Could Apple become king of game consoles?

“For all the hype about iTV, here’s another potential application: iGames,” Aaron Ruby writes for Next Generation. “Could Steve Jobs and co really have their eye on the console market?”

“As summer turns to fall and the phosphor-lit leaves of the current stand of next-gen consoles begin to turn decidedly ‘This Gen,’ we already know that the scramble by Microsoft and Sony to put a digital Trojan horse into every living room in America has evolved into the greatest business story that never happened,” Ruby writes. “In both cases, these companies have shrieked so loudly and so long about their plans to capture the Holy Grail of Digital Convergence that pretty soon people are going to start lobbing cattle at them. Maybe, then, Nintendo really got it right when it started dressing up the DS like an iPod.”

Ruby writes, “Maybe the advent of iGames, the introduction of iTV, and the application for a patent covering handhelds with more than one touch-sensitive region are really the sawing sounds of building a new… Trojan… Apple. According to Disney chief Bob Iger, the iTV wireless streaming media device will have a hard drive. He recently said ‘It’s a small box about the size of a novel, and not War and Peace, by the way. It plugs into the television like any other peripheral would, like a DVD device. It’s wireless. It detects the presence of computers in your home; in a very simple way you designate the computer you want to feed it and it wirelessly feeds whatever you downloaded on iTunes which include videos, TV, music videos, movies or your entire iTunes music library to your television set.'”

Ruby writes, “It’s very possible video card drivers could be written so that graphic output data could be sent to a network port instead of the monitor connected to the card. That opens the possibility of using iTV and a wireless controller to remotely play Mac/PC games (*cough* WoW *cough*) in your living room.”

“Convenient then, that on September 7, 2006, Apple filed a patent application for a handheld electronic device with ‘multiple touch-sensitive devices.’ Sure, the primary application of the patent is likely to layer a touch screen over the iPod’s display, but applications that involve improving gaming control with Apple products is not far-fetched,” Ruby writes. “It would be truly ironic if a Trojan Apple rolled out of Cupertino. Instead of using games to gain convergence, Jobs and company may just use music and video to wrap up games into a neat set-top bundle. And the cultural ubiquity of the iPod brand certainly wouldn’t hurt iTV’s aspirations to breach our living room walls. After all, it was an apple that started Homer’s great war.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]

Steve Jobs gives sneak peek of Apple’s “iTV” wireless set-top box:

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  1. This is certainly an option. SJ and Co must be looking at all aspects of the computer-related consumer electronics arena and deciding where and if they wish to enter it. Besides gaming this includes still cameras, video cameras, printers, external hard drives, etc… What Apple doesn’t know about any of these markets they can buy — they’ve got a big wad of cash just begging to be spent.

  2. One can only dream that Apple will take games seriously. Games can be the key to Apple’s future success. Maybe they’re “testing the waters” with their new iPod games, to see how briskly games will sell.

  3. I understand the concept of this theoretical console; the iTV would display graphics rendered on another computer in its network. This would make the iTV future proof because the networked computer could be replaced for better graphics. The problem I see with this concept is that it is a very complicated and expensive way to play games. Why bother using a Mac and iTV for games when any stand alone console would be easier to set up and find games for?

    Maybe games could be designed for the Apple Remote, downloaded through iTunes and played on iTV but I doubt they would be any more complicated than what we see on iPod.

  4. This is a no-brainer to predict!

    It would be far better than a game console becuse all of your games are already loaded onto your Mac’s hard drive. As such, they load faster.

    Your games improve at the same pace as your Mac, hard drive, RAM, video card, controller drivers, etc. You won’t ned all new games if you go buy the latest Mac.

    You can run your Mac AND Windows games on your Hi-Def screen.

    The vast amount of speed and memory that a computer offers will always be better than any game console.

    No longer need to dump games and money into various devices.

    With iTv, no longer need to contend with huge nests of cables.

    The list is endless as to the advantages.

    Game consoles will so die out as people start to buy more powerful multifunction devices such as Macs.

  5. Apple really wouldn’t have to make games for this to work. Leave that to EA and others.

    Look at it this way, the iTV thingy will sell because it does something a lot of us want — to view and access our digital content on our HDTV’s — whether it has games or not.

    Why stop at music, movies and photos, though?

    Apple can make money selling the iTV device, the controller and the computers that power the whole system. There’s really no reason they have to become a game developer.

    Gee, I’d spend $299 for the iTV plus another $49 for a controller if I could play games from either X or Windows without having to shell out another $300 for a separate game console. Wouldn’t you?

  6. Sorry but no don’t see this happening. Why would I want my computer running games on my tv when I can play the Wii and have a lot more fun doing so. Lets say that you did stream games over the TV what would make that any more interesting than playing a PS3 or Xbox pretty much nothing. Unless they would happen to come up with another innovative way to play games why would this be worth it. Right now I am for the Wii I am sick of playing games the same way, it is getting old.

  7. I think this WILL happen as a happy spin-off for what Apple is doing already..

    It was only Sony and others that went the route of another separate processor specifically for games. Then, as usual, Microsoft the innovator copied them. When you already have the processing power you could want why spend money buying more?

  8. it’s all about the software games companies. THEY sell games… not hardware manufacturers.

    The exception is Nintendo who put out plenty of quality first party games… but without 3rd party support… not happening.

  9. This is highly possible, provided that the specs of 802.11n are beefy enough, but Apple should only provide the framework for games, not enter into any game or controller manufacture themselves. Once they do, they’re support hotlines fill up with little 3rd-level grozarks and magical schmoopies crying about their frame rates and their inability to install this or that component. Who needs it?

  10. @M di L B Simoni:

    Actually, the hardware in game consoles is highly specialized for gaming, and at the time any particular game system comes out, it would cost a LOT more to build a general-purpose computer that has the same amount of gaming power — if you even could built it.

    Game consoles have a place, at least now they do. For those who want the cutting edge graphics and gaming power, buying the newest console makes a lot of sense.

    I do agree with your last statement though. As computers (and graphics cards) become ever-faster, there will probably come a point where it no longer makes sense to have a separate gaming console.

    Also, as of now at least, most consoles are sold at a loss, with the money coming from the games. The same isn’t true for computers. If you paid what an XBOX 360 really should cost (with MS making a profit from the console), it would cost quite a lot more.

    For these 2 reasons, consoles do have a place in our world so far.

    And who was it that said that “only Sony and others went the separate console course…” or something like that? Uhhhh, no, actually, gaming consoles have been around since the early 1970’s. They’ve always been around and will continue to be around for some time.

    Will Apple get into this? I doubt it, but… who knows. I’m not one to underestimate Apple’s abilities.

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