Former GM of Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade: Apple TV to become video game console

Apple Store“The man who birthed Xbox Live Arcade has abandoned his brainchild. With freshly inked adoption papers, Greg Canessa, former general manager of Xbox Live Arcade, will now nurture PopCap Games’ console and handheld divisions as the vice president of video game platforms,” Chris Kohler reports for Wired News.

Kohler reports, “Why is his defection so important? The casual games market is estimated at $1 billion, and it’s projected to hit as high as $5 billion by 2009. That’s a huge amount of growth considering the video game market’s revenues currently tally $7.4 billion. Under Greg Canessa’s watchful eye, XBLA titles have reached 20 million downloads. PopCap hopes the former XBLA manager will extend that same magic to future PopCap titles slated for consoles and handhelds.”

MacDailyNews Note: Canessa began his professional career at Apple Computer as a games marketer and evangelist. PopCap:

In the Q&A, with Kohler Canessa drops a bombshell:

Kohler: So what exactly will you be doing for PopCap?
Canessa: I will help proliferate their titles on other consoles. It’s a broad in scope role. It encompasses everything from vision and strategy to execution and marketing. It will all be part of my group and charter. Business development will be part of that as well. It will be about taking the stable of franchises and games out of PopCap’s studio and adapting, customizing it for different platforms — adding multiplayer, new play modes, HD, customizing the user interface and display for Zune, ipod, Apple TV, Nintendo DS, PSP.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple TV? Whoops! And then Canessa does it again:

Kohler: Are you going to move PopCap games into retail distribution channels?
Canessa: Absolutely. Without getting into any specifics, the charter that’s been given to me is to extend beyond pure online distribution — although we will be doing a lot of that. It will extend to the retail channel. An impulse price point means you can sit on your couch, decide to buy and then play multiplayer Heavy Weapon. That works perfectly for iTunes or Xbox Live Arcade, for well-formed digital distribution destinations that have the mass market understanding of how to use these channels.

Kohler: Where do you see the casual games market in the next five years?
Canessa: Casual games, gaming in general, will continue to penetrate into the psyche of the mass market public. We ain’t seen nothing yet in terms of where it’s going to be in the next couple years. More and more soccer moms and grandmas will play. It’s going to continue to grow into non-core demographics. This is relevant as it pertains to devices that are not currently earmarked as gaming devices: mobile, set-top boxes, Apple TV, MP3 players and other devices in the home that will reach the non-gamer — people who don’t think they want to play.

Full article and interview here.

MacDailyNews Take: Now, there’s a real “wow!” Hopefully, Apple CEO’s Jobs won’t be too upset about Canessa’s confirmation.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Tommo_UK” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
ZDNet’s Graham: Apple TV hits a number of sweet spots, poised to make a big impact – January 25, 2007
Is Apple out to kill cable television? – January 25, 2007
RUMOR: Apple TV sales blowing away Apple’s internal expectations – January 25, 2007
Steve Jobs: Apple TV is the ‘DVD player for the 21st century’ – January 22, 2007
Apple TV beats out iPod, hits top spot on Apple Store sales chart – January 19, 2007
Report: first batch of 100,000 Apple TVs to ship this month – January 11, 2007
Steve Jobs moves to control the living room with Apple TV – January 10, 2007
Analyst Bajarin: Apple’s iPhone and Apple TV are industry game changers – January 09, 2007
Apple premieres Apple TV: movies, TV shows, music & photos on your big screen TV – January 09, 2007
RUMOR: Apple may enter video game market – December 05, 2006
Could Apple become king of game consoles? – September 26, 2006


  1. Somehow the idea of “Soccer Mom” playimg Doom or, OK, Civilzation, for a couple of hours, and then going to pick little Suzie up at school doesn’t seem likely to me. Color me either cynical or unimaginative.

  2. “Somehow the idea of “Soccer Mom” playimg Doom or, OK, Civilzation, for a couple of hours, and then going to pick little Suzie up at school doesn’t seem likely to me. Color me either cynical or unimaginative.”

    That’s the whole point! They won’t be playing Doom on their aTV. You should have alook at the sort of games PopCap produce for the iPod to understand what he’s talking about.

    This isn’t about hardcore Doom players or games freaks… this is about casual gaming.

  3. I somewhat misspoke. I really question if Apple TV/iPod game playing is going to get the average, non-gamer playing games. Just because it’s on an iPod or other new medium doesn’t automatically transform non-gamers into gamers. As I said, I may be extremely unimaginative. It wouldn’t be the first time. But, it certainly would be great for Apple’s bottom line.

  4. The success of the Wii points out something analysts and others have said for years. It is NOT how amazing the graphics are or how “clear” the picture is. Those are nice but largely “frosting” if you will. It’s the gameplay or content that really matter. Certainly compared side by side…all things being otherwise equal you want the best you can get in every category…but things are NOT equal. So… what to choose? Boring gameplay with brilliant graphics or something really enjoyable whose graphics are just workable but not amazing. Couple THAT with a lower price point and you have a winner. Hence the AppleTV. Adding games makes tremendous sense. And again…human perception of screen resolution becomes diminished the farther from the screen you sit. AppleTV is going to surprise a lot of people. Version 2 will likely have a much larger hard drive as well as a few other tricks.

  5. The only game system that I truly want now is something that is interactive like the Wii.

    I would think that Nintendo has a lock on that for a while. Not sure though.

    Games like Pac Man work well with handheld controllers.

  6. Can Apple TV be a span/mirror of the Desktop?

    >Dude with stale joke for long name wrote: You know I love the games available for the XBox, but don’t want to support Microsoft.

    I’m the opposite. I don’t love it, but I’ll support, aka buy, from Microsoft when they put out good wares.

    Looking forward to Halo 3!!!

  7. Well I think apple will do just that and start off with the small stuff and create the need for a game console but instead of that just use you existing computer. Just look what they did for tv shows and movies. They started selling them before the apple tv even came out. I would love to have an apple tv that could play games from my computer.

    Bring it on! One step at a time toward iGame!

  8. Smallest game console ever. Steve should have said something about games

    Wireless controllers would be the ticket.

    Though this is all … I mean, come on… Video Games? No thanks..

    Those iPod Games, maybe ..

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