Apple's Force Touch Is the Evolution of iOS Gaming

To make up for a lack of buttons, Apple's key to mobile gaming lies in a stronger tap.


The Force Touch on the Apple Watch is possibly, most likely, bet your kid’s tuition, coming to the next iPad and iPhone devices. Ahead of the announcement Wednesday, it can’t be too soon to speculate what the Force Touch technology could mean for iOS gaming.

In so few words, the Force Touch works like a “click” works for desktops. But because of the limited user interface, spatial real estate, and physical language that come with smartphones, a new dimension to interaction opens up with Force Touch. Predictably, Force Touch will be commonly used to bring up additional menus or tools for photography apps. But for mobile gaming — long limited to simple swipes and taps — it’s a whole new ballgame. Or it’s the same ballgame, but with more things to do.

“Force Touch for iPad would be great for games,” says Chris Mills, a mobile and desktop app developer at Happy Maau Studios. “Any time there’s a new input medium, designers and developers find new ways to excite us. Imagine something from Cipher Prime like Auditorium, you could add new mechanics depending on the touch pressure. Or Pulse, one of their early iPad music games, Force Touch could be used to augment pitch of the sound.”

Mobile gaming is handicapped (or freed, depending on your perspective) by simplicity, as there is only a flat screen to interact with. The medium has succeeded, mobile gaming could potentially total $3.31 billion in revenue in 2016, but Mills believes it has already plateaued creatively. “There’s been so many one-touch games in recent years like Jetpack Joyride or Crossy Road that could benefit from the added functionality,” he says. “What if you had to force touch to interact with a level like in Monument Valley? I love the idea of changing music … or having a puzzle game that the level interacts depending on the touch type.”

On Wednesday, Apple could change the status quo of mobile gaming. If the tech giant is serious about entering the gaming space, changing the paradigm isn’t a bad way to show commitment. It’s unknown whether Force Touch will be implemented in the iPhone and the iPad, but Mills hopes it will. “When there’s parity between the iPhone and the iPad developers have an easier time embracing those features.”

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