Is the Apple iPad the next great portable video game device?

A new report shows that 44 percent of apps tested for the Apple iPad are video games. That's good news for video game fans everywhere.

The Apple iPad. According to Flurry, 44 percent of apps being tested for the Apple iPad are video games.

The Apple iPad has already been touted as a potential savior for the ailing newspaper industry, a moneymaker for a listless Hulu, and a windfall for book publishers the world over. A new report suggests that a lot of developers think the iPad could be a pretty good gaming device, too – a higher-power, bigger-screen version of the Apple iPod Touch and iPhone.

According to Flurry, a firm that monitors the mobile market, a whopping 44 percent of the apps currently being tested on the Apple iPad are video games. Compare that to the 14 percent share for iPad "entertainment" apps – a relatively nebulous name for a category – seven percent for "finance," six percent for "sports" apps, and five percent for "news."

No word on exactly how many apps that 44 percent encompasses – in an interview with Apple Insider, Flurry VP Peter Farago declined to talk exact numbers. Still, the Flurry report indicates that Apple could be seeking to market the iPad in part as a top-notch gaming device.

Already, the number of games available on the iTunes App Store hovers around 24K, making games the second most downloaded Apple app. (Books-related apps are the most popular.)

And the iPad should bring App Store games to a whole new level: the screen is better, the hardware is faster, and the battery will last longer, so you can stay up late at night, jamming away at the latest strategy game. For us, the Apple iPad, which hits stores on April 3, is alluring primarily as a gaming device. We can't imagine reading lots of books on the iPad, or watching a whole lot of movies, but we can imagine steering a sports car across a rain-slicked track.

Or conquering the world, one civilization at a time.

Another potential reason for this volume of games: Apple's intense secrecy over the upcoming device. Apple has handed out very few iPads for testing. And while a financial company lucky enough to score a sneak peek at the tablet would likely only develop one app, a big game company might dabble in many. EA, for example, could be working on several titles from any number of genres.

How about you? PSP and Nintendo DS owners, would you consider adding the Apple iPad to your portable-gaming quiver? Drop us a line in the comments section below.

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