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The Apple TV and its Potential
Apple’s been fighting for a slice of gaming heaven since the App Store exploded. They’ve since gotten a ton of media coverage about how they could topple gaming consoles and/or handhelds. I’m a firm believer in physical controls but there is no doubt that Apple’s touch-only devices are blasting through consumer wallets daily. With over 3 million iPads (3rd generation) being sold since its recent release and its powerful quad-core A5X chip, perhaps it is time to start positioning Apple within the gaming scene.
Apple has a great opportunity to enter the console space with two products: the iPad and the Apple TV. With similar specs to the iPad 2 and iPhone 4, the Apple TV is a nice way to connect your iTunes media to a big television. With the new rendition of it being able to stream 1080p content and a much more user friend interface, the Apple TV is starting to look like a great deal at only $99. Thing is, it could do so much more. For a while now Apple has been rumored to be releasing its own television set and most of the rumors are including the Apple TV within said device. If Apple is serious about gaining a foothold within the gaming scene they are close to being able to. If they could some how get an A6 chip to rival what the Wii U can do, they can beat Nintendo at their own game.
Obviously it would be tough to get something like that to work in an iPhone but for the iPad and Apple TV, the possibilities could be endless. Nintendo’s Wii U focuses heavily on their new tablet controller and how it streams back and forth through that and the console itself. Thanks to Airplay, you can already do that with your iDevices and the Apple TV. Let’s take that a bit further and say that the Apple TV is the source of the big entertainment but you can stream your progress to the iPad to continue gameplay at the same spot on the go. Sony is doing this with the Vita and PS3 cross platform connection. Since the iPad would be the controller for the Apple TV’s gaming, it would make sense that you could just make the game pop onto your tablet and run. Using the iPad for gaming now feels cramped so that is kind of a caveat but using the entire screen as a source of control could improve gamer’s feel of using a tablet for a controller.
Apple’s App Store plays host to over 100,000 games ranging from dinky little shovelware up to amazing portable adventures like Infinity Blade, Chaos Rings, and a few of Gameloft’s ripoff titles. Add a new section for, let’s say, the iPad 4 and Apple TV 2013 edition for full fledged console games backed by the big companies. Those companies – EA, Square, Activision, etc. – would jump all over that since their previous efforts have been proven by the insane amount of app downloads. Apple is already proven so they wouldn’t need to go through the hurdles like the Wii U, Vita, and the next-gens will have to. It is basically plug and play. Make it, sell it, and content will come out in droves. If they can make Arkham City or Mass Effect play on the iPad 4 or the new Apple TV, then they will be in direct competition with Nintendo’s Wii U and even the newcomers from Microsoft and Sony. Apple can sell this for cheap and any friends who have iPads can use them as controllers. However, only the new iPad 4 would be able to carry the game on the go thanks to the “A6” chip.
This is all just speculation on what Apple could do but to be honest it makes too much sense not to. Apple, of course, wants more money and market shares. They own the tablet market, have a large chunk of the smartphone market, so why not chip away at the handheld and console markets? It might not be what gamers want but with all those iPads sold and a new way of selling their TV addition, it may be what happens.
If they could make the controller app utilize the screen space correctly, the iPad/Apple TV combo could make for a new way of playing our favorite games. Think how in God of War where there are so many action sequences where we rapidly tap a set of buttons, the entire screen on the iPad could change to the mini-game where your input progresses the real time event. Turning a wheel on a door to open it will have the iPad become the wheel. The possibilities are endless. No doubt that Nintendo is attempting this same thing. However, Apple would have less hurdles and faster traction to an iGaming device. Games are the number one bought app category by a landslide. If they can get modern console games to work on these two devices with the stream system, say hello to the new king of consoles.