We ran into Epic Games vice president Mark Rein at Apple's iPad demo event today, happily tapping and gesturing to his heart's content with one of the sleek new tablets. Will Epic bring its Unreal Engine to the iPad?
Well, it already has, as Rein pointed out. The engine maker has a working demo of UE3 that runs on an iPhone 3GS (and Nvidia's Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip), meaning it also runs on the iPad. But Rein was non-committal on a version of the engine tailored specifically for Apple's new device, implying that Epic Games hasn't had much, if any, hands-on development time with the iPad.
Just don't rule it out, as Rein seemed quite taken with Apple's newest invention.
"I am really impressed with the iPad," Rein told Kotaku. "The quality of the materials is outstanding. The screen is amazing and the super-sized apps were fantastic. Everything seems to perform really well on the iPad and I was blown away by the iWork apps - I thought bringing those to iPad was a brilliant move by Apple!"
Rein and I were on opposing sides of the fence, in terms of iPad's must-have appeal. Sure, I wouldn't mind having one, should it be given to me as a loaner or a gift, but I'm not investing in iPad version 1.0 just yet. The Epic VP sounds like he's already convinced, lauding one app demo in particular.
"The New York Times app was amazing," Rein said. "I can't wait to see what other companies will do for this device. The web is nice but great apps that leverage online content and data are a much better experience in my opinion."
But what about the relevant to your business stuff, Mark? Do you think the iPad is a viable gaming platform?
"I was very impressed with the game demos," Rein said. "I was surprised how good they were considering they only had a few weeks with the device. I think iPad will be great for gaming and I suspect we'll see many games that make use of the differentiated form factor of the iPad." Perhaps that Unreal Tournament tech demo will become something more? We'll have to see if the Epic Games of the world will continue to let developers like Gameloft carve out a space in the iPod/iPad world.
"Apple has done a great job at constantly improving the user experience on Mac and iPhone so I can only imagine where this platform can go in the future," Rein added, practically guaranteeing at least one iPad 2.0 in the Rein household in the coming years.