6 mins read

I’ve been playing around with Apple’s AirPlay feature via iPad and Apple TV, and it really does surprise me that more isn’t made of this feature. Put the two of them together and you get a console-quality experience, which you’re then able to pick up and seamlessly take on the road with you.

In fact, the experience that AirPlay offers is eerily close to the kind of experience that Nintendo is promising the Wii U will offer. And by playing with AirPlay, perhaps we’re getting both a sneak preview into Nintendo’s next console, and perhaps a warning siren about the Wii U’s future.

But first, AirPlay. There’s a range of games that have been optimied for AirPlay, and they’re all pretty incredible on the big HD TV screen. Real Racing 2 and Modern Combat 3 are the biggest highlights of this range of games. Both are not quite up to the standards of a PS3 or Xbox 360, but well beyond the output of the Nintendo Wii. Not bad for a handheld device.

Playing these games is also very comfortable – for anyone who is used to playing games on touch screens, that is. Once you’ve set up the virtual buttons in comfortable positions so that you no longer need to look down at the screen, it’s a short process of acclimatisation, and using the iPad as a controller starts to feel as intuitive as physical buttons. Now I’ve never really understood how people struggle with virtual controls though, so perhaps I’m just lucky here, but there’s so many different ways to play these games – including gyro controls, that most people should find a control set up that is comfortable for them.

Those games that are AirPlay optimised also use the iPad’s screen for maps and other supplementary information – much like what the Wii U will offer once Nintendo’s new console launches. While not every game is upscaled onto the big screen through the Apple TV (and it is disappointing there aren’t more games that support it), almost every other game is still playable through mirroring too. This simply replicates the iPad screen on the TV, allowing you to “blow up” everything that you’re doing.

So, for instance, I plugged in my 60beat controller and got into The Bard’s Tale through AirPlay. The experience was literally that of a console game. It’s a little unwieldy in that I needed three separate pieces of technology to make it happen, but it worked, and then I was able to continue playing the exact same game of The Bards Tale on the train.

And consider this – you’ll be able to use AirPlay and the OnLive app for full console games if you’re in America, and on top of that, Apple is potentially developing a controller of its own. With 20,000+ games on the app store, and with the inevitable scramble that would occur to support this controller, pairing an Apple TV with an iPad (or iPhone), is going to give gamers access to a very, very big library of games.

The reality is that I’ve spent more time messing around with AirPlay than playing my other consoles in the past few weeks. And yet, the versatility of AirPlay as a gaming device is something I read very little about.

That got me to thinking: why is it that such a neat feature is all but ignored? It’s not because Apple is a niche company (it being the largest company in the world and all), or that the iPad (or Apple TV) has performed poorly in the market. The consumer interest is there.

And yet developers haven’t really shown interest in AirPlay. One new release game in 100, if that, supports AirPlay. Is this because it’s hard to develop for (given Apple’s history, unlikely)? Or is there another, more worrying cause for the lack of interest?

The answer, regardless of what it is, is a bit of a worry when we get to looking at the Wii U. The feature that Nintendo is pushing most heavily on its upcoming console is a feature that is closest to being a failure in terms of gaming from Apple (it’s worth noting that the Apple TV + iPad combo is popular for presentations and the like in business settings). Given there’s been an underwhelming response to the Wii U amongst analysts, the market, and just about everyone else outside of the Nintendo faithful, here’s a bit of a worrying thought:

“Perhaps people just don’t care for this kind of gameplay.”

This is the bio under which all legacy articles are published (as in the 12,000-odd, before we moved to the new Website and platform). This is not a member of the DDNet Team. Please see the article's text for byline attribution.

  • Glad to see you've found a way to get around Nintendo Life's somewhat annoying "no posting things you've written elsewhere" policy. 😛

    I'll have to read it in the morning when I'm more awake, but I look forward to the surely interesting discussion to come of it on NL. Seriously, this has the potential to be the greatest (from multiple standpoints) thread on the site yet.

  • The difference I am seeing between Apple Airplay and the Wii U is that the Apple Airplay is a very expensive and seperated feature; not only do you need a portable Apple device, but you also need an Apple TV if you want to stream any kind of video to a television. Both devices were originally meant to be used as separate devices rather than interconnected pieces of technology. Not only is the Wii U promising to package both devices (the console and the controller) within the same box, but Nintendo has also pointed out that the controller cannot be used on its own, meaning that those devices depend on each-other.

  • The feature of airplay and this is apples and oranges

    its a seperate feature and doesnt work well

    this does

    doubt nintendo get burned

    "Given there’s been an underwhelming response to the Wii U amongst analysts, the market, and just about everyone else outside of the Nintendo faithful, here’s a bit of a worrying thought:"

    Analysts are always wrong, trolls troll everything…………..there is nothing to worry about even slightly

    this is a sure thing

  • The price is a really good point, but I'm not sure its relevant as to why people are not playing games over AirPlay.

    The iPad sells incredibly well. The Apple TV has sold pretty well, and I would guess that most people with Apple TVs also have iPads or iPhones.

    So the install base with AirPlay is already significant. And yet game developers haven't shown much interest in it as a feature. It weirds me out because App store developers usually fall over themselves to support whatever Apple does (Game Center, for instance).

  • Vampiric,

    You are more than welcome at this site, and we appreciate all points of view here.

    However, please be aware that we do have a comments policy that requires people to remain civil – this applies to your fellow commenters, as well as the author of the articles. We don't ask you to agree with us, but you can respectfully disagree, or even prove people wrong while remaining civil: (

    I would also suggest that you support your point of view. Making statements without proof (or indeed, any knowledge of your credentials to make the statement), is a very quick way to antagonise people.

    If you're unwilling to play by the (very basic) rules here I would suggest that we're not the right place for you.

  • when did my comment say 1 bad thing that wasnt civil?

    I believe I was being trolled………..

    My point of view is fact, nothing more needs to be said.

  • This is how Vampiric rolls:

    1) If he disagrees, he will say your article/position is ridiculous/awful while providing no evidence to support his claim, or even ignore huge sections of your argument. His opinion is fact, even when he doesn't even post anything substantial to support any of his claims.

    2) He will then call you names and insult you for questioning him.

    3) He will play dumb and act obtuse. He might even say HE'S the one being trolled when reality disagrees with him.

    4) He will act like a fanboy and call you a Nintendo hater for even criticizing Nintendo just a little, despite your history (which he knows very well).

    5) He and his fellow zealots will downvote every comment that disagrees with him or makes him look silly.

    6) He will eventually have a glorious meltdown, even return from being IP banned. This does not bode well for me thinking he has much of a social life. :'(

    Case in point, look at any of Vampiric's (or any of his alts) comments and you will see has a done a number of the six ways he rolls on these sites.

  • Hi Phil,

    The Apple TV is not an actual TV set – it's a little box that you plug into a TV via HDMI cable. It essentially works the same way the "base station" on the Wii U will work, and while it's not the most popular Apple product, it's been popular enough.

    As for support – Apple has more developer support than anyone right now. Yes, there's a lot of indies that produce terrible games for the platform, but there's also EA, Square Enix, Namco Bandai, Tecmo Koei, Ubisoft – these guys have all spent more money setting up development studios for mobile gaming than investing in traditional developers of recent years (ie, while no one is setting up new console developers, they are setting up mobile-focused studios). The iPad gets wonderful game support, and AirPlay is a popular feature for non-gaming applications.

    The only area AirPlay and Apple TV is failing is in gaming. AirPlay works really well for gaming, and I like the potential of the Wii U. I'm just trying to figure out where the lack of interest is coming from.

  • Ah, okay. Color me ignorant then in some aspects. Sorry. I tend to have ill will on mobile gaming regardless of how good it is because of articles that continue to question traditional gaming's future. Sick of hearing/reading how traditional gaming is doomed or allusions to that and how Apple will rule the world. Articles like this don't help.

  • If you're interested in having a look at the Apple TV:

    Even in a hypothetical world where mobile gaming replaces traditional gaming, I honestly don't think it would be a bad thing. Controllers can be made for iPads or Android tablets for the folks that like buttons, and some of my favourite games are now on iPad. At the end of the day, I just want good games. I really don't care where I play them.

  • I just read over the comments on Nintendo Nation and I released why he was so, let's say, civil – It was a post against Michael Pachter. *facepalm*

    I've decided that if he continues like this on other sites that he shouldn't be allowed on mine. Drastic, yes, but it's getting to the point where it's ridiculous.

  • "you proved how poorly written this was"
    Who are you to judge that? An article writer from the news? IGN? Or just a teenager with nothing better to do? I think you can guess the right answer…

  • I've seen one person disagree – you. And if other people have, I have noticed due to your ridiculous attitude (see other comment)

  • The wii U will be fine. The wii u has easily the best launch lineup in console game history, its going to be priced at 299, released during the holidays,

    like shane VP over at game trailers says, Its not a matter of if wii u will sell out, its how fast

  • You know, the fate of the Wii U is one that I believe no-one can accurately predict right now. Will the console succeed due to the Wii name? Will the console fail because Nintendo could not sort out their marketing? Will it become the next Playstation 2? Will it become the next Dreamcast? Will it define the gold standard? Will it be the perfect example of how not to make and market a console? Needless to say, I am very interested in how it sells.

  • The only thing that was embarrassing was your meltdown and behavior on various sites. You can say "others on N4G agreed with me", but those people were known Nintendo zealots like you.

    And this site is an affiliate of mine. I frequent it — just like you frequent any article that dares question the mighty Nintendo and act like a baby in comments sections as I have clearly outlined already. You are a toddler, and one that needs a spanking. As does your mom for giving birth to such a failure of a person.

  • He was civil on my site, too, until I posted something that showed concern about Nintendo. Then he became a child, but something tells me he always was.

  • Actually, not every Nintendo console has been the the best-selling system at one point of another. During the previous generation (PS2-Xbox-Gamecube), the PS2 consistently sold much more than the Gamecube. The PS2 actually outsold by the Gamecube by a considerable amount every year by about 200 percent. So no, it is not "Inevitable" that the Wii U will sell like hotcakes.


  • The sad thing about this kid is that he doesn't realize he's the troll in the majority of threads he posts to. You would think that he would get a clue since he's been called out on it numerous times. In his mind we're the trolls. It's kind of pathetic when you think about it. I picture a a kid dressed in vampire drab, living in his mother's attic playing RPGs and trolling online trying to convince himself of his superiority just bacause he knows about obscure Japanese RPGs that he will never play. And god forbid if your opinion of Nintendo differs from his. Then you'll feel the wrath of super troll and his crazy logic.

  • iPad lacks buttons. WiiU gamepad has a touchpad AND buttons. Also, Nintendo is more replicating what they did with Gamecube and GBA and expanding on it. So, it isn't AirPlay being a preview of WiiU- it's more of Nintendo embracing asymmetric gameplay they did long long ago and expanding on that concept.

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