The Apple iPad is the biggest rival to home videogames consoles, such as the forthcoming Wii U, and the existing Xbox 360 and PS3 - according to Ian Baverstock, games industry stalwart and co-founder of consultancy group Tenshi Ventures.

Speaking at The Futuresource Entertainment Summit in London, Baverstock believes that because the iPad is used more as a living room entertainment device, it could give Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony a run for their money: "I think that the big problem [for console manufacturers] is the iPad as a tablet. It’s very different than a mobile phone. It’s much more a threat to a standalone console."

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And he also states that the rise of the App Store and the new, low cost business model upheld by many developers harks back to the golden age of gaming, when anybody could create games for the ZX Spectrum, for example: "It’s like a return to the 80s," he says.

"You can make things for much less money. The distribution system is no better for the big labels than it is for the devleoper working out of their bedroom.

"A lot of apps don’t need a lot of investment," he adds. But even that could change.

The big barrier to the big companies bringing their A-list IPs to the iPad at present is the graphical capability of Apple's devices in comparison to dedicated games machines. However, Baverstock doesn't think that will be a hurdle for long: "You will see tablets running at 80 per cent power, graphically, as the big consoles in the next few years.

"So, it’s pretty hard to spend more than a million bucks on an iPad game. But, you’ll see that barrier broken in the next few years."

What do you think? Will the iPad (or other tablet device) be seen as a valid games console in the future? Let us know in the comments below...