Will the Apple Watch launch another mobile gaming frenzy?

While Apple still hasn’t released all of the details surrounding the first generation of Apple Watch apps (other than this list), we know WatchKit-developed launch applications will primarily be notification focused, and that all first-generation apps will likely require being tethered to the wearer’s iPhone to some extent.

Many major app developers have also refrained from discussing specific plans for the Apple Watch (likely due to Apple embargoes), but some Canadian-developed apps such as Montreal’s Transit App – an application that gives users at-a-glance access to public transportation route arrival times – and Tab Payments – an app created by a Toronto-based developer that allows users to pay for meals at select restaurants with only their iPhone (and soon the Apple Watch), are perfect examples of the interesting and inventive apps coming to the company’s first wearable.

But what about gaming? Video games were one of the main driving forces behind the iPhone’s ascent to mainstream popularity, and since the smartphone’s release back in 2007, iOS has steadily become one of the video game industry’s premiere development platforms, eclipsing Nintendo’s dedicated handheld, the 3DS, as well as Sony’s powerful PlayStation Vita.

Playing games on your wrist will likely be restrictive given the wearer will only be able to use one hand to play, but even with this limitation the Apple Watch could be home to a number of established video game genres.

Video games weren’t mentioned at all during Apple’s big Watch reveal event last month – there weren’t even any icons pictured on the giant Apple Watch looming on the screen behind Tim Cooke that looked remotely gaming related.

But games are comings – just don’t expect to be able to play Infinity Blade on your Apple Watch any time soon. There are already simple Android Wear games like TetroCrate, 2048 and even Pebble games like Asteroids and Pebloid, and there’s no reason Apple’s wearable won’t be “gamified” as well.

Very few games have been announced so far

In terms of already announced titles; Letterpad comes from NimbleBit, the studio behind Tiny Tower. The game seems to be a simple letter-based puzzle title, and is also an extension of the already-released iPhone version of the game.

Letterpad will be released at some point in 2015 for the Apple Watch. The popular iOS trivia game Elemental is also getting a similar Apple Watch extended version in 2015.

Then there’s the Tamogotchi-like title Hatchi, which is set to receive an update extending its virtual pet to the Apple Watch, allowing you to check in on how your creature is doing by glancing at the watch.

One-touch gaming possibilities are abundant

As far as announced Apple Watch games go, the above titles are all that have been revealed so far, but that doesn’t mean more games aren’t on the way. The platform is suited to simple, one-touch apps, which could result in a number of popular retro games landing on Apple’s upcoming wearable.

Iconic old school games like Pong and Pac-Man could take advantage of the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown for control purposes. A game like Tetris would also work well on the platform, requiring the user to tap the Apple Watch’s screen to rearrange pieces. Even the Angry Birds franchise, a series that has become synonymous with mobile games, would fit perfectly on the “one-touch” Apple Watch.  Also, don’t forget about the Apple Watch’s built-in accelerometer, a factor that could help developers come up with inventive control schemes for games.

Near Field Technology (NFC) could also be used to interact with other Apple Watch users in a way that’s similar to the 3DS’ Streetpass feature, allowing strangers to collect points or exchange simple messages between one another.  This concept could be adapted further to create an RPG-like game where the player’s character levels up or evolves based on the number of other Apple Watch users they encounter.

While details regarding Apple Watch games, and even apps in general, are still scarce right now, although information is slowly trickling out of the company’s Cupertino headquarters, gaming will almost certainly be part of the Apple Watch.

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