WoW and Other MMOs on the iPad Coming Soon?

Since I picked up my iPad on launch day, one major lament of mine has been the lack of strong games, at least compared to the app store for the iPhone and iPod touch. Sure, there are a few gems but I guess I just have to be patient and give the market time to catch up. So when I ran across this photo in one of my RSS feeds this afternoon, my optimism took a slight upturn. The very thought of WoW on the iPad is enough to make me grin.

The innovation, achieved through an upcoming streaming gaming service called Gaikai, claims to allow gaming through pretty much any browser. How’s it work? According to the site, Gaikai hosts and runs the games that you want to play from ANY device that has a web browser.

“Gaikai takes a radical new approach – we host the games, we run them, we worry about hardware and software updates, and we stream them to you. Full resolution, full speed, stereo sound, low lag, no compromise. The only thing you need is a browser and an internet connection.”

Oh right, and the site also says on another page that you need the latest release edition of Adobe Flash. Which the iPad doesn’t support. So how does it work exactly…? That part is left out.

So, I’m left wondering how legitimate the idea really is.

Click for more analysis on whether this is real and how it could potentially work if it is.

Another area that makes me question the validity of this picture is the particular screen that is shown. It’s simply the login screen for WotLK. No gameplay is shown, no photos hinting at essential features such as navigation or combat controls. Although it seems plausible if it could somehow be displayed using something other than flash, I’m not sure how playable the game would be on an iPad, much less a device with a smaller screen such as an iPhone or iPod touch.

Even simple MMOs on the iPad, such as Pocket Legends by Spacetime Studios have somewhat awkward controls that can be cumbersome when in the moment of playing. Unless Gaikai also implemented its own personalized addons of sorts to organize clickable (or touchable, I suppose) action bars personalized to you.

I also question whether this would raise security issues, since your password and potentially authenticator information would be going straight to a third party, potentially from a browser or device that may not be secure.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen apps that claim to allow WoW gamage via a handheld device, and I’m sure it won’t the the last. I’m just waiting for more on-the-go gaming apps directly from Blizzard.

With all these potential negatives being voiced, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to try this out. A big part of me really hopes that this is in the future, and that Blizzard would allow it to operate. And if it’s really as robust as it is described, the potential for playing many, many different MMOs via this format could be quite drool-worthy. But I doubt it will ever come to be.

Maybe I’ll be proved wrong.