as a gaming platform and with new features coming in the iOS side of things Apple looks like it has another winner on is hands. Who woud have thought in the pre-Intel days that Apple would see success in the gaming arena like its seeing today with the iPhone, iPod and iPad?

Mac App Store starts to see counterfeit titles

Image representing Wolfire Games as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

Developer Wolfire, the company which has developed a game called Lugaru HD, has complained to Apple that another developer uploaded a title simply named Lugaru, charging $1 against Lugaru HD’s $10. The former is just a pirated, resubmitted version of HD, Wolfire notes.

So far, it seems Apple hasn’t reacted. However, this could just be the start of what could become a significant problem, unless acts strongly and takes measures to stamp out such piracy. Certainly, if the iOS App Store is anything to go by, unless they do something soon, the problem is bound to grow.

One positive side to all this is of course that the Mac App Store is now so popular that its no wonder that pirates and other charlatans are targeting it. There is big bucks to be made for the canny developer who comes up with a great app at the right price. Just ask the developers of Angry Birds or Doodle Jump.

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OnLive Gaming coming to iPad soon

OnLive game system

The OnLive® Game Service is a groundbreaking on-demand video game platform capable of delivering the latest and most advanced games instantly over a broadband connection. You can play on your TV via the OnLive Game System or on virtually any PC or Mac® via a small browser download. The OnLive Game Service creates an entirely new way to play, watch, share and demo premium games from the world’s leading publishers.

OnLive is different from any other game platform, and it uses technology in a dramatically different way. Instead of elying on you having the latest hardware, all the cpu-intensive work is done on OnLive’s servers and you just need a basic hardware configuration and a decent broadband connection.

OnLive game system app for iPad arrives

OnLive has now released an iPad app called OnLive Viewer — but it doesn’t yet play games. A full iPad app from OnLive will certainly be popular with those folk who have bought an iPad for playing games on, especially as it would allow you to control and play any PC game (from the catalogue available on OnLive – growing all the time) directly on your iPad.

What the app does support is OnLive’s social networking features, so you can make and contact your friends on the service from the app, and see what they’re up to while online. You can also watch “Brag Clips,” which are uploaded videos of other people’s gameplay, and you can even stream straight from certain live games on the service.

The OnLive approach is certainly innovative and having looked around their site and downloaded the Mac application (on My MacBook Pro laptop) the action certainly seems to be smooth. I will definitely try the free play mode (you get 30 mins play for free) and report back how it goes. In the meantime, why not check it out for yourself. Whether it can compete with Steam is another matter.

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Civilization V for Mac release this month

Civilization V
Image by microwavedboy via Flickr

I don’t often post about games, mainly because there are thousands of blogs out there that focus just on computer games. However, for Civ V I am willing to make an exception. Civilization is a game I have played quite a bit over the years and its one of the best strategy games around. Yes, it can be something of a time waster, but then that could be said of all computer games. Funny, when we played computer chess, no-one said we were wasting our lives but the same folk will say that of us playing certain computer games.

For me, life is more than just work and for everyone there is a need for what someone once called the ‘sacred duty of wasting time’. We all need time to relax, unwind from the pressures of the day and the stressful situations that life throws up every now and then. For those of us who like computers and technology in general, computer games can be a way to relax and unwind. Some studies even show that they can be good for you, improving co-ordinations skills and the like.

So, it looks like Civ V for the Mac is about to be released later this month. This will only be a couple of months since its release on the PC, a much shorter gap than we Mac gamers are used to. Surely this a sign that the Mac platform is being taken seriously now by the game developers. The introduction of a Mac client on Steam is another factor in this development and one that has to be applauded. Maybe the roaring success of games on the iPod Touch has a lot to do with it too. Whatever the reason, I am looking forward to upgrading from Civ 4 to the latest version.

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Vietnamese site leaks details of alleged MacBook update

White MacBook laptop
Image via Wikipedia

The Vietnamese site Tinhte, which recently leaked details fo the next iPhone, has now released details of what it claims will be the next update to the MacBook. Claiming it will have a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU with NVIDIA 320M GPU, the site published pictures and specification for the alleged new model.

Apart from the upgrade to the CPU and GPU, there isn’t much else that seems to have changed. The rumours seem to have some credence,  especially with the pictures of the ‘About this Mac‘ in particular.

There were rumours earlier on various blogs that the MacBook Air would be getting a refresh but it’s looking more like it’s the Macbook itself that will get one first.

If the rumours aer true, it will be a welcome update to the GPU in particular, as the Mac range generally lags behind PC‘s when it comes to graphics performance, making Macs still less attractive for gaming. The refresh will bring the Macbook in line with the baseline 13″ MacBook Pro. What this all means for the MacBook Air is uncertain, with some pundits arguing that Apple is letting it wither on the vine, so to speak. Certainly, if Apple intends to keep it going as a viable product line then a refresh is overdue and one would hope to see improvements made to the CPU and GPU, perhaps with larger SSD capacities as well.

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MacHeist nanoBundle – only 5 days left to get free apps!

MacHeist is well-known in the Mac community for offering great deals on bundles of Mac software. There have been 3 ‘heists’ so far with thousands benefiting from the latest software at fantastic prices. I have participated in all three and have found them to be well worth participating in. The next major ‘heist’ hasn’t been announced yet but there is what they are calling the ‘nanoBundle’.There are five apps available for free right now, with a sixth, Mariner Write becoming unlocked when 500,000 folk have participated. Currently 127,641 have so there is a way to go before the target is reached. If you haven’t participated yet there are only 5 days left so you had better get a move on!

So far, with over $19,665,800 saved it represents a great deal for anyone looking for great Mac apps at the lowest price possible (zero!). If they manage to reach their target of 500,000 then Mariner Write for zilch (instead of $50) makes the bundle represents a saving of almost $154 per bundle!

Included in the bundle are:

  • Shovebox from Wnder Warp Software ($24.95) – handy utility for saving and organising bits of information.
  • WriteRoom from Hog Bay Software ($24.95) – distraction free writing in a very elegant package.
  • Twitterrific from Iconfactory – ad-free version of the popular app for all you Twitter addicts!
  • TinyGrab from TinyGrab software – simple screenshot sharing via email, IM, Twitter, Facebook etc.
  • Hordes of Orcs from Freeverse – a Tower Defense strategy game with six game variations.
  • Mariner Write from Mariner Software ($49.95) – a fast word processor for everyone (unlocked when target of 500,000 reached).

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