Apple’s next move could change video gaming forever

“Even the most blinkered of Apple skeptics will admit that the rise of the iPhone — and its close siblings, the iPod Touch and iPad — has been nothing short of meteoric,” Damien McFerran reports for GamePro. “Since the inception of the original 2G iPhone back in 2007, Apple has shifted an incredible 190 million units of its combined iOS range, making it one of the most successful platforms of the modern era, and the company recently overtook Google to become the most valuable brand in the world.”

“One area where Apple has enjoyed particular (and some would argue unexpected) success is in the distribution of games,” McFerran reports. “The iPhone App Store now boasts over 350,000 items available to download, a large percentage of which are focused solely on finger-friendly entertainment. Titles such as Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, and Flight Control have sold in the millions, making gamers out of people who ordinarily wouldn’t even dream of picking up a traditional controller, let alone purchase a portable console.”

McFerran reports, “Apple’s conquest of the interactive entertainment arena shows no sign of relenting, either. Recently, the company acquired the services of former Nintendo UK Head of Communications Rob Saunders and Activision’s Nick Grange. While neither individual is involved explicitly with games development — their expertise lies in the field of public relations — such bold moves are nonetheless a clear indication that Apple is keen to take control of its own destiny when it comes to gaming, and could hint at a wider attack which will leave stalwarts such as Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft reeling.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Attribution: Tech.com. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

44 Comments

  1. As soon as I saw AirPlay mirroring I knew Sony and msoft were in for a world of hurt. In your hand holding an iPhone/ iPad with a gyroscope/accelerometer, touch screen.. A device with many other uses and on that many people you know have. Then for $99 you have an apple TV that turns that increasingly common device into a console. Mirroring is fast and works right out of the gate. All they need us one more gen of hardware upgrades and the PS3/xbox is suddenly an outdated dinosaur. All that is needed us for software to catch up- and with a 70/30 cut there will be plenty of awesome games right around the corner.

  2. Now imagine games served up via iCloud. Something like WOW could run from on iCloud servers, with your iOS device handling basically just your movements and the display and not requiring huge amounts of data being installed. Use Airplay to project onto an HD TV, and have a split screen mode where four friends could play at once, being able to see each other or even showing different views on the TV than the iOS device.

    And when you’re done, drop your video game “console” into your pocket and go home.

  3. I think there is a bright future in gaming on iOS i just dont see them subplanting dedicated consoles.

    The aTV is lacking in power and storage. Newer games in some cases are shipping on multiple dvds or blueray. Where are you going to store a 20 gig game?

    The iPad is a moving target like the PC. Its updated frequently. Thats going to lead to fragmentation on the gaming side vs a console that stays internally the same for 5 to 10 years.

    Controls are another issue. What will i need a 200 dollar ipod for my buddy when he comes over to play?

    Im an avid gamer. I own every console and the idea of using an ipad with an aTV to replace my consoles does nothing to excite me.

    Its like the wrong tool for the job.

    1. I see your point, but I can also imagine my iPhone/iPod/iPad playing Halo using AirPlay and the controller being either the device itself or an Xbox wireless controller.

          1. There is still a hardcore pc gaming demographic.

            Fps and mmorg seem to be the stronghold.

            I moved to consolea some years back myself but have many pc gamer friends

      1. You can use Time Capsule or AirPort Extreme with attached storage to emable universal access to common files on the networked drive. They could presumably store 20GB worth of game files that are accessible by the iPad. 

        The paradigm shift in gaming is that you can download modules to your iPad and play them that way. Besides the App Store distribution model is great for game developers. I can see games morphing from dedicated controllers to the iPad which can display gameplay to a high level of gorgeousness & immersive environment.

    2. we had this conversation on another post, dude.

      Your problem is viewing the world in a static present tense without the ability to see that tech has been changing and getting far more powerful. The appleT won’t always have an A4 processor, and so on. It’s fine- there are plenty of people out there who just plain can not see that apple can upgrade every year taking large leaps in processing power. So far Sony and Msoft are only competing with each other and have a .. what? 6 year development cycle for their hardware? I guess it’s nice- you will always be awed by these paradigm shifts. lol. Just consider how much more profitable it is for a dev to make a game for iOS than a PS3/xbox. All apple needs to do now is update xcode to allow a dev to utilize openGL as if they had the unreal engine 4 development suite.

      1. I can see exactly how this is going to play out, and seriously I’m shocked an Apple fan can’t see it with all the KISS mantra I hear on this forum.

        The iPad and aTV will be just like the PC was for gaming, a moving target that will fragment over time as the newer models come on the scene. Fast upgrades are not an advantage if you want to knock the console out of the living room, its exactly the kind of thing that will work against a device.

        PCs were and still are vastly superior (power wise) gaming machines to consoles, but the consoles absolutely won the market because people don’t want the complications. “Do I need to upgrade to play this? Will it play faster if I have a new rev of hardware? keyboard/mouse or gamepad? Does this game support a gamepad ?” etc. etc. The console completely removed all that crap from the equation.

        For gaming, consoles have been simplified for the devs and the users.

        The iPad does nothing more than introduce the same issues the console solved right back into the mix.

        I’m not saying there isn’t a bright a future for gaming on the iPad, I truly think there is. . I just do not see it moving the Video Game Console out to pasture.

        I often hear the claim on these forums that the iPad does ‘less’ than a full blown PC or Mac and that is what makes it so successful.

        I feel the same way about consoles. They do less than than a PC/Mac or the iPad and that is precisely why they have dominated. For gaming they follow the KISS mantra and they just work.

        1. Dude, it doesn’t get any simpler than an iPad. Look at a console’s game controller, look at an iPad.

          If simple is good for gaming, the iPad is king.

        2. You basically have a fundamental lack of understanding the industry you are talking about.

          In the game development industry it does not get any simpler than Xcode for development and a $99 enrollment fee (free if you just do it as an individual) and a 70/30 split of profits. Also, the overhead is minimal if you really want. Good luck with Sony and Microsoft in getting development that simple.

          It is pretty basic that iPhone owners upgrade their phone every year and it is subsidized. This device you have, possibly as well as a lot of your friends, to serve as a phone now can be a console with the purchase of a $99 appleTV. Multiplayer can be as easy as a coding update so two or more people with iPhones can play on an appleTV.

          Any hardware limits appear to be a non issue in future updates. And a fast development cycle isn’t quite a hindrance once this is consciously built into apples development cycle.

          To even muddle the conversation with this talk of PC nonsense just goes to highlight your misunderstanding of the current tech environment.

          1. First you are mixing up two very different pieces of game development assuming there is only one way to code on the 360.

            The stuff you see on the iPad and iPhone would be addressed by XNA Game Studio from Microsoft. $99 a year and you can target Xbox 360, Windows or WinPhone7. I have a friend who has made a mint selling a game he developed on Steam using XNA. It was cheap and simple for him to get started. MS takes nothing from him beyond the $99 a year he paid.

            If you are going to ship a high-end game, that is going to ship on DVD and be on store shelves then yes you are looking at a much larger investment. The rumors I’ve heard is $16-$20 in your pocket per each copy of your game on the 360. The returns must be good because they just keep cranking the stuff out.

            Fast hardware updates ARE a part of the problem. One of the reasons was they got tired of updating their computers to stay current! I was in that boat. Why the hell would I upgrade my machine to play the newest game when my (360 for example) was a one time purchase and it will play any game released for it until they end of life the thing? Its a no brainer and I do not have to dick with my cell phone when its time to game down.

            Same for the development side, as a dev you don’t have to make decisions on what ‘revisions’ of the hardware to support, you don’t have to test on multiple devices either. Every customer has the same hardware with the same capabilities.

            When I say a console is simplified I’m not saying its ‘easier’ to program for, or the controls are simple for every human on the planet. I’m saying that its a device targeted to a specific task.

            the iPhone or the iPod as the controller? SERIOUSLY? So basically a device with no tactical feedback, control layouts that can be different for every game and a steep ass price is the future of gaming after they turn the aTV into a wannabe console?

            The price of an extra iPod sure makes the 360 wireless controller look like the steal of the century at roughly $50!!

            I only bring up the PC nonsense because you sound just like a Microsoft Nerd from the 90s! The iPhone/iPad is going to be this all doing device that is everything you need. That is EXACTLY what everyone said about the PC. I also remember hearing phrases like “The console is finished”… LOL….

            So tell me if this big change is coming, cause I’m an avid gamer, I mean avid. I own every console, game in some way on damn near every device I own…. I LOVE VIDEO GAMES…. if this thing is going to be so great… WHY AM I NOT EXCITED?

            Why does the idea of using an iPad/iPhone/iPad sending video to my aTV make me want to *yawn* ?

            Maybe its because I’ve already played games on these iOS devices and have felt like it just does not live up to the hype.

            Its just another ‘computing’ device that was made to do everything else before being a gaming machine. That is why consoles will still be with us.

            Think about the reasons why everyone on this site claims tablets running full blown windows will fail and then try to see the parallels with your ‘console’ killer theory here. Its right in front of you.

            1. iCal me.

              I’m not going to educate you on the failings of sony’s dev program, nor how you are missing pieces of expense to deving on xna.

              and yea- no one wanted an iphone because it didn’t have a physical keyboard, right?

              I know you love games- it’s utterly obvious in your fickleness. hardcore gamers are the biggest bitchers ever over meaningless details, and never see anything past their personal preferences. much like the comic book guy from the simpsons.

              it’s ok- iCal me. I can no longer be bothered, but will be happy to have your business in the future 😉

  4. It will decades more before the any portable device can play a visually intensive 3D game without affecting battery life.

    An apple tv console can be like an XBOX, ps3 or nintendo. With dedicated games that can be download or played from the ICloud and the iPhone/iPod / IPad as a controller .
    But that said , controllers are old school, Microsoft kinect and Wii are the future.
    Apple will need to create a new sense of controllers eh

    1. Kinect is LAME and Wii is a gimmicky, unprecise POS, and the Wii U looks like a less-capable, smaller-screened, freakin-ugly specialized iPad. I’d like to see some innovation on this area but so far none of the results has surpassed the good old dualshock design. The Move was almost there, but Sony failed in some key areas, like putting that goddamn “Move button” instead of an analog stick.

      1. @lukeskymac

        Are you familiar with the video game industry? Zulkifli is right on. Angry birds is one thing but it’s not halo reach, god of war 3, metal gear solid, NBA 2K11, Sin and Punishment, I mean the list goes on. Not to say there aren’t top notch iOS games they just are call of duty or fallout or even close. I would like to see a real AAA title designed specifically for iOS not a port. Real Racing 2 is close but it does not beat console racers on the 360 or PS3.

        1. The new iOS gaming systems won’t have to beat consoles — they’ll just have to hook a new generation of gamers at ground zero — with a first purchase. Sooner or later, the processing power of these iOS systems will equal consoles and the portability will trump them. By that time, a generation of gamers without consoles wil begin to emerge…

          1. Thats assuming that consoles do not evolve beyond a point.

            The pc was the same way, everyone claimed consoles were done and for a time it appeared to be happening.

            1. Consoles evolve far too slowly. It costs sony and MSFT immense amounts of resources to even develop a console. On top of that- it is far easier to develop for iOS and less expensive. hell- what is the cut sony and msft take? Is it better than 30%?

    2. If the ipad is tied to a networked drive the portability is gone.

      Downloadable games have been with us for years. The shift already happened where its been viable.

  5. it’s not about replacing the full functionality of the x box or the ps3. there’s a large population (most people are not hardcore gamers) that want to play games but don’t want the expense/complication/commitment of a dedicated console. like all of it’s most successful/revolutionary products, apple will redefine the market, and will create a new category of customers. i’ll be one of them.

  6. in your dream. it can’t change gaming experience. console boxes are still dominated, and very popular. plus, you can’t compare with full size of game by portable mini game. as a matter of fact, Apple didn’t encourage people to develop games. they just made a tools to create anything people want. so technically, Apple didn’t change the game at all. people did. in addition, once you play gorgeous PC game or console, you don’t want to play such shitty game in your ipad. it won’t happen to me at least.

  7. One oddity about this assertion is that:

    Apple don’t write games.

    Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft make a pile of their profits specifically from the games they write AND sell for their own hardware systems.

    Apple is far less involved in gaming than suggested here. Apple write APIs that are left entirely to third party developers to use for gaming. The result is a greater incentive for developers as compared with writing for Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft where the hardware developer is also your game software competitor.

    1. Good games sell.

      It really dosen’t matter if sony or ms write for their hardware. If a studio makes a great game its going to sell regardless.

      Halo never stopped grand theft auto from becoming a massive hit

  8. Long time reader 1st time comment

    The idea of a 12 gig(or so on) game being on icloud, so I don’t have to download it and basically eat out my allowance, is a real eye opener!
    I think we are few years away though?

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