Is The Surface Any Good For Gaming? First, We Need Apps
We continue to be impressed by the quality of games emerging for tablets and smartphones (though of course they don't even come close to what you get as a PC enthusiast on the desktop). Nevertheless, SoC vendors are increasingly arming their designs with more capable graphics processing.
Just because the Surface is a new tablet doesn't mean the hardware inside it is foreign to us. We already have a fair sense of what Nvidia's Tegra 3 hardware can do (check out Snapdragon S4 Pro: Krait And Adreno 320, Benchmarked for more comparison date between today's top mobile-oriented SoCs).
Since it's running under a recently-released operating environment, though, we have to play the waiting game, yet again, as developers add one more platform to support.
The Infinity Blade series for iOS and Riptide for Android are two of the best-looking mobile titles we've seen thus far, and we're confident that gaming on tablets and smartphones is only going to get more popular, especially if you have a kid living under your roof. According to Nielsen, 77% of children with access to a tablet use it for gaming. That number might not be as high for adults, but as hardware evolves and developers become more diverse in their offerings, the experience will certainly become more compelling.
It's hard to say how long it'll take before Microsoft's Windows Store boasts similar-sized libraries of games as the App Store or Google Play. However, sometime in the last few days Vector Unit added Riptide for Windows 8/RT, and it looks every bit as good on the Surface as it did on the Nexus 7 (the game is available for iOS too, but without the Tegra-specific optimizations).
We can't ignore the lack of high-quality games on the Windows Store, though. You can play Angry Birds, sure. But we're interested in titles that really leverage Nvidia's Tegra 3 to its full potential. We'll need to revisit this topic in the future, and hopefully before the Surface Pro, er, surfaces and woos us away with its much more flexible ecosystem.