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Real Racing 2 first iOS game with 4-person split big screen action via AirPlay

Game developer Firemint has announced a new feature for the iOS 5 update to its "Real Racing 2" game that will offer the first 4-player split-screen iOS gaming experience on an HDTV by leveraging the computing power of Apple's A5 processor and AirPlay wireless streaming technology.

The Australian studio's "Real Racing 2" franchise will now support what the company is calling "Party Play" mode, which allows two to four friends to stream a game onto one big screen, rather than being tied to the displays of their individual handheld devices.

The new technology further blurs the lines between mobile and home entertainment. Apple's AirPlay, announced last September, first allowed mobile users to stream media content from their handheld devices to their home TV's, and Firemint's Party Play promises to do the same for multiplayer gaming. A demo video of Party Play (below) shows that the A5 processor is capable of split-screen modes much like those available on dedicated home gaming consoles.

There are caveats to the service, however, as at least one player must have a device with an A5 processor, either an iPad 2 or the new iPhone 4S. An A5-equipped device will then serve as the host for the game and friends with compatible iOS devices to connect to the host, who will then stream the game data via AirPlay to an HDTV with resolutions up to 720P.

The new mode requires only one device to have an A5 processor, but connecting handsets or tablets will need to have iOS 5 installed. In addition to Party Play, the new Real Racing 2 update features higher polygon counts for car models, and refreshed 3D graphics.

Version 1.12 of Real Racing 2 and Real Racing 2 HD will be released just in time for the iOS 5 roll-out, which is scheduled to take place on Oct. 12. In the meantime, both games are currently available for purchase in the App Store. The iPhone version (iTunes link) sells for $4.99, and the iPad version (iTunes Link) costs $6.99.

Firemint had previously announced that Real Racing 2 HD would be the first iOS game to allow console-style “wireless big screen gaming” by taking advantage of Apple’s AirPlay Mirroring functionality, a notable feature of iOS 5. Earlier this year, Apple revealed the AirPlay Mirroring feature of iOS 5, allowing iOS devices to use an Apple TV-connected screen to serve as an external display.