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Could Apple announce a home console at E3?


Asura
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Not really, they could just offer the same disposable games they already do.

What would be the point of buying a console/Apple TV to play them when there's already the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Mac?

How successful have Nintendo been this generation? They've hardly courted teh hardcorez have they? The Wii has stacks of shit games selling in supermarkets but that's got to be small fry compared to the numbers Apple looks at moving through the App Store.

Apart from the bit where Nintendo have decades of experience and a huge talent base for developing games hardware and software, and have shifted more units of Wii Fit alone (at 100 times the price) than any paid iOS game, that's completely correct.

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I don't know if mk 101 is deliberately missing the point or just bloody minded, but it's not a question of if apple enter the under the tv Market, its a question of when.

As others have said it wont be there main business, it will be an off shoot. Apple want to be an entertainment conduit for all your content, and they are pretty much on the road to be just that.

Nintendo has proved there are two sorts of games markets. Casuals who dont give a monkey's about graphics or epic games (and like simple waggle/touch controls), and traditional gamers who are interested in precise more complex controls, deeper games and cutting edge graphics.

Apple aren't interested in producing a dedicated games device, but creating a new casual games space under your tv would be very lucrative. It won't be aimed at you or I, and won't make the games Market any more compelling for us, but it will make it simpler and cheaper for alot of people.

An expensive, state of the art, disk playing games console is a dated concept in all reality(as much as I would personally love one). It's much easier to see a future with a sub £100 box that is run on an AppStore. It might well have an Onlive app to stream the latest graphically intensive games alongside angrybirds 5, iplayer and Movie rentals - as well as a million other apps no one has thought of yet.

None of this is a good thing for us traditional gamers. But it's not aimed at us. And I hope there are enough of us left in five years to support a separate games Market that is all about precision control and super powerful graphics in a dedicated games machine. But the prospects aren't looking good.

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I don't know if mk-1601 is deliberately missing the point or just bloody minded, but it's not a question of if apple enter the under the tv Market, its a question of when.

What's the point I'm missing? If it's so clear cut that Apple are going to jump into this market, why the article and this thread?

As others have said it wont be their main business, it will be an off shoot. Apple want to be an entertainment conduit for all your content, and they are pretty much on the road to be just that.

And they seem to be managing it without a box that goes under your TV and has one or more complex controllers attached.

Nintendo has proven there are two sorts of games markets. Casuals who don't give a monkey's about graphics or epic games (and like simple waggle/touch controls), and traditional gamers who are interested in precise more complex controls, deeper games and cutting edge graphics.

Fairly widely agreed to be a specious division at this point, but that's another argument.

Apple aren't interested in producing a dedicated games device, but creating a new casual games space under your tv would be very lucrative. It won't be aimed at you or I, and won't make the games Market any more compelling for us, but it will make it simpler and cheaper for a lot of people.

The iPad and iPod Touch already fulfil that role, and when have Apple ever cared about hardware being cheap?

An expensive, state of the art, disk playing games console is a dated concept in all reality (as much as I would personally love one). It's much easier to see a future with a sub £100 box that is run on an App Store. It might well have an Onlive app to stream the latest graphically intensive games alongside angrybirds 5, iplayer and Movie rentals - as well as a million other apps no one has thought of yet.

Certainly it's something Apple might do, but as I said upthread, releasing a general purpose set top box without 1. specifically tailoring its spec and interface for games and 2. actively forging relationships with and providing technical and marketing support for third party developers, will leave it struggling as a games platform. Digital Foundry's focus on the raw power of the iPad 2 doesn't get around the fact that (unless you're Epic) it's not commercially viable to make a game that exploits that power.

None of this is a good thing for us traditional 'hardcore' gamers. But it's not aimed at us. And I hope there are enough of us left in five years to support a separate games Market that is all about precision control 'joypads' and super powerful graphics 'FPS games' in a dedicated games machine. But the prospects aren't looking good.

I don't consider myself a 'traditional gamer' if that suddenly means being too closed minded to consider games on specific platforms and genres. Unpalatable sentiments couched in horrible euphemisms.

'Traditional' games aren't going anywhere.

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The iPad and iPod Touch already fulfil that role

You could have said iPhone and iPod Touch already filled that role, but that didn't stop Apple from creating yet another portal to their store with the iPad. What's to say they'll not do another?

Digital Foundry's focus on the raw power of the iPad 2 doesn't get around the fact that (unless you're Epic) it's not commercially viable to make a game that exploits that power.

Who gives a toss about graphical power? We're talking casual games here, light 2D, maybe with some 3D things that are cheap to produce, low tech, and incredibly varied in gameplay. The aim is disruption, not competition. The Wii disrupted traditional consoles this way, and is itself vulnerable to disruption from below.

Certainly it's something Apple might do, but as I said upthread, releasing a general purpose set top box without 1. specifically tailoring its spec and interface for games and 2. actively forging relationships with and providing technical and marketing support for third party developers, will leave it struggling as a games platform.

No they could do both of those (ok, maybe they'd need a touchscreen interface of some sort) and do fine. Devs will line up to support whatever they release next, and as said, an iPad 2's guts in a box would be perfect.

I mean, I don't necessarily think this story is true, I think the internal culture might be a bit against it, but that doesn't stop many of the arguments against being spurious "I don't want this to happen therefore it's a terrible idea" bollocks.

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Who gives a toss about graphical power?

Digital Foundry. ;)

If Apple were to go down this route they'd be competing with all the other consoles and the iPad. I think there's a question of where such a device would fit in strategically, for them.

As for your last point - the big games publishers are not really 'lining up' to support the iPad in a way anywhere close to what the machine is capable of, because there aren't enough iPad users willing to fork out more than a couple of quid for richer games. Although I guess if a settop box version was considerably cheaper, and marketed as a games device in the way the iPod Touch has been, this could be overcome.

It's not really a 'I don't want this to happen' argument - it's pointing out that Apple already have the devices that are being talked about, they just don't plug into a TV, and that if you're going up against the Wii et al, it's not enough to just put a box out there and tell third parties to get on with it.

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It's not enough to just put a box out there and tell third parties to get on with it.

Why not? It's worked out pretty well for iOS so far. The mac AppStore works like this. For simple cheap games, and ports it works just fine. Which is plenty enough to fulfil the casual's needs as well as their under the tv entertainment hub.

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As for your last point - the big games publishers are not really 'lining up' to support the iPad in a way anywhere close to what the machine is capable of, because there aren't enough iPad users willing to fork out more than a couple of quid for richer games.

Why is this a problem exactly though, beyond you wanting expensive games with high production values? You still seem to be under the mistaken assumption that if power exists, it must be utilised, which I don't agree with.

Look at XBLA, PSN, Steam, Move, Kinect, Facebook, Indie stuff - huge and growing fast, and none of it maxes out the power of its host platform - while the only things that are doing that are boring Cod-clone XXXV made by a grand total of 2 companies. We're well into the period where we've realised that graphics and production values can be "good enough" for what they're trying to portray, and not everything needs to push the envelope.

God knows the actual gameplay side of the equation hasn't changed for the last ten years, so it's not like we're going to be losing the ability to make certain games. Quite the opposite, the low budgets and low risks allow the creation of games that are much more niche than the current console market could support.

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And while Apple TV is probably already a profitable (if minor in the grand scheme of things) hobby, they're sitting on $66bn in cash. They can afford to take a chance on this being important in future. Whether they're in competition with Nintendo probably won't even cross their minds. They'll just take 30% of whatever developers come up with that works on the format.

Every device Apple have made since Steve Jobs saved the company (again) from drifting into obscurity have opened up new, ever more profitable markets for them.

Retrofitting the AppleTV (at its current price point) makes little economic sense, when the alternative is just to get people to buy more of your higher priced goods, as I see it primarily cannabalising potential sales of existing products, rather than opening up new markets like the iPhone/iPad and AppleTV is its current guise as a iTunes streaming media player.

People keep on harping on about the 30% cut of revenue from digital as if it printsmoney.gif or something, when the evidence is, it doesn't, nor will it ever get close to the sorts of real money Apple make from flogging hardware, unless Apple have a substantially larger userbase of active customers, which can be just as easily achieved by getting them to buy other devices in their range (all with better profit).

If the AppleTV cost more (as it would also do more), I might see them doing it, as they then wouldn't be losing any potential profit, but would people still contend how great an idea it would be at $150-$200?

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Scottcr, we get it; you don't like Apple products for gaming. Therefore you should leave this thread and go play on your little Wii :)

I love my apple products, iPad, iPhone and ATV - almost certainly getting a MBP at some point - but I don't think they care about gaming at all.

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I don't think Apple are ever going to sell a 'console' in the sense that it'll be something that sits under your TV, doesn't have a proper OS, and is mainly there to play games. I think they are just going to continue developing their app ecosystem, and maybe branch it over to the Apple TV (which can already unofficially run apps) or maybe even OS X proper which looks like it's converging with iOS anyway. Games are just a small part of their app strategy, but they're doing pretty well as it stands. It's possible they'll be happy with the handle on mobile/tablet gaming they've got. I just don't see them being all that desperate to break into gaming; they won't bring out a controller, and definitely not a console.

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I don't think Apple are ever going to sell a 'console' in the sense that'll it'll be something that sits under your TV, doesn't have a proper OS, and is mainly there to play games. I think they are just going to continue developing their app ecosystem, and maybe branch it over to the Apple TV (which can already unofficially run apps) or maybe even OS X proper which looks like it's converging with iOS anyway. Games are just a small part of their app strategy, but they're doing pretty well as it stands. It's possible they'll be happy with the handle on mobile/tablet gaming they've got. I cjust don't see them being all that desperate to break into gaming; they won't bring out a controller, and definitely not a console.

this

what I can see them doing is airplay for games... with the capability for the phone/touch/pad to change it's screen configuration to become a controller only.

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When I first heard about Saunders and Grange heading to Apple, I simply thought the company was taking games more seriously and might perhaps look into increasing iOS's focus on games and how to market it as a gaming product rather than a lifestyle device that happens to play games. I imagine we'll see Apple try to get into bed with some developers/publishers and ramp up marketing/advertising of its gaming capabilities. iPad 2 is said to have significantly improved specs compared to its older brother, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see the next iteration be more powerful still - perhaps we'll start to see slightly more expensive games made purely for later iterations of iPad or iPhone.

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this

what I can see them doing is airplay for games... with the capability for the phone/touch/pad to change it's screen configuration to become a controller only.

Considering how shite touchscreen controls are in the majority of games that are more complex than a couple of buttons or Angry Birds style dragging, i really hope this isn't the case.

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When I first heard about Saunders and Grange heading to Apple, I simply thought the company was taking games more seriously and might perhaps look into increasing iOS's focus on games and how to market it as a gaming product rather than a lifestyle device that happens to play games. I imagine we'll see Apple try to get into bed with some developers/publishers and ramp up marketing/advertising of its gaming capabilities. iPad 2 is said to have significantly improved specs compared to its older brother, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see the next iteration be more powerful still - perhaps we'll start to see slightly more expensive games made purely for later iterations of iPad or iPhone.

This, Apple are already getting quite cozy with Epic and for the unveiling of the iPad, iPhone 4 and iPod touch have had game developers there to demonstrate gaming on those devices. I think Apple will get into the console business, its only a matter of when, but I dont see Apple ever having their own development studios and creating first party titles, it will be the same thing as the current AppStore which could actually work in Apple's favour with most third parties supporting the system heavily without having to worry about competition from big first party titles. If Apple do release a console or a gaming Apple TV here are some predictions

-I do think there will be a games controller for it, but one which would be sold separately which would also be compatible with Apple's mac range.

-Will also be compatible with the wireless keyboard (for safari and emails)

-Store will be more comparable to the Mac App Store with a good balance of higher priced premium games and low cost games like Angry Birds

-Gaming will not be the main selling point of the system

-Airplay streaming to be a huge feature for the device

-Graphics to be at least on par with current gen consoles

-Will have a huge impact on the console industry the same way that iOS devices have changed the handheld market

Personally I hope Apple do throw their hat into the ring and release a system like this. My iPod touch/iPhone has seen many many hours of playtime and I consider the AppStore to be one of the best things to happen to the gaming industry in a long time.

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On the one hand I can't see what Apple bring to the table that is fundamentally different to current consoles, but on the other it seems the days of a box under the telly that just does games are probably numbered and Apple have been leading the convergence between devices.

A major change would be in the interace, Apple have also been on a jihad against buttons recently, but I can't believe solely touch screen controllers are the future for gaming.

And for all the arguments that are essentially Apple don't 'get' games, the same was said about phones.

----

Not that I think Apple will buy them, but I just looked it up and Nintendo is about a tenth the size of Apple, Apple has about Nintendo's market cap (30bn) in cash.

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On the one hand I can't see what Apple bring to the table that is fundamentally different to current consoles, but on the other it seems the days of a box under the telly that just does games are probably numbered and Apple have been leading the convergence between devices.

A major change would be in the interace, Apple have also been on a jihad against buttons recently, but I can't believe solely touch screen controllers are the future for gaming.

And for all the arguments that are essentially Apple don't 'get' games, the same was said about phones.

----

Not that I think Apple will buy them, but I just looked it up and Nintendo is about a tenth the size of Apple, Apple has about Nintendo's market cap (30bn) in cash.

Well if it was download only that would be a major one. But the main selling point will be the machine being a digital media hub, being able to play all of your music, movies and games as well as being able to stream content to other iOS devices. Both Microsoft and Sony have been trying for years to turn their machines into set top boxes that do everything, but Apple are in a far better position to actually deliver that.

As for the buttons. I dont believe for a second that if Apple have a gaming store for this set top box that there wouldnt be a controller released for it with buttons. The touchscreen gaming works for the iOS devices because you are looking at the screen and interacting with it, it simply wouldnt work if you were connected to a TV as you would have to constantly look at the controller to see what you are pressing.

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People keep on harping on about the 30% cut of revenue from digital as if it printsmoney.gif or something, when the evidence is, it doesn't, nor will it ever get close to the sorts of real money Apple make from flogging hardware, unless Apple have a substantially larger userbase of active customers, which can be just as easily achieved by getting them to buy other devices in their range (all with better profit).

It would be printing money if it wasn't paying for all those free hostings as well. The reason iTunes is said to not make Apple much profit is because they reinvest the money back into the service. That new data centre wasn't cheap

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Considering how shite touchscreen controls are in the majority of games that are more complex than a couple of buttons or Angry Birds style dragging, i really hope this isn't the case.

Fair enough, neg me, but it'd be nice to have a reason why you disagree.

My iPhone is probably my most used gaming device these days, but does whoever negged me really think that it works well as an input device? I don't, its pretty easy to lose the place with on-screen buttons, and its surely gonna be even worse when you aren't actually looking at it?

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Fair enough, neg me, but it'd be nice to have a reason why you disagree.

My iPhone is probably my most used gaming device these days, but does whoever negged me really think that it works well as an input device? I don't, its pretty easy to lose the place with on-screen buttons, and its surely gonna be even worse when you aren't actually looking at it?

I've +1'd you, as I think you're spot on. It's an awful input device for traditional games.

It can do plenty of genres amicably well, and some are optimally suited to touch input, but for the games I predominantly enjoy (shooters, brawlers and platformers) it provides a horribly compromised experience.

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People keep on harping on about the 30% cut of revenue from digital as if it printsmoney.gif or something, when the evidence is, it doesn't, nor will it ever get close to the sorts of real money Apple make from flogging hardware, unless Apple have a substantially larger userbase of active customers, which can be just as easily achieved by getting them to buy other devices in their range (all with better profit).

$1.8 billion revenue last year, trivial for Apple but growing super fast.

Well if it was download only that would be a major one. But the main selling point will be the machine being a digital media hub, being able to play all of your music, movies and games as well as being able to stream content to other iOS devices. Both Microsoft and Sony have been trying for years to turn their machines into set top boxes that do everything, but Apple are in a far better position to actually deliver that.

As for the buttons. I dont believe for a second that if Apple have a gaming store for this set top box that there wouldnt be a controller released for it with buttons. The touchscreen gaming works for the iOS devices because you are looking at the screen and interacting with it, it simply wouldnt work if you were connected to a TV as you would have to constantly look at the controller to see what you are pressing.

I don't see download only as that big a change, all consoles are going there and the difference between download only and download/retail consoles is minuscule compared to the difference between iPhones and pre-iPhone phones.

I think your second paragraph is both spot on and the crux of the issue. Apple are anti-button, but it's going to require a massive change to make a controller that can do enough.

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It would be printing money if it wasn't paying for all those free hostings as well. The reason iTunes is said to not make Apple much profit is because they reinvest the money back into the service. That new data centre wasn't cheap

Well that's the small print that people who go on about digital as being profitable for the companies who control the network/storefront like to ignore, the costs of running the service.

iTunes/PSN/Steam are more like a cross between Tesco and a CDN, the only way you make loads of money (ie profit) is through stupidly massive volume of payed content, otherwise, eh, there are more lucrative ways to earn a dollar directly (as Apple have proven). And Revenue=Profit obviously, just ask the likes of EA or Sony's primary Consumer Electronics division about that distinction :)

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The reason this rumour keeps returning is just because the strength of feeling it generates, not because of any possibility of it actually happening. People tend to feel very strongly about apple, one way or the other, and of course most gamers would have something to say about any new arrival on the console scene. It's the perfect story to generate hits on a tech blog or whatever, I suppose it must've just been a slow news day. Again.

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  • 5 months later...

I'm sure there'll be an Apple TV App Store sooner or later. And I'm sure they'll expect you to use your iPhone or iPad as the controller for anything that needs more than the remote. A dedicated console, with dedicated controller, seems massively unlikely.

So, this morning I've been playing Real Racing 2 HD in 720p on the TV over wi-fi, iPad as a steering wheel with a map on it.

RR2_partyplay_blog1.jpg

Obviously it's not exactly Forza, but the principle is there, and they didn't even need an Apple TV App Store to do it.

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According to Gabe 'Saviour of PC gaming' Newell, the Apple box will happen, but its arrival will spell d00med! for consoles:

Newell said there are four platforms, including the Internet, mobile, desktop and the living room. The living room is the domain of the consoles, and it's ability to exist independently from the other platforms is gone, Newell said. Newell expects Apple to disrupt the living room platform with a new product that will challenge consoles, although he doesn't have any particular knowledge of that new product. "I suspect Apple will launch a living room product that redefines people's expectations really strongly and the notion of a separate console platform will disappear," he said. Newell reiterated his concerns about a closed model being the "wrong philosophical approach" but one that people will emulate because of the success of Apple and Xbox Live.
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