Apple supposedly met with Valve to talk about motion, voice and touch-capable TV [Updated]

TF2 characters approaching Apple store

UPDATE: Never happened, according to Valve.

We actually, we all sent mail to each other, going, "Who's Tim Cook meeting with? Is he meeting with you? I'm not meeting with Tim Cook." So we're... it's one of those rumors that was stated so factually that we were actually confused.

No one here was meeting with Tim Cook or with anybody at Apple that day. I wish we were! We have a long list of things we'd love to see Apple do to support games and gaming better. But no, we didn't meet with Tim Cook. He seems like a smart guy, but I've never actually met him.

Last week Tim Cook visited Valve, one of the biggest influencers in PC gaming, to talk about a work-in-progress TV set Apple is working on, according to anonymous sources. Supposedly the TV will be ready for games, complete with Kinect-style motion recognition, touch input through a custom remote control, and support Siri-esque voice input. Obviously, the gaming opportunities for such a mythical piece of hardware are significant, especially if it's able to tap into the huge library of iOS games currently available, but it's unclear how Valve would fit into that picture. Supposedly, this TV set will be available this year, though analysts think that kind of timing is unlikely.

This rumor comes after word that Valve was working on their own console called the Steam Box, after their hugely successful digital distribution platform, but Valve promptly corrected the media by saying they would rather partner with a hardware vendor for that sort of thing. A vendor like Apple? It's hard to say, and I somehow doubt Apple would allow anything but the App Store to sell games on there, but an Apple TV set with gaming powered by Steam would be really, really awesome.

It's worth noting that Valve is perpetually experimenting, including in the realm of wearable computing, but the process is more about gathering valuable information than it is about shipping a product. That said, even if Apple was talking to Valve about a TV doesn't mean they would be directly involved. Steam started supporting Mac about two years ago, and it seems more likely that Cook's visit was about how that relationship is evolving, rather than some high-profile hardware partnership.

In any case, it's interesting to hear about the potential capabilities of a game-ready Apple TV. Could you guys replace your Xbox 360 with an Apple TV that plays games originally optimized for the new iPad?

Source: Cult of Mac

P.S.: For a good laugh, check out Team Fortress 2's Mac update minisite and comic.

Update: Aaaaand it totally didn't happen, according to Valve CEO Gabe Newell.

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Apple supposedly met with Valve to talk about motion, voice and touch-capable TV [Updated]


While this sounds food there are a couple of hurdles for me before I would buy:
It has to be a set top box - I already have a nice 60" LCD and a great projector. I'm not going to toss those out for a one size (or smaller TV) and pay twice as much for it.
It has to record over the air TV (ie a whole home DVR) - right now I use windows 7 feeding two XBoxes that boot straight to windows media center and I love them. Can play back all the recorded TV, all my ripped movies, and all my music and play my photos in a slideshow - which brings me to my last request:
Needs a new UI - I tried the new apple tv and sent it back after just a few days. The interface is ugly and incredibly less functional than windows media center. I was very surprised as I like my iPad. But the apple TV was a joke.
So for now, XBox for me - especially if they put a blu-ray drive in the next version so I can get rid of my PS3!

Phones are an easy sell - people buy a new one every 2 years, and it has a subsidized cost of $200.
Selling a TV - an item that costs upwards of $3000 and is repurchased only every 4-6 years - is way more difficult. It's more of a Mac-style challenge, and Apple is not the market leader in that category, nor could they ever be.
This is an extreme uphill battle.

Simple answer: no.
Longer answer: Until it has fast local storage (Mass Effect 3 by itself > free space on most iPads), a good control scheme (with, yes, physical controllers), and probably some significantly better specs, it could supplement a game console, but not 1:1 replace it.
That is not to say Apple couldn't take a large chunk of the market by coming up with a slightly different take on gaming, just that nothing they have said or done to date suggests they are willing or able to go toe-to-toe with MS or Sony directly to replace a traditional game system.

Maybe a long shot idea, but what is Apple just bypassed a step and bought Valve outright? It would be a pricey deal but the ramifications for the rest of the industry would be incredible. The features they need for an all in one gaming TV with steams massive game library and the app store merged into one force.
Rumours of both LG and Sharp partnering on making the screen high quality at a competitive price. Combining that and the new A5X running in a prototype Apple TV with a gig of ram, it could run most games at a smooth frame rate at a high resolution.

I very much doubt it. I can play Steam games on my TV right now by just connecting my computer to the TV.
Steam doesn't power the games; the PC or Mac that it is running on powers them.

Oh god. Please no. Apple is about selling everything a premium price. Valve is not. I would hate to see such a wonderful developer/company fall into the hands of a big corporate company. Especially Apple.

"Apple is not the market leader in that category, nor could they ever be."
There weren't market leaders or even had a presence in most of the categories they are dominant in now.

Soooo does that mean the Apple TV would take around 6 years to debut, have upgrades promised that either turn into vaporware or turn in something that leaves you scratching your head and asking "what took so long?" Or would you get promised things and then have it all declared cancelled after waiting a long time?
Cause... that's Valve's MO.

It's read between the lines, and HL3 for iOS won't happen. Not anytime soon anyway. It'd require too much graphical power as well as space. Not to mention there hasn't even been an announcement of Half Life 3.