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On Apple TV and the world of gaming

Apple TV Controller Hero
Apple TV Controller Hero (Image credit: iMore)

Once again the "Apple Must" crowd is back. This time, it's "Apple must build a gaming console to compete with both the Xbox and PS4."

Sigh.

OK, Xbox started life because Microsoft was worried about PlayStation as the "computer" for the living room. Also, Bill Gates was looking for billion dollar ideas. Back then, for Microsoft to carry hardware on the books was heresy. This was big. Xbox would own the living room. Except, not so much.

The Xbox One launch promised to, not only be an amazing next-generation gaming console, but also rule the living room with both Kinect and a TV watching experience (if your plans to conquer the living room need an IR blaster, you've already lost).

You see, the thing about game consoles is that they're awesome to a certain audience – the dedicated gamer.

Apple has ignored that market. Wisely. It's changed the conversation to an app-driven world. A world where Apple TV can become a player because it allows you to use apps on a TV. It is also a game console for the masses. Answering the call of my colleague Serenity, Apple has removed the Apple TV remote requirement but still has an emphasis on causal games. The games normal people play. The Bejeweled games of Facebook. The Alto's Adventure. Quietly, with precision and focus, Apple is poised to capture the living room. Forget the silly rumors about streaming services. This is a coherent and powerful strategy. Others may have won the battle, but I think Apple might just win the war for the living room.

So, are you a hardcore gamer, or just one of the "rest of us"? What are your favorite games?

I’ve covered the personal technology beat for more than two decades at places like Gartner, Jupiter Research and Altimeter Group. I’ve also had the fun of contributing my $.02 on the topic at Computerworld, Engadget, Macworld, SlashGear and now iMore. Most recently I spent a few years at Apple as Sr. Director of Worldwide Product Marketing. On Twitter I’m an unverified @gartenberg. I still own some Apple stock.

19 Comments
  • Here's hoping the next Nintendo console is an Apple TV App.
  • Once Nintendo starts getting that money in from Mario run, they will change course to focus more on mobile.
  • If they made an Apple TV with an A9X/A10 it would probably out perform the current gen consoles but be a tiny little fanless box. I'm not sure about GPU power, but if you look up geekbench scores from a 8-core AMD processor, same clock speed and generation as the current consoles, the A9X comes out ahead. Certainly an A9X based Apple TV would be more expensive, which is probably why they don't do it. It would be hard to sell a $300-$400 Apple TV no matter how powerful it may be, as people would see it as just a another streaming box, not a serious game console.
  • Geekbench is not an Apples to Apples comparison. Especially when people love to tout the Apple is optimised in hardware and software line.
    I’d like to see the A9 or A10 running full photoshop, or even better full OSX. THEN, we’ll Geekbench it.
  • I'm looking forward to a version of the AppleTV that has PowerVR's ray tracing GPU.
  • No it wouldn't. A9 and A10 are ARM based mobile processors which focus on linear computing and power efficiency/reduced power consumption to increase battery life. The x64 processors in the PS4 and XBO are focused towards performance and parallel computing. Again two completely different architectures and focuses. Posted from my Nexus 6P
  • Problem is that the Siri Remote is even more limiting than touchscreen controls, and not many people are going to have a gamepad. With controls that limited, I don't see how AppleTV can be a compelling gaming platform. Most of all, I don't think we can expect anything other than a limited selection of lukewarm iOS ports. I'd wish the Siri Remote was more like the Wii Remote in terms of input options.
  • tvOS is essentially iOS with a different interface and different apps, they wouldn't really be ports, just modified to work with the controls of the Apple TV
  • I know; but the controls are so different, not to mention the screen size, that I do think "port" is a more fitting term. As a developer, you can't just export your game to AppleTV and call it a day.
  • why not do both ? I mean Apple TV with a A10X chips in it and an officiel Apple controller (similar to playstation or xbox one) would simply add to an already compelling package no ? The controller should be totally optional and an addon, just like developer can support Nimbus and others now
  • Instead of a third OS, oS-TV, I'd like to see Apple merge the Apple TV with the Mac Mini, reduce the size to a little bigger than the Asus Google Chrome Box or the HP Pavillion Micro. Give it 8g ram, 128G SD hard drive, and lots of gaming power with Mac OS Sierra.
    Reduce the size of the present Mac Mini by 2/3 or double the size of Apple TV2, but thinner, like the Amazon Fire TV. Then we'd be really talking something powerful. I have both the Chrome Box and the HP Pavillion Micro and they're awesome and tiny.
  • Correction, those Xbox/ps controllers are Nintendo controllers. They copied the design from them and they are VERY outdated. Something like the wiimote is closer to the future.
  • Wiimote sucks. Wii had nothing but shovel ware games for flailing your hands because of it and no core games. Posted from my Nexus 6P
  • is iMore or Apple trying to say here they think everyone who plays 3D games are weird? If u have a 'console' of any kind. or even something that can play games on like Apple TV, we would all wanna push it to 3D style gaming, as much as we did iPad 3 or 4th generations.. just because we want it, or it could be possibly convenient. There's probably a place for everything, but why don't Apple believe gaming is ok on TVos ? The level of detail that is on IOS that is like 'Infinite Blane' should come to tvOS .. I'm sure even though we play these types of iPad, don't u think they also should be on tvOS as well or is Apple deliberately limiting the tech. (The tech IS there on iOS anyway...). Allot of these games would be better thanks to the controller. rater than needing to have a tablet.
  • How many xbox and PlayStation units are in households now? The answer is most households have them. All of these consoles also run apps and have streaming tv services already. Apple is way behind in the battle for the household and their current offering isn't going to have them even sniffing the race. Sent from the iMore App
  • Call of Duty, Far Cry, Forza need to come on Apple Store.. if they come, I'll buy  TV that day! Sent from the iMore App
  • Didn't Google try to do this with the Nexus Player? And yes, I bought one. Not to replace my PS3. I did that with the purchase of a PS4. :-) But it was a neat gadget to have on a non-smart tv. But the newness wore off quickly. I already have two original Apple TV's in my house and I still use them all the time mainly to stream movies from my iPad Pro to the tv. I will probably replace one of them with the new Apple tv. Not as a gaming console, just an upgrade of a old but reliable gadget.
  • Why are you so persistently hostile towards core gamers? Why would it somehow be bad for Apple if they made something that was awesome for core gamers, and people who like prefer mainstream.
  • This article is a joke, but it comes as no surprise considering you worked in marketing for Apple before so you have Kool Aid for blood. Apple TVs may be cheaper to get into TV apps and games than a console, but mobile quality games on the TV are far outclassed by consoles and they of course are outclassed by PCs (read: NOT MAC). This of course is why consoles are now going in the direction of PCs (see Project Scorpio). Comparing gaming on an Apple TV vs gaming on PS4, XBO, or PC is like comparing a Prius to an expensive sports car or formula racer. Two completely different animals they do not compete for the same goal. Posted from my Nexus 6P