One of the most enthusiastic people at the recent Apple iPad 2 launch was Mark Rein, co-founder and vice president of Epic Games.

Epic is known for full-bore, action blockbusters, such as "Gears of War" on the Xbox 360. Its Unreal game platform also is widely used by other studios to build games on multiple platforms.

Apple has highlighted Epic's work on "Infinity Blade," a high-definition fantasy title released in December for the iPhone and iPad.

Rein said the iPad is on its way to becoming a game console, with the new version that was released Friday having a dual-core processor, improved graphics system and a new accessory for connecting the device to a digital TV.

"For us, it's like Christmas," he said.

Here are his thoughts on the iPad as a gaming platform:

Q A lot has been said about the iPad being great for casual games. Will this power boost make it better for hard-core action games, as well?

A That's what "Infinity Blade" was -- the first core, triple-A game designed specifically for these environments. So we already think it is. It means that now, even [with] the casual experiences, you'll be able to make those look even better. Even "Angry Birds" could take advantage of having more computing power.

Q Will game developers take advantage of the new HDMI adapter for displaying iPad content on a big TV screen? Could that make it more like a handheld console?

A Yes, absolutely. I've been actually saying that since the first iPad came out: This is a great way to play games.

It's going to get more feasible -- your game console could be a tablet you walk around with, and you use it as a controller in your home game experience. Or eventually you'll put this down, you'll pick up a DualShock [game controller]; this will talk wirelessly or through HDMI to your TV, and you'll play.

That's the future, and Apple has clearly made a big step toward that with their digital [AV] adapter.

Q Does the iPad 2's processor have enough oomph for big-screen games?

A I hate to say it, but there are game consoles you buy today that you connect to your TV that don't even hold a candle to this.

Q Are you talking about the Nintendo Wii?

A I didn't say a name. This is now more powerful than the first-generation Xbox. This is probably more powerful than a PlayStation 2 or a PlayStation 1 for sure. This is on the road to that, if it's not already.