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Will the Apple Watch satisfy our thirst for gaming?

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Posted April 15, 2015
Apple Watch. Image credit: Justin14 via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Apple Watch. Image credit: Justin14 via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Apple fanatics were eagerly licking their lips this month as the release date of the new Apple Watch was announced.

While the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus both became available back in September, fans had to wait until 8:01am on 10th April to get their hands on the newest device from Apple, dubbed an “incredibly accurate timepiece, an intimate and immediate communication device and a ground-breaking health and fitness companion.”

It’s a pretty bold statement from Apple, but there is one glaring omission there, and one which will dramatically affect its marketability: the gaming element. Certainly, we can hardly expect to be tapping on Angry Birds to our hearts’ content on a 42mm screen, but have Apple missed a trick here?

In recent years, the mobile gaming industry has grown exponentially, and this is without a doubt thanks to the constant innovation in the smartphone and tablet market. This in turn has given rise to some of the most popular mobile games of the 21st century – just like its Angry Birds and Flappy Bird predecessors beforehand, Ruby Fortune has seen an increased amount of users thanks to developments within this industry.

The new Apple Watch comes in three basic models – the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Sport and the Apple Watch Edition – which will set you back a cool $10,000 thanks to its gold plating. While each model may be leading the way in the style stakes however, each one has its Kryptonite: namely, its reliance on another Apple device to make the most of its features.

For example, the watch, whilst acting as an interactive health and fitness device, also calls itself a notification centre, syncing up with a user’s iPhone to remind him or her of any important meetings, alarms etc. While this is useful for the rushed-off-your-feet user, it is also a huge pitfall for the keen gamer.

Yes, the Apple Watch offers games, but it does so primarily by relying on another device to do the majority of the work. It was glaringly obvious at the recent Spring Forward event that folks promoting the Apple Watch made no effort to promote its games, most probably due to this inconvenient dependence on other devices.

Of course, this does not mean there is no gaming offering whatsoever, simply that we cannot expect Call of Duty-style brilliance where graphics and gameplay are concerned. Nimblebit’s Ian Marsh, the man behind the Letterpad game, said: “Apple Watch support in Letterpad will allow people to chip away at a puzzle right from their wrist whenever they have a free moment, without ever having to touch their phone.

“Players will also receive notifications on their watches when a friend has created a new puzzle and even get the chance to be the first to solve it right from their watch.”

It’s hardly mind-blowing stuff, but thankfully, there is good news on the horizon. Sources have claimed that a new RPG fantasy game will be available by the end of the month, which will allow players to use their watch to enjoy “Twitter-sized entertainment” for short bursts of 15-20 seconds. Unlike other Apple games, Runeblade claims it will be available to play on the Apple Watch without the need of a supporting device.

Everywear Games CEO Aki Järvilehto says: “As consumers, games like Angry Birds and Clash of Clans have been a significant part of our relationships with tablets and mobile. We want to have a similar impact on smartwatches.”

It remains to be seen whether or not this ambitious project will take off, but for those who want to take a jog while looking effortlessly cool, and of course keeping up-to-date with meetings, the Apple Watch still has potential to satisfy.

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