An Apple TV With Games Won’t “Kill” Home Consoles

There’s been a lot of talk lately about what would happen to Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony if Apple chose to enable game apps on the Apple TV. This follows speculation that an updated Apple TV will be released soon which will, for the first time, allow apps and also these comments from Nat Brown, one of the original XBox designers.

Apple, if it chooses to do so, will simply kill Playstation, Wii-U and xBox by introducing an open 30%-cut app/game ecosystem for Apple-TV. I already make a lot of money on iOS – I will be the first to write apps for Apple-TV when I can, and I know I’ll make money.

I have no doubt an app enabled Apple TV would be quite successful. But would it “kill” traditional home consoles? I’m not so sure it would.

An Apple TV gaming console would be an attractive option for many gamers because, unlike consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, it’s priced at a very attractive $110. That’s a small barrier for entry. If Apple allows cross buy between existing apps on the iPhone and iPad, gamers buying an Apple TV as a gaming console would already have a wealth of apps ready to play without needing to spend an extra cent. And new apps, if they follow the App Store pricing model, would be insanely cheap. Compared to a $30 or $40+ retail game on a home console, it all means gaming on an Apple TV would be an attractive, cheap proposition.

But despite this kind of gaming model existing for years on the iPhone and iPad, it hasn’t killed the handheld gaming business. At least not for Nintendo. The DS made money hand over fist for the first few years of the App Store’s life, and while the 3DS had a harder time replicating that success, it’s still flourishing. Apple has taken it’s chunk of the portable gaming market, arguably squeezing out Sony in the process, but it hasn’t killed Nintendo, and it probably never will.

As a long time passionate gamer, I like games. My passion for them is restricted only by my time, my budget and the quality of the game itself. It’s why I game on Nintendo and Sony consoles, a PC/Mac and on iOS. If i had a lot more time and money, I’d probably game on XBox as well.

Because of this diversity, I know home consoles offer experiences iOS can’t. Physical buttons are the prime example. NOVA 3 on the iPad is an incredibly pretty FPS, but I can’t bring myself to play it because playing a FPS on a touch screen is just awful. Bring NOVA 3 to the Vita or even the Wii U, and it becomes a much more attractive proposition for me.


Also, while cheap games flourish on iOS, how many of them are truly worth playing?Angry Birds and Temple Run are interesting diversions, fun to play on the bus or the toilet, but they don’t offer the same level of depth or experience as Journey, or Marioor Gears of War. iOS games that do attempt to recreate the dedicated home console experience, like the aforementioned NOVA series, are either hampered by a lack of physical buttons or are actually ports of games that originated on home consoles to begin with.

Personally speaking, I wouldn’t buy an Apple TV that can play games. And this is coming from someone who likes Apple products. I own an iMac, a Mac Mini, an iPad and an iPhone. I’m certainly not biased against them. But I still don’t own an Apple TV and probably never will. Why? Because my Mac Mini is my media consumption device. I can play games on my Wii U, PS3, iMac or 3DS/Vita. Any game put out on the Apple TV will almost certainly exist on the iPhone or iPad. An Apple TV has no place in my life. It’s redundant. I can’t help think for many people, especially those who own iPods, iPhones or iPads, an app enabled Apple TV might be redundant to them, too.

An app enabled Apple TV will, no doubt, take a chunk out of the home gaming market, and it might even “kill” one of the long term players. But in the end, diversity will remain, People might buy an Apple TV to play games and watch media, but gamers with bigger budgets might be inclined to buy an Apple TV, and one or more of the other home consoles as well. Like me, I suspect many gamers who’re passionate about gaming will let their time, preferences and budgets dictate what home consoles they own in a world where an Apple TV console exists, not blind faith to Apple or cheap, disposable 0.99c apps.


Categories: opinion

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