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Will the Apple TV Become a Gaming Platform?

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  • by cbope (130292) on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:38AM (#35172222)

    Do we really need yet another Apple-controlled walled garden? Don't we have enough of those already?

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      It's more about bringing their existing walled garden to a different space. That's probably how they expect to succeed where so very many others haven't: they can bring along the existing iOS developer support and public awareness from the iPhone and iPad.

      (I recall Sega and Pace teaming up for a Dreamcast-based gaming satellite box to play casual games. It unsurprisingly floundered. That said there was a pretty decent lunar lander game on Sky Digital when it first appeared.)

    • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:44AM (#35172254) Journal

      Well, on the basis that pretty much any gaming console these days is a walled garden (at best), the answer is a resounding "maybe"?

      It wouldn't actually hurt to have another entrant into the games console business (even if this proposal doesn't look too much like a console). Sony and MS's current offerings are actually unbelievably similar - I don't think I've ever known a console generation where there was less to actually separate two competitors. At the same time, Nintendo look increasingly like a successful toy manufacturer, who have feet of clay when it comes to actually making interesting games - and in attracting decent third party developers.

      A credible new entrant (sorry, Infinium Labs) could potentially give the industry a shot in the arm. Apple may or may not be the people to do it - there's a hell of a lot I don't like about the company and its principles. However, their recent approach to software pricing indicates that they might at least bring something interesting to the table.

      • Maybe this is what got Nintendo so worried yesterday [slashdot.org]

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday February 11, 2011 @08:20AM (#35172454) Homepage Journal

        Sony and MS's current offerings are actually unbelievably similar - I don't think I've ever known a console generation where there was less to actually separate two competitors.

        Uh what? They are different in every way it is possible to be different while still offering the same basic features.

        • The Xbox 360 is a 3-way SMP system. The PS3 is a CPU/GPU/Coprocessor system.
        • The Xbox 360 has added features with each new major update. The PS3 has removed features with each new major update.
        • The Xbox 360 has motion-detecting equipment (Kinect) which does not require a controller. Sony has motion-detecting equipment which does.
        • Xbox Live costs money, PSN is free.
        • The Xbox 360 is the first console that looks decent compared to the competition, mostly because the PS3 looks like a George Foreman grill.
        • The PS3 uses Bluetooth for wireless controllers, while the 360 uses a proprietary protocol.

        Now, preferring PS3 or Xbox 360 is a matter of personal preference, but it's not because the two platforms are identical.

        The problem is that history has shown us that there is room in the market for three players. Further, the Mac is not where the games are. Microsoft entering the market made sense; Xbox is short for DirectX Box. Where are the Mac games? Where are the Mac game developers?

        • Where are the Mac games? Where are the Mac game developers?

          Well, Bungie used to be Mac developers - probably the best Mac games developers.. and Microsoft sucked them up and repurposed Halo as an Xbox game instead of a Mac game (maybe it was originally intended to be for Windows too, can't remember).

        • by PsychoSid (683168) *
          http://store.steampowered.com/browse/mac/ [steampowered.com] Just for starters
        • by RogueyWon (735973) *

          I didn't mean in terms of the technology. To the average consumer, provided the technology is "good enough", it doesn't really matter. What I meant was in terms of the user experience.

          The PS3 and the Xbox 360 have:

          - a very similar games library with fewer exclusive games than in any previous cycle;
          - exclusives which often tend to act as mirror images of each other (eg. Halo vs Killzone, Gran Turismo vs Forza);
          - controllers with some variations in shape, but exactly the same number and arrangement of buttons

          • by Gilmoure (18428)

            Hey, the guy said that the Xbox360's case looks better than the PS3. That means there's a totally different gaming experience there.

        • I can see you're a 360 fanboy, I won't hate you for that, but I will say that you've cherry picked a few reasons that they are different.

          There's almost nothing to separate the two, they are almost identical as far as releases, with the 360 just nudging the PS3 out for exclusives and first releases.

          You've gone ahead and acted like a total tool to "prove" that they are different, but anyone who's been around gaming for any length of time can see the similarities.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I can see you're a 360 fanboy, I won't hate you for that, but I will say that you've cherry picked a few reasons that they are different.

            I'm not so much a Microsoft lover as a Sony hater. I think both companies are evil in the usual corporate sense and even bad for gaming in general compared to prior market leaders.

            I'm actually most impressed with the Wii, but only with motionplus. I have a Wii and hardly use it because I am so disappointed with the performance of the Wiimote, but I've played with motionplus a bit at a friend's house and the experience is different like night and day. Meanwhile I feel a bit grumpy at the many inducements to

        • by Goaway (82658)

          Where are the Mac games? Where are the Mac game developers?

          Wrong question. What you should be asking is "Where are the iOS games?". Suddenly, the answer is "everywhere".

      • At the same time, Nintendo look increasingly like a successful toy manufacturer, who have feet of clay when it comes to actually making interesting games - and in attracting decent third party developers.

        This will only be a success as a way of tying interactive content with TV shows. Unfortunately, established game makers have managed to accomplish a mathematical paradox: they've made tie-in into a 4 letter word.

        Still, I see tremendous potential for folks like Zynga doing tie-ins with big media events. How about "Drinking Game"? People publish sets of rules before an event. (Academy Awards?) Then, you get to watch a set of virtual college students get sloshed playing the game. Viewers will vote up or vo

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Unxmaal (231)

      Do we really need yet another Apple-controlled walled garden? Don't we have enough of those already?

      Yes. No.

    • I was going to say the same at first, but then it occurred to me that it's not like the other consoles and whatnot are exactly open, are they? Control freakery is the norm, call-home DRM and collecting information about your every move too, and let's not forget that Sony just removed an official feature in a firmware patch.

      And then we have such historical cases as Nintendo in it's NES days. Good Lord! Not only they determined what you can publish for their console, but also how many units you're allowed to

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Do we really need yet another Apple-controlled walled garden? Don't we have enough of those already?

      Then, don't buy it and get over it.

    • by anegg (1390659) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:08AM (#35174294)

      Do we really need yet another Apple-controlled walled garden? Don't we have enough of those already?

      So vote with your wallet. I bought an AppleTV just before Christmas as a "santa gift" for the kids (hey - only $99!). My aim was to introduce Internet-based streaming media as a movie-delivery device in addition to RedBox DVDs (we don't have cable TV), and I was thinking only of NetFlix when I bought it. Before I set it up, I did the research I should have done before I bought it, and saw that although it worked with NetFlix, it didn't work with anything else except for Apple's media store. The day after Christmas, I saw a Sony BDP-S370 Blu-ray plus Internet streaming video player for $99 at the Sony store. It did NetFlix, plus some other services (Hulu Plus, Amazon, Crackle). Oh, yeah - it plays Blu-ray discs, too! It didn't play anything from Apple's media store, but that didn't seem such a big loss to me based on the prices I had seen ($1 for a freaking TV show *episode*?). No brainer. Returned the AppleTV, bought the Sony player. I'm happy.

      I think that the streaming video market is so very different from the music distribution market that Apple's "walled garden" play will stumble. Here I am, a long-term Macintosh user (Mac Plus, SE30, PowerMac 7200, PowerMac G4 Digital Audio tower, and Intel-based 24" iMac) with a family of iPods (my wife and I have classics, my two kids have Nanos). I'm happy with iTunes and iPods - we still buy CDs which we then load into iTunes for playback on our SliMP3 player in the living room and our iPods everywhere else - but the movie world is a different beast altogether. I'm not going to rip DVDs/Blu-rays into a home library unless the technology gets a lot better (cheaper, faster, less seemingly illicit), so the whole local playback capability of the AppleTV is moot (as is the DLNA-based local playback of the Sony player - at least to me). What matters in both markets is choice, and while I could use iTunes/iPods and still maintain the power of choice (despite the moans some people make, iTunes/iPod users are *not* locked into the Apple media store), the same is not nearly as true with the AppleTV. Sure, I have some choice - I can choose NetFlix and/or Apple's media store. With any one of a host of other media players (Sony is just one of a plethora of choices now) I can't have the Apple media store, but I can have practically every other distribution option available on the Internet.

      I have to leave the question of whether the video game market is more like the music distribution market or the audio/video movie/TV show distribution market up to those of you who play video games... I don't. In fact, it may be yet another paradigm, as my outside-looking-in view of video games is that they are all walled garden's in a way - each company's game console only plays games brought out on that console - yet video game companies often produce multiple versions of each game title, one for each game console - which means there isn't much of a wall. If Apple chooses to play in the games console environment, won't they be essentially like every other games console? A video game company will choose whether or not to port a title to the Apple console, the same way they choose to port to other consoles. At the same time, some number of "Apple-only" games will probably spring up, just as their are titles available on only Sony PlayStation and only Nintendo whatever and only Microsoft XBox.

      If the lure of a game that is only available on the AppleTV game console causes you to buy the $99 AppleTV in order to be able to play it, isn't that what a free market economy is all about? Each of us is free to buy or not to buy, no one will force anyone to make that purchase to play that game.

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        The iTunes video content is quite expensive, and is the last vestige of DRM in the store too. That said, if you wait to buy "box sets" the per-episode costs come down. I believe it is set up this way to recoup as much as possible from people who are not watch the adverts on cable TV during currently-airing shows, so if you want to keep up with the latest stuff as it comes out, it costs you a fortune to not see ads.

        Bundles of older TV shows, or past seasons, are much more akin to DVD costs.

    • As everyone said, they're all walled gardens. So what we need is an open gaming platform.

      I've previously suggested that open-source friendly-ish AMD and Google team up to develop a hardware spec and game-flavoured O/S (respectively) that any random hardware maker can develop, and any random game/App developer can write for, licence free.

    • by node 3 (115640)

      Do we really need yet another Apple-controlled walled garden? Don't we have enough of those already?

      Actually, yes. Consumers love them. This is because they create a system that is easy for them to understand and provides a certain level of trust. Geeks can understand technology far better, and can rely on themselves to keep their systems running well and safe, so sure, *you* don't want another walled garden. Here's a hint: you don't ever have to use it. Just stick with Android or whatever.

      But for the other 99+%? Apple's "walled garden" is fantastic.

      And it's an absurd complaint to begin with when talking

    • Do we really need yet another Apple-controlled walled garden? Don't we have enough of those already?

      Open gaming platforms that don't suck? Um, do you think?

  • by ksd1337 (1029386) on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:42AM (#35172236)

    Apple already tried a gaming platform back in the day. It was called the Pippin.

    Is this idea gonna fly?

    • Apple already tried a gaming platform back in the day. It was called the Pippin.

      I thought it was called the iPhone.

    • by AccUser (191555)

      Yes, but given that AppleTV is an iOS device, there are already a plethora of games and lifestyle apps that can probably run today with little or no modification.

      • by igreaterthanu (1942456) * on Friday February 11, 2011 @08:19AM (#35172442)

        little or no modification.

        Little modification? It has completely different input devices.

        • by AccUser (191555)

          So what is the input device for AppleTV with games, because I am sure that it isn't available yet. My iPad controls AppleTV using the Apple Remote app, and that works well. Why can't the same be done for other apps? Imagine this: I launch a game from Apple Remote, and my iPad is now the controller, the AppleTV is the display. As far as the app is concerned, it is receiving the same input as it would expect when running on and iPad. This is the beauty of a well defined API. And Apple certainly has one.

          • So instead of being a $99 gaming device, it's really only going to be for those who shelled out for an iPhone/iPad, both of which are more expensive than current consoles already? Good luck with that!

            Also, don't a lot of iPad games often require you to coordinate your fingers with what's onscreen? You can't do that when you're looking at a TV. Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies will not port over well to a system of the kind you suggest. I think they'd be much better getting a simple control pad so that at l

            • AppleTV + iPod touch can be had for $200. That's in line with today's consoles.... and guess what, you get a portable game system at that price point that you don't with the current consoles.

              • Forgot about the Rouch, but it's still a crappy input system, and it misses the point of what actually makes mobile phone games so different to the other games we've had so far (I admit a couple of mobile games are mildly fun and vaguely addictive, but I've not liked any enough to actually buy one yet). If you want to move to big screen gaming, you're going to need a better device - and preferably one that has a strap and costs well under $100 if you're going to be swinging it around wii-mote style.

        • If they're smart, they'll do what the other consoles do not and offer a keyboard and a mouse as an input option, as well as hand-held controllers. If I could use a mouse and kb with FPS games on a console I'd be unstoppable.
          • I really grow tired of these "if I had a mouse and keyboard" statements.

            And while you're struggling with the controller on Halo, I'm smoking you left and right. You shouldn't get to chose your input device when the game is designed for a specific platform. I'm sorry you can't just point and click your way through a game while the rest of us adapted per game and system. Get better with the controller and get over it.

            • Jesus...here we go again.

              Mouse and kb is the better combination for FPS. Period. That's why you don't see cross-platform servers where PC and console gamers are allowed to play against each other. Microsoft tested it [gameranx.com] with the best of the best console players against some mediocre PC players...sur-fucking-prise: The PC players dominated the Y-Axis-challeneged consoler players. You simply can't argue against and it if you do you'll look like a moron. I could easily dig up more examples but you have the same i

        • by Ster (556540)

          Add a Magic Trackpad [apple.com]? Or pair with an i(Phone|Pad|Pod Touch).

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          So you'll have games like Scrabble that exist right now - the board is on the iPad, you keep your tiles on your iPhone or iPod Touch and swipe them onto the iPad board to lay them. It seems like a logical extension to bring the AppleTV into this, since it is also an iOS device.

          You could control your Angry Bird catapult from your phone's screen and have the results show on your TV, etc etc.

        • by Americano (920576)

          There's already functionality built into iOS allowing ipads, ipod touches, and iPhones to be used as remotes for an Apple TV, all over a wireless network.

          http://www.apple.com/itunes/remote/ [apple.com]

          You can't think of any way this type of technology could be easily used to create custom input devices for iOS apps running on an Apple TV? Because I sure can.

      • by Loosifur (954968)

        When you say plethora of games, what exactly are you referring to? Honest question, not trying to be snarky. I ask because my experience has generally been that people who say, "Platform X has plenty of games," don't really care that much about games. Sort of like telling someone who drives a Bugatti Veyron that the Toyota Prius has plenty of horsepower. Also, that you refer to "lifestyle apps" implies to me that, when you mention games, you're talking about casual games rather than FPS or the like.

      • So there are gonna be fingerprints on the TV now... and I can't wait to see videos of some small lady holding and tilting her 32" TV to play a game.. heh

        What I'm saying is the user interface may not translate to the tv...

    • saint steve wasn't at apple when the pippin was released and flopped, so it didn't come with a reality distortion field as factory standard.

      now, hardcore gamers will probably shun this thing, but casual gamers (mostly mom and grandma) will probably buy it.

      basicaly another gaming niche that currently belongs to nintendo that apple will tackle and probably be successfull.

      • by mjwx (966435) on Friday February 11, 2011 @08:34AM (#35172522)

        basicaly another gaming niche that currently belongs to nintendo that apple will tackle and probably be successfull.

        Right,

        You do know that when facing competition that Apple, historically loses.

        The only two companies really making money out of gaming machines at the moment are Nintendo and IBM.

        Nintendo have a massive back catalogue of extremely popular games from over 20 years of released consoles and several extremely profitable 1st party IP's (Mario, Zelda). Apple has a bunch of Flash games written by 3rd parties. In this regard, Apple only competes with the Wii virtual console, not with actual Wii or DS games.

        IBM, oh yes them. They make the chips for the PS3, Xbox360 and Wii.

      • by poena.dare (306891) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:22AM (#35173574)

        Y'know I'd buy one if Apple resurrected some old Mac games:

        The Ancient Art of War
        Armor Alley
        Balance of Power
        The Fools Errand
        Cap'n Magneto
        Continuum
        Core War
        Dark Castle
        Dungeon of Doom
        and
        Orlando Poon's Toxic Ravine Clean-Up and Rescue Service

        Shoot me, I'm old.

    • You know, you're right. Apple also had a touchscreen device in the Newton. I guess that means the iPhone iPod touch and iPad won't be popular either. . . . .

    • by node 3 (115640)

      Apple already tried a gaming platform back in the day. It was called the Pippin.

      Is this idea gonna fly?

      Are you kidding? Apple tried a PDA called the Newton, and since it was canceled, the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad are all doomed as well?

      The Wii and all the current iOS handhelds have proven that casual gaming is a very lucrative market. It's entirely unfounded to think gaming on an Apple TV is destined to fail. That's not to say it's destined to succeed either. It really comes down to how well Apple executes this. The input device is going to be the deciding factor. Clearly using the current Apple remote won't c

  • Given the success of gaming on the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad, it makes sense that Apple could provide installable application support on the AppleTV, now that it too has joined the iOS platform family.

    It is worth pointing out, though, that with the addition of AirPlay, there is no reason why developers can't use the AppleTV as a remote display for a game, whilst the device (iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad) acts as a controller. Similarly, why not use these devices to control applications running on AppleTV? T

    • by emj (15659)

      That seems too complicated for things comming from Apple tech, pairing iPhone etc is bound to be troublesome. It's a wonderful idea technically but I'm not sure it would work in real life, I hope they choose another path if they do this.

      • by AccUser (191555)

        Actually, it works really well. Pairing is already supported for the AppleTV with the Apple Remote app, and it works like a dream.

    • Other than games that use the accelerometer that probably wouldn't work out too well because you would have no physical feedback on the controls. Having to look at controls when they are on the same screen is enough of a pain in the ass, having to look totally away from the game screen to see the controller seems like a recipe for frustration.
      • by AccUser (191555)

        Have you tried Papa Sangre [papasangre.com]? This game is best played in a dark room with your eyes closed. Whilst the core of the game is audio only, it does provide visual feedback by way of high-contrast indicators. Even with your eyes closed, you can tell that you have done the right thing.

        Anyway, I am not suggesting that this is the way forward, but it is entirely possible. And what if you had a dedicated game controller app installed? This could provide a HUD-like information as well as control, and also provide audio

  • Not a gamer company (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sosume (680416) on Friday February 11, 2011 @08:12AM (#35172404) Journal

    Apple is not a gamer company. iOS games are only used casually, and Apple hardware scores badly in the cost vs performance tradeoff. Gamers want to be able to tweak their hardware and Apple is not likely to allow this. So for casual games, Apple won't be able to compete with the Wii on the low end, and won't be willing or able to provide high end gaming gear to the hardcore gaming crowd. So this is like Rolls Royce selling bikes - won't work. Combined with the expected resignation of Apple's Glorious Leader Kim Il Steve, this will only improve odds for people going short on Apple.

    • by AccUser (191555)

      Apple didn't think games would fly on the iPhone. They were wrong.

      They are not a gamer company, but they have built a really solid platform, with very low entry requirements for development. Yes, there is an annual subscription fee for the developer program, and this is a requirement for submitting applications, but this cost is relatively small. Everything else you need is free (not counting 3rd-party toolsets and libraries).

      Whilst PC gamers can tweak their hardware, what about PS3 and XBox360 gamers? How

    • by FyRE666 (263011) *

      If you read the article you'd see it's likely to use a streaming service like onLive - the device itself only needs enough horsepower to accept player input and display the video stream coming back from the gaming servers. Even openGL is pretty irrelevent.

    • by Amarantine (1100187) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:18AM (#35174444)

      Apple is not a gamer company.

      Neither was MS, before the first Xbox. Neither was Sony, before the first PlayStation.

      Gamers want to be able to tweak their hardware and Apple is not likely to allow this.

      Wot, and Nintendo, MS and Sony *do* allow this? Ask geohot about his experiences with that.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      Yeah, so many modified and tweaked Xbox 360s and PS3s.....

      oh right.

      The vast majority of "gamers" right now are using consoles, which are the very definition of a fixed data point in terms of hardware and non-tweaking.

      The second really massive growth area in gaming has been in casual games, which have attracted an entirely new set of people into games, and these are wildly successful on small, portable devices. Casual games are huge.

      Any future game setup on the AppleTV, and the current gaming market on iOS a

    • Apple is about to do for living room game consoles what they did for MP3 players, smart phones, and tablet computers. I cannot wait!

      Apple is not a gamer company... Gamers want to be able to tweak their hardware and Apple is not likely to allow this... [Apple] won't be willing or able to provide high end gaming gear to the hardcore gaming crowd.

      Agreed, but your are talking about a tiny slice of the potential market.

      Apple hardware scores badly in the cost vs performance tradeoff.

      Not for the bulk of c

  • Apple has been launching a lot of "sneak attacks" lately. :P

    The iPod was innocent enough, but through it they effectively (and quietly) ate up a chuck of the PDA market via the iPod Touch.

    Via the iPhone, they are starting to threaten Sony's and Nintendo's handheld console market.

    Gaming on the Apple TV seems to be the latest "salvo".

    PS: I suppose most consider the Apple TV as a failure. While I don't own one, it doesn't seem that bad. It's a cheap "media" server that lets you rent videos and watch them on yo

  • Angry Birds HD? Apple ceded the gaming field to Microsoft many moons ago, and hasn't done anything to position itself to compete in that environment since. Besides which, does Apple TV even have enough of a foothold for Apple to use it as a wedge into console gaming? Granted, this is anecdotal, but no one I know has Apple TV, and I have a couple of friends who would buy anything with a lower-case 'i' in the front. In fact, those same people use competing products which aren't handicapped by Apple's antagoni

  • The current generation AppleTV has Bluetooth for input and 8GB of flash that are inaccessable currently.

    What Apple didn't have was a large base of apps that don't require touch screen and many of the other hardware expectations of the current iOS devices.

    Introduction of the Mac Appstore fixes that and readies the AppleTV to become a portal for those Apps to be put onto an iOS device. You have to look at it from a very high level looking down at the synergies between the computers and their iOS devices. Th

  • This would be a great way for Apple to introduce the notion I have believed would happen sooner than later. The entire line of Apple products will go to a multicore ARM hardware configuration, and what better way to do it than with a cheap introduction for lower power consumption and footprint than a gaming console for hard core graphics rendering and networking needs. I'm not a fanboy of Apple, at least for the past 4+ years since the introduction of Intel into the product lines. However, this may get m
  • I think there's an emerging market for active low wattage, always-on, local/internet connected home devices. It'll use less power then any PC/console and be easier to setup then a Linux wall plug computer. I can think of a few examples

    • Home automation and security, using IP webcams and local network based sensors & switches.
    • Whiteboard apps: scheduler/calendar/shopping lists that sync across all inhabitant's smartphones.
    • Home to Home family webcam conferencing (as easy to use as a phone call- hence y

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