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Tiswaz's Kevin Dent on the dangers of putting your game under the microscope with AirPlay Mirroring

Change is harder than it looks

Tiswaz's Kevin Dent on the dangers of putting your game under the microscope with AirPlay Mirroring
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Kevin Dent is CEO of Tiswaz Entertainment, an advisory board member at PlayHaven and the Chair of the IGDA Mobile SIG.

I read a post on PocketGamer.biz today basically saying that developers should be implementing the iOS5 mirroring feature with their titles. A no-brainer, right? Just another way of extending your app or game’s reach.

Before you do that, I would like every reader to stand in front of a mirror. Go on, we'll wait... you're there? Looking pretty good, right?

Now move your face two inches from the mirror and look again? At this point you are starting to see imperfections, blemishes, scars from years gone by and a pock mark here or there. Even the smoothest skinned of us will be able to see their own pores, gaping back at them.

The Man in the Mirror

This is my point: close ups are very rarely complimentary.

What mirroring is going to do with your title is put your game in front of a huge bloody mirror, super-size it and magnify mistakes. The key thing for developers here is that on a 55inch TV screen any blemishes are going to show up with stark contrast, there will be no hiding them on a tiny screen.

Of course, there are exceptions to this situation, Real Racing 2 and Infinity Blade would probably look fantastic on a huge screen, but both of those titles had ginormous budgets.

I know for a fact that both spent several months polishing and polishing. When they were done, they sat down and polished the game again.

There are very few studios out there today that can afford to polish a title that much. It literally costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to polish an iOS title to that extent. Developers need to ask themselves this question: "Can I afford that amount of risk?".

Deju Vu Again

This is Apple's second time doing this - the last time was when the first iPad came out. The CMO came out on stage and showed how game play on iOS would work. The first few games looked great!

He then said, "You can even play your iPhone games on the iPad by clicking on the 2X, this is what we call Fat Pixels." I wish I was making this up.

Grab your iPad, download an iPhone game and click the 2X and be prepared to be blown away by those "fat pixels". Unless you've made a deliberately pixel-heavy or retro game - Tiny Towers or Minecraft mobile, perhaps - those pixels can only be classed as morbidly obese.

Similarly and unfortunately, the long and the short of it is that on a 55-inch screen, your game better be flawless; because this is an industry that is very unforgiving.

People will give you a one star review because while the game looks great on your iPad, it may well look like the blemishes you seen in when you stood two inches from the mirror.

Mirror, Mirror

They will not blame Apple – apparently Apple consumers are a group of individuals that do not believe it is possible for Apple to make a mistake - the blame will be solely on your shoulders.

For example, Amazon had issues figuring out which ports to sell to consumers, in a lot of cases the company got it wrong. Guess who took the blame? Here is a hint: they probably did not live in Seattle.

So by all means, support the mirroring feature; just be prepared to gaze at your flaws magnified. I hope that your game really is the fairest of them all.

You can follow Kevin via his Twitter account.