Apple Watch is available and selling like crazy, and we’ve already revealed a list of must-have apps for the device, compiled by Apple itself. The list featured some fairly standard utilities and a few apps specifically useful for the small wearable device, but curiously absent was the mention of any sort of gaming on Apple Watch.
For those who never expected game developers to bother adapting titles to fit on the Apple Watch’s tiny screen, this probably isn’t a surprise. However, the exclusion of games from the list of essential apps wasn’t actually due to the fact that there aren’t any. There just isn’t a huge selection just yet. The fact is, developers are making efforts to come up with new ideas and shrunken versions of existing games that users will want to play on the watch. In a matter of time, there will likely be hundreds of gaming titles to choose from.
But for now, here’s a look at some of the most interesting gaming concepts we’re reading about for the Apple Watch.
Probably the most interesting game to have been announced is Runeblade, an upcoming title from Everywear Games that’s making a bold effort to define RPG gaming for wearable tech devices. It looks to be a fairly standard RPG, set in a fantasy world and putting players in the role of the “High Priestess” out to save the land from various evil characters. But according to Touch Arcade, the game is designed to be played only in 10-15 second bursts. From the sound of things, attacks require recharging time. Delays of this nature will cause players to open up the game, make a move, and then simply wait a while before playing the game again. Whether or not this will work with gamers remains to be seen, but it’s certainly an interesting way to adapt an RPG for a watch.
There have also been some light mentions of potential casino gaming (for fake money of course), with an article in Mac World claiming that Robot 5 Studios is working on a Blackjack Mini experience for the watch. This is a good idea in that it would reach an extremely large market of card and casino gamers. However, one wonders how much the experience has to be cut down in order to work for a phone, particularly given that online casinos have made the experience bigger—not smaller—in recent years. Many digital blackjack games involve player graphics and background settings. At the InterCasino platform, players can actually join blackjack games with live video dealers. Even the simpler options at this site show graphics of entire card tables with chip stacks, opponent positions, dealer cards. This contrast presents an interesting question with regard to casino games on the Apple Watch, and likely other genres as well: will players accept simplified versions of games when online sites and mobile apps have been seeking to make more involved versions?
Another interesting idea making the rounds in conversations about Apple Watch gaming is Spy_Watch, a brilliant idea that got a brief write-up from Kotaku. Developed by Bossa Studios, the game seeks to capitalize on the basic gadget appeal of a smart watch as it relates to spy films like those in the James Bond franchise. Its objective is to basically use your watch to control a secret agent, as if you’re the boss running missions from your wrist. We’ll have to wait and see how well the game performs, but it’s a fascinating concept that could open the door to a whole new genre if it’s successful.
And finally, there’s puzzle gaming, which appears to be the main focus of developers delving into Apple Watch entertainment. USA Today did a write-up of early gaming titles to expect for the device, and the majority of them can be classified in the puzzle genre: LetterPad (a letter-based puzzle game), Rules! (a memory game), BoxPop (something USA Today compares to chess), Trivia Crack (a smartphone trivia game being adapted to the watch), and Peak (a brain training game), just to name a few. At this stage, it appears developers have decided that these sorts of games may be the easiest to produce for the watch’s small screen.
That’s about it, for now. There are a few other titles that have been announced, but these are the ones that should define the early stages of game development for the Apple Watch. Seeing which games stick, and where developers go from here, should be fascinating.