Gaming, Tablets and Learning: What a difference a Year Makes
By Jim Lundy
Having covered Corporate Learning for years, I’ve become a student of Gaming and Simulations. I was very surprised to see the enhanced quality of some games on my iPad 4. This was after having watched the Sony PlayStation announcement just a few weeks ago. This blog post discusses advances in gaming on Tablets and the implications for corporate and K-12 learning.
As gaming has evolved from the early days of Pong, to platforms such as Nintendo, to PlayStation and finally XBOX, graphics have gotten significantly better. Many firms, such as Sony and Nintendo have attempted to do mobile games with some success, but it required a separate device. The iPad changed all that.
We have written about the Tablet as the Ultimate Learning device and it is well known that Tablets are showing up in schools, due in part to the affordability of the devices and a number of other factors. We thought the iPad 2 was a very capable device, but the game changed last year.
In 2012, Apple doubled the resolution of the iPad 3 to 2048-by-1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi). This gives game designers lots more pixels to work with. What Apple did with the iPad 4 is add quad core graphics as well. These graphic rendering capabilities are just beginning to show up in games that are launching in the iTunes App Store.
Gaming and the iPad
To understand the significance of the change, let’s look at two games from the same manufacturer, EA Sports and its Real Racing HD games. A year ago Real Racing HD2 was featured in Apple Commercials. At the time, it was about as good as it got in gaming resolution, since it approached the same quality as dedicated Gaming Systems (e.g. XBOX and PlayStation). See figure 1 below.
With Real Racing HD 2, it was the first serious challenge to the Console based gaming systems. It also started to make people realize what the true potential is for a tablet device for immersive learning.
Now, with the release of Real Racing HD3, graphics quality has gone to a new level. As you can see from the images of the cars and the scenery, it looks lifelike. It is clear that game designers are now able to take advantage of the resolution image, which is 4x greater than the iPad 2. It shows.
With all that said, the gaming industry isn’t standing still. The image below (figure 3) from the forthcoming DriveClub Game (Evolution Studios) for the PlayStation 4 shows that console gaming will be shockingly real. Evolution Studios is not new to these types of games. They developed Motor Storm for the Launch of the PlayStation 3 and were later acquired by Sony.
It is important to note that the DriveClub image is not from a shipping game, since the PlayStation 4 isn’t a shipping console but it should be by the fourth quarter of 2013. On the flip side of that, Apple isn’t standing still. By the time the PS4 launches, there will be an iPad 5 in the market. The pace of innovation in Tablets is something to keep a watch on.
Implications for Learning – Gaming in the Enterprise
The whole point here with regard to learning isn’t just about the quality. Tablets will offer the ability to become simulators for training at extremely low price points. That isn’t in the future: it is here and it is now.
When I mention simulators, we do mean that. These games assume the physics of the real world, whether it is curving a soccer ball or skidding through an intersection in a car chase. Simulating activities on an Oil Rig or even for driver education has massive implications.
Learning and Development departments as well as Business leaders need to take notice and look at Tablets differently. Instead of a high-end PC, advanced simulations can now run on an in-expensive Tablet. This is a game changer. Gaming is changing and so is Learning.