Video games are among the most popular means of entertainment of the moment, millions of people opting to spend their free time playing video games on their computers, tablets or smartphones. However, despite the recent advancements in technology, the gaming experience is still significantly different from one platform to another, but efforts are made to minimize the gaps. One of the devices that received a lot of attention lately was the iPad, many developers trying to come up with creative solutions to improve gaming on the iPad. One of the most daring solutions of the moment allows you to play some PC game on your iPad, but this is done with the help of a few clever tricks. Still, it’s a good start, so the question that arises is: will you be able to play all your PC games on the iPad anytime soon?
Main differences between platforms
There are two main differences between PCs and handheld devices when it comes to gaming: performance and control.
Smartphones and tablets have evolved a lot lately, today’s most powerful smartphone being faster than a computer that was considered high-end 10 years ago. However, along with the hardware, software evolved as well, allowing for some far more complex games in terms of graphics and features. As a result, while an iPad would have no problem running a game that was created 10 years ago, it stands little to no chance against today’s titles.
Aside performance, there’s also the issue of controls: on a PC, you have a mouse and keyboard to get around, while on an iPad you’re limited to a touchscreen, which is far from enough for most PC games.
Streaming is the key
Developers have come with a very clever approach to running PC games on an iPad – instead of porting the game itself for the iPad, they used another approach: streaming.
You use a special app that transmits the content ran on the PC directly to the iPad. This eliminates the performance issue discussed earlier, as the game is not running on the iPad itself, but on the PC. However, it does add another factor into the equation: the whole gaming process is not standalone, meaning that you can only play games if you have a PC at your disposal as well.
While there are many streaming apps out there that can do this, there’s one particular app that gets the job done the best: Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop. You install the app on the iPad, install the PC version on the PC, create a connection between the two devices and you’re ready to go.
At a first glance, streaming games from a PC to an iPad seems to be the ideal approach, considering the fact that the changes of an iPad to become as powerful as a PC are quite slim. Be that as it may, there are some drawbacks to this method as well. First of all there’s the previously discussed control issue: Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop comes with an intuitive control interface, but that’s far from what a mouse and keyboard can offer. Still, in some games, where the mouse or the keyboard alone is used as control method, the control interface does a pretty good job.
A more important issue is connectivity. Since this method relies on a consistent stream of data between the devices, a less than perfect connection between the two will lead to an unsatisfying gaming experience. A wireless connection is used at the moment, but this limits you to playing at a fairly small distance from your router, as moving further away will result in lower signal and thus poor streaming. Connectivity over mobile networks is also planned for the future, but considering the amount of data that needs to be transferred, it’s quite questionable whether this will be of any actual use.
As you can see, it is indeed possible to play PC games on the iPad at the moment, but the method is quite rudimentary. Even so, the solution has quite a lot of potential, and with some tweaks and twists, it can transform iPads into decent gaming devices, capable of running all the games a PC can run. Maybe iPads will even evolve to the point where they’ll be able to run the games on their own, without the need of a PC acting as an intermediary.
What’s clear is that, at the moment, the road has been opened, and it’s just a matter of time until you’ll be playing all your PC games on your iPad.
This is the guest post by Michael Clark and Airplane Games 365!