After playing games with iPad Pro for two days, I discovered the breakthrough point of Apple as a game console

Apple released a new game subscription service "Apple Arcade" at the 2019 spring conference, and officially landed on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and MacBook devices in September of the same year. The first month is free, and the next month starts at $4.99/ A business model that charges a monthly price.

Almost at the same time, an unexpected product appeared in Apple's official store, the second-generation Microsoft Elite Controller. Since then, Apple devices began to support the connection of PS/Xbox controllers for gaming.

With this combination of punches down, people think that Apple will open its gaming empire. This year there are even rumors that Apple will build game consoles.

But in fact, many of us already have an "Apple brand game console", which is the iPad.

iPad mini is a great handheld device. If you often watch game live broadcasts, you will find that many anchors will use iPad mini to play chicken. This type of game requires four or even six fingers to operate. The operation is complicated. Use iPad mini. It's easy to play. The iPad Pro series is more suitable as a desktop game console because of its larger screen.

▲ The next generation iPad mini may become a new generation of arcade machines, image source: @RendersbyIan

Especially the iPad Pro 2021 12.9" launched this year, with the support of 120Hz ProMotion, HDR, mini-LED and other technologies, the picture presented is brighter and the contrast between light and dark is stronger. It is said that it is an iQiyi artifact, but more like it. It is a game artifact.

So I downloaded "Divine Realm: Original Sin 2", "Original God" and a bunch of Apple Arcade games. After connecting the Xbox controller, I played with iPad Pro for two days.

How do the games on the iPad Pro play?

Divine Realm: Original Sin 2 After two years of transplantation and development, it was finally put on the App Store in the US at a price of $24.99, which is about RMB 160. This price is already considered a luxury in the App Store, even more than the one on Steam. The original price is more expensive, is it worth it?

This is my first time to play the original sin 2 CRPG game (perhaps this version should be called PRPG? P for Pad), using the "touch + handle + mouse and keyboard" triple interactive mode to play, the game experience is great.

Although this game has been on the PC platform for nearly 4 years, it is still not out of date to look at it from the current perspective. Its light and shadow special effects, character details, and combat special effects are very technical. If I were not playing in person, it would actually be very technical. It's hard to believe that this is a mobile game.

The official said that in this version of the game, you can experience the same and original game experience as the PC. They are not just talking about it. The tablet screen has reached the highest picture quality level on the PC, and on the M1 iPad Pro It can also be played in 60-frame mode.

However, when the screen details are too much, or in a complex fighting scene, the frame rate will drop sharply visible to the naked eye. It is not fake to say that this game can be squeezed out and equipped with iPad Pro.

The game even provides different UI designs for different interaction schemes. When I connect the mouse to play, the icons in the bottom inventory all become smaller, and the shortcut keys are displayed on it. If I look closely, the mouse style has also changed. It is not the original white dot.

Unknowingly, my playing time in Original Sin 2 has exceeded 5 hours, and the iPad Pro that was fully charged at this time also prompts that the battery is in a hurry. After fully charged, I opened another RPG game-Yuanshen.

Yuanshen has high requirements for hardware performance, so it has become a running tool in Lei Jun's mouth. When we evaluate the performance of mobile games, we often use Yuanshen to run the frame rate. So far, no mobile phone can pass the test of stable 60fps playing Yuanshen.

Of course, the new iPad Pro is also difficult to cross this threshold. When the 60fps mode is turned on in full high quality, occasionally there will be frame drop visible to the naked eye. Perhaps Yuanshen has not specifically optimized the M1 chip.

I can choose to sacrifice some image quality to achieve a 60fps full-frame gaming experience, and use this 12.9-inch large screen to play the original God, which is not the same as playing on a mobile phone, in short, it is more immersive and more immersive. Enjoy, because the screen size of the iPad Pro is dominant, I can stand the iPad on the table and lie on the sofa with the handle to play.

Another advantage of this desktop mode is that I don’t need a handheld device, so I don’t have to feel the heat generated when the hardware is running at full capacity.

Apart from some controversies, the quality of the game itself is the reason why Yuanshen is so popular. Regardless of the graphics and gameplay, they are what a 3A game should look like. Especially on the Liquid XDR screen of the iPad Pro, Yuanshen's dish is more delicate and delicious.

The two games mentioned above are actually not the areas where the controller is good at this kind of interactive solution, but racing games are.

But unfortunately, the iPad platform does not yet have a 3A-class racing masterpiece. I use the iPad + controller to play the Asphalt series. I always feel a little overkill. I downloaded and played "Real Racing 3" and "F1 Mobile." "Although the graphics and driving experience have an internal taste, the compatibility of the handle is almost meaningless.

In a real racing car, the left stick controls the direction, but the steering is very blunt, especially when fine-tuning the alignment after exiting a corner. I obviously just flip the stick slightly, but the front of the car is adjusted bluntly and violently; The above situation does not occur in F1 Mobile. The steering control is linear and natural. However, the menu interface is not specifically optimized. At this time, you still need to stretch your hand forward for touch operation, which means that the handle can only be sent when you are controlling the car. Useful.

In some 2D racing games, the compatibility of the controller is better.

For example, in the game "Speed ​​Demons", as a player, I need to control the car to move forward in the traffic until it crosses the line. If the steering direction is not clear, it is easy to roll over. It is very addictive to play with the handle.

Why does Speed ​​Demons have better handle support than the racing games produced by the first two major manufacturers? Because it is a game under the Apple Arcade system.

In the Apple Arcade game subscription system, almost all games will be specially optimized for the handle, because it is not only for touch devices such as iPhone and iPad, but also Apple TV.

Handle is the most common way of game interaction, and they are naturally more concerned about it.

Apple Arcade has launched 177 games since its launch in 2019. Except for 70+ games on the shelves at the time of release, and a wave of major updates in April this year, the rest of the time has basically been updated twice a month. Rhythm launches new games to ensure that subscribers are always fresh and willing to renew.

Most of them are indie games, and most of the content is higher than the quality of games outside the Apple Arcade system. Among them are games with big works like "Oceanhorn 2" (Oceanhorn 2) and "NBA2K21". .

After some play, I found that my favorite game is not the aforementioned NBA2K21 games that win with graphics quality, but "Clarion of the Sea: Chronos Dungeon" (Oceanhorn: Chronos Dungeon) And "Wonderbox".

Kronos Dungeon is a top-down exploration Roguelike game based on the Horn of the Sea world view. It supports up to four people to play together. The game uses pixel art style, but it does not reduce the precision of modeling. Instead, it can be viewed from The scenes, characters, objects, etc. can be seen to be well-made. Although it is a Roguelike game, there is no obvious penalty mechanism. If it is simply treated as a dungeon action game, the playability is still very high.

Another game, Wonderbox, is a bit like a combination of "Monument Valley + Wild Fight + Lehman". It adopts a cartoon style and is suitable for both big and small friends. The design of entering the hidden scene by rotating the perspective is very interesting. Exploring in the world created by other players means "made by Super Mario".

iPad Pro is not the final form of Apple's game console

For lovers of early adopters and indie games, Apple Arcade's $4.99/month subscription fee is indeed quite cost-effective. There are many games in it, and if you choose to put them on the App Store alone, you can also sell them for $4.99.

As the name of this game subscription service says, Apple Arcade is like a game console room. Although it's impossible for every game to suit your appetite, with Apple's production, the quality will probably not be bad.

The number of games I played on the iPad Pro in the past two days is more than I have played in the past year. I am enjoying it and I have found a lot of games that are worth playing all the time, and the money I spent on this is less than half of the cost of buying a "Resident Evil: Village" (Steam price of 528 yuan), which can be said to be Very cost-effective, but for more players, although Resident Evil is expensive, the fun and audio-visual enjoyment it brings is also something that iPad cannot provide.

Obviously, the iPad Pro surpasses today's mainstream handhelds in many aspects: the screen display is gorgeous, the chip is super powerful, but it is still dragged down in the software part, like dancing in shackles.

The appeal is as strong as Apple. Today, two years after Apple Arcade was launched, it has not been able to bring more well-known IPs to its own platform. If you look at the sales of PS5 and Xbox Series X|S series, you can get a glimpse of the exclusive masterpiece and the game. The importance of the platform.

A few days ago, market analysis company Finbold released the compiled sales data of next-generation consoles . Sony sold more than 8.6 million PS5 units worldwide, while the cumulative sales of Microsoft's Xbox Series X|S were 5.12 million units. It seems that exclusive masterpieces, or well-known IPs, are quite attractive to players. This is true for PS5, and even more so for Nintendo Switch.

Microsoft has been a mortal enemy with Sony in the console market for many years, and finally understand this. So last year, with a swipe of a pen, Microsoft recruited Bethesda's parent company (ZeniMax) to its subordinates. Its many well-known IPs such as "The Elder Scrolls", "Fallout", "Doom", "Shame", " "German Headquarters" and so on, in the future may become the exclusive IP of Microsoft, and become the weapon and capital of Xbox against PS5. How effective is it? Looking at the comparison of sales at this time next year, one or two will be known.

Apple's shortcomings, to be filled by Microsoft?

Due to the difference in its form and product strategy, the iPad Pro will naturally not advance towards the direction of professional gaming equipment, but does it still have a chance? I think so, maybe it's time to turn to Microsoft's XGP service.

We inferred from the above that there is a lack of 3A masterpieces on the iPad side, and it is time-consuming and laborious to talk about each manufacturer. It is better to take a platform that has already gathered a large number of works.

Microsoft's XGP is a good choice. The full name of XGP is "Xbox Game Pass" . It is a game subscription service launched by Microsoft. It is similar to Apple Arcade. It contains many works, including boutique indie games, and there is no shortage of "halo" and "battlefield". ”, “Horizon”, “Fallout” and other 3A masterpieces, pay $14.99 a month to enjoy all the games in the service without any pain. It supports playing on consoles, PCs and Android devices.

Android devices have limited local graphics performance, but with the cloud gaming function launched last year, players can also play high-quality masterpieces on the Xbox platform on their phones.

The same gaming experience should be ported to iOS/iPadOS, depending on the wishes of both parties.

In fact, there were rumors last year that the XGP service will be launched on Apple devices in 2021. If this finally comes true, I think this iPad Pro will become more fragrant regardless of productivity.

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