Apple TV as an iOS gaming platform not likely or something

“Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, long-time Apple TV proponent, believes that it is it’s not a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’ Apple will release a television,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for Forbes. “I’ve talked at length about how I just don’t see how a TV fits into Apple’s future, so rather than cover that same old ground I want to pick up on a specific point made by Munster.”

“That point is in relation to Apple’s App Store and games. Munster believes that Apple’s television will allow users to download games, music and other content to their TV. He believes that gaming in particular will be of particular interest to the large group of iOS game developers,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “Immediate, I can see several problems with this idea.”

Kingsley-Hughes writes, “The first is that I can’t see a way for existing games aimed at the iPhone and iPad will work on a television. Think about it, the iPhone and iPad are touch devices, and it’s hard to replicate touch in a controller, especially if it is a multi-touch gesture made up of several fingers. I can’t see how even a game like Angry Birds in its current iOS configuration wouldn’t work on a television unless it had a touch screen.”

MacDailyNews Take: We do it often (AirPlay Mirroring). As anyone who’s actually used AirPlay Mirroring can tell you, using the iPad’s touchscreen while looking at the TV works just fine for simple games like Angry Birds.

Full article here.


  1. the second airplay mirroring was announced it sealed the fact video games console makers had she new serious competition. the tech is still a bit young, but given a little bit more time and it will be ready for prime time. There is a lot of creativity that can go into using the hardware beyond just mirroring what you are touching on the iPad. you also have a gyroscope as swell as accelerometer 😉

  2. It would seem to be a huge waste if Apple doesn’t make more use of Apple TV and turn it into at least some sort of gaming console. Even Roku has a version of a box that can play Angry Birds. With iOS’s vast library of inexpensive games, why not allow Apple TV to play them. With an upgrade of processor the Apple TV should make Apple a bit more money from game downloads. However, I’m certain Apple will only allow game downloading to their mobile products because that’s where the real money is. Besides, Apple would then have to develop a game controller for Apple TV with all the necessary sensors and I don’t think they’d go that far.

  3. The only thing that doesn’t work via AirPlay is the first person shooter. The FPS is hampered on iOS because of the inability of the player to identify the controls by feel while looking at the TV.

    In fact, Angry Birds would be easy to play by making the input more tolerant of where the finger first pulls back the sling shot in the touch device.

    What really needs to happen is for Apple to bundle a controller, touch or otherwise with the Apple TV.

  4. Given the distance usually between a viewer and television set, I would think Apple would implement things differently than an iPad or iPhone.

    Time has proven with games that the joystick is a winning interface for the medium. Apple could include a killer joytick with real buttons and gyros, etc, along with a seperate remote. Or perhaps they will combine the two (which I detest… I imagine there would need to be compromises for both the remote and controller in that scenario.)

    If Apple makes a joystick early on, developers can get on the bandwagon with it and design their games for such equipment.

    Siri could also be used for unique non-traditional gaming.

  5. Does Kingsley-Hughes really think that developers wouldn’t be interested if Apple puts the pieces in place to make AppleTV a legitimate gaming platform? Sure some applications would have to be modified, but so what? The learning curve for experienced iOS developers would pretty much be nonexistent. If there is money to be made (and there certainly is), the developers will create the games (or modify existing ones).

  6. I’m not a gamer, so I don’t have a dog in this fight. But the solution seems obvious; license either the Wii controller or MS Kinect. Throw Siri into the mix and watch those devs go wild.

  7. I think certain games could work great on an aTV. Without a physical controller and the storage for large modern games I don’t see it taking on the traditional console market but that is OK and more gaming options can only be a good thing.

    1. Yes, he has little imagination. This is how Apple can and should do it. No “LSD” required… 🙂

      For playing games (on an Apple TV’s HDTV screen), you make Apple TV (and any upcoming TV product from Apple) into an extension of iPad and iPhone (and also iPod touch). You don’t create another separate app store and ecosystem.

      Apple can enhance AirPlay to add a new “AirPlay mode” for apps, which developers can support (in much the same way they added support for the Retina Display when it was released on iPhone and iPad). The app (game) works in “regular mode” normally, but when AirPlay mode is enabled, the app sends its video output to the HDTV screen through the Apple TV. The Apple TV then does most of the video processing work to show the app on the HDTV screen. The iOS device (iPad/iPhone) screen becomes a custom touch remote control, designed specifically (by the developer) for that app.

      This is not simple mirroring that you can do now. HDTV screen is using its full 1080p resolution, using a different app design that does not require touching the screen directly. The iOS device screen is only acting as remote control, designed to minimize the need to look at it while using the app.

      Technically, this approach solves several problems being mentioned. First, there is no need to have a separate fancy touch-based remote control that comes with Apple TV; the iOS device (that the user must have to use AirPlay mode) is there to become the remote control. Second, there is no need for the Apple TV to have its own local storage, because the iOS device (in addition to being the remote control) acts as the data storage. Third, the Apple TV is doing the video processing work; the app is NOT rendering the screen on the iOS device and sending it frame-by-frame to the Apple TV over the network. So even the old (but still sold-as-new) iPhone 3GS (with its pre-A4 processor, lower system RAM, and slower 802.112g WiFi) could be fully supported. And it preserves battery power on the iOS device.

      Non-technical advantages: No need to set up a separate app store, just for Apple TV apps. The apps with AirPlay mode work as regular apps on iPad and iPhone (if no Apple TV is present), so the potential audience for developers is the entire user base of iPad and iPhone (and also iPod touch), not just Apple TV owners. Plus this feature creates instant demand by making Apple TV (and any upcoming “iTV”) into a “must have” enhancement for the entire user base of iOS device owners. Conversely, it makes iPad and iPhone even more attractive and distinctive versus the smartphone and tablet competition, who will have no viable way to copy it.

  8. Too little too late Apple.

    iTunes will soon lose ground to the competition.
    Netflix is ranking higher approvals – the customers are loving it. In the next realm of big changes the arena is cable vs internet… Apple TV just isn’t in the game to compete and iTunes just ain’t the bargain folks want.

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