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Would you like your App Store gaming for here or to go? Apple docks its handhelds—and more than doubles the fun of a single download.
Let’s speak in hypotheticals. Let’s say--just for the sake of argument--that the iPhone and iPod touch have delivered the promise of an entirely new handheld gaming platform. Let’s say that game developers have all developed nerd crushes on the platform’s mighty ARM processor, a processor that can be clocked up to 620MHz, if battery life is of no concern, as well as a processor--a mobile processor, mind you--that closely matches the firepower of processors found in console systems like the Sega Dreamcast, Sony PS2, and original Xbox. Let’s just say that. And let’s also say--again, just for the sake of argument--that the marketing cronies of all those nerd game developers are obsessing over the platform’s content delivery system, the App Store, which makes downloading a bazillion games every month incredibly difficult to resist.
Sounds like a recipe for greatness, right? Well, it is once you take this nifty little gaming platform and assign it double duty as both a handheld and a console system.
The GameDock accommodates the iPhone and iPod touch and hooks directly to your TV and the Internet. Whether you download a game wirelessly via the handheld or wiredly via the GameDock, you pay just once for two versions of the same title.
This is where things get interesting. When you download a game straight to your handheld, you can immediately begin playing the touch-controlled version of the game. And it’s glorious! And the next time you seat your handheld in the GameDock, the console immediately sucks down the full, expanded version of the game from the App Store, and stores it in its voluminous hard drive. So now you can play the console version of the very same game--with more features, more content, expanded controls, and, thanks to the GameDock’s integrated graphics processor, better visuals.
And should you first download a game when your handheld is seated in the GameDock, the “mini” version of the game shoots straight into your iPhone or touch, ready to play the next time you disengage from the console and hit the road.
Of course, the GameDock scheme wouldn’t be quite so interesting if not for its seamless integration of content. For some game titles, the handheld version of the game exists as sort of an autonomous “mini game”--its gameplay model runs independent of the console version’s. But for other titles, the handheld and console versions of the same game work together. Gameplay models obviously differ between the mobile and full versions, but each version hooks into the other in creative, novel, symbiotic ways. And through the power of syncing, your progress in level- and achievement-based games is saved and always propelled forward, regardless of which version you’re playing.
A remarkable new gaming platform? Yes, let’s just say that.
Next, build your own machine with the LMac.