Can The Apple Watch Succeed as a Gaming Device?

Back when Apple met with developers who were working on apps for the Apple Watch, the company supposedly said that they wanted apps that were designed to be used for ten seconds at a time. The impression I took from that (and I know Im not the only one) was that Apple didnt intend for users to bury their faces in their wrists, but instead check the watch occasionally while going about their daily business.

The whole point of the Apple Watch is to complement your active lifestyle, one in which it’s not practical to pull out your phone every time you get a message. I would have thought this would rule out games entirely, but apparently I was wrong!

There are indeed games for the Apple Watch, which immediately prompts the question: why? Now, to each their own. Im not getting an Apple Watch myself, but Id be lying if I said I wasnt at least a little envious of those who are. Its a gadget, I like gadgets, I want every gadget.

However, while there multiple things about the Apple Watch that appeal to me, the idea of a wrist-based gaming on a – at most – 312 x 390 screen is not one of them. For the sake of disclosure, Im not a huge fan of mobile gaming in general, but my phone is loaded up with a few games that I do legitimately enjoy playing, but the idea of one-handed gaming on such a tiny screen sounds like hi-tech torture.

Can The Apple Watch Succeed as a Gaming Device?

That isnt to say that the Apple Watch cant be used to have fun, but the games should be designed to take advantage of its unique properties, namely the fact that its hands-free and attached to your wrist.

The first thing that comes to mind is something GPS-based, where the watch is more supplemental rather than the core gaming device. With that in mind, the watch is largely supplemental to your phone, so a game incorporating that relationship could be uniquely fun as well, but the idea of existing games simply being ported to the watch doesnt appeal to me in the slightest.

Mobile games are an excellent way to kill time, so I get the idea of hunkering down at the airport or a bus stop, pulling out your phone, and playing WWE Immortalsfor thirty minutes straight. The Apple Watch, on the other hand, exists so that you dont have to pull your phone out of your pocket. If youre already in a situation where you have enough time to get comfortable and play games, why do you need the easy access of a smartwatch?

I know this is subjective. If youre looking forward to (or currently enjoying) playing games on your smartwatch, then by all means, more power to you. Mike Fahey of Kotaku wrote up a list of ten games hes excited to play once his Apple Watch arrives and you can’t denyhis genuine enthusiasm. Outside of Spy_Watch, I simply dont understand the appeal, but then again there are a staggering number of things I dont understand.


I appreciate the challenge the Apple Watch presents for mobile developers and I certainly hope they can rise to it and produce something unique and incredible. Until then, I just cant see it.

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