Is Apple TV a gaming console killer?

“Now that the new Apple TV promises gaming capabilities, some wonder if the set-top box could become a real contender in the video game market,” Don Reisinger reports for Fortune.

“While Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the Apple TV represents the ‘future of television,’ his company’s show-and-tell session dedicated a large chunk of its time to the device’s gaming capabilities,” Reisinger reports. “The Apple TV will run games such as Galaxy On Fire, Rayman Adventures, and ‘even games that [had] only been available on consoles, like the new Disney Star Wars game, called Disney Infinity,’ said Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice-president, Internet software and services, during the company’s presentation. In addition, Cue also added that game publisher Activision would also bring its latest Guitar Hero to the Apple TV.”

Nimbus SteelSeries Controller for Apple TV
Nimbus SteelSeries Controller for Apple TV
“Apple’s new focus on gaming may cause some to question whether it’s gunning for console makers and if those companies should be worried,” Reisinger reports. ‘Apple TV isn’t that different or special. [Apple TV is] not making a dent in games,’ says Michael Pachter, senior analyst at Wedbush Securities… James McQuivey, Ph.D., vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, agrees with Pachter’s sentiment, saying that the Apple TV is ‘too little, too late.’ ‘Sony and Microsoft have both sold more than 30 million of their new consoles and counting,’ says McQuivey. ‘For Apple to hurt them, it would have to sell at least 20 million units in a year, which it won’t do. Even if Apple TV is in 20 million homes by the end of 2016, by that time, both Sony and Microsoft will be in over 50 million homes each.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: McQuivey’s “analysis” assumes people will continue buying consoles at the same rate as before the new Apple TV. That is faulty analysis.

New Apple TV supports console-style MFi game controllers – September 9, 2015
Apple unveils the all-new Apple TV with Siri Remote, tvOS, and Apple TV App Store – September 9, 2015


  1. How many times have we heard this line before. “Apple is too late with this product.” Let’s review shall we.
    iTunes Store
    MacBook Air
    And so on. Add the latest generation Apple TV to this list.
    The doubters never learn do they.

    1. Indeed what they fail to understand is that those 2 console makers are having shift those millions to make any real profit at all (if at all). Even a 5 to 10% impact on them would affect their profitability, if it gets much more than that then they are going to seriously struggle to sustain a profitable platform considering all the massive investment in it. Apples platform on the other hand is considerably more profitable and does not to have to compete with them face to face. Sounds rather similar to what has been happening in the PC business to be honest, by taking a growing but numerically minor overall share they are squeezing most of the profit out of the market for others and forcing them to reduce the profitability or their traditional income streams. Seems win win to me.

  2. The press always like to make a big story like the gaming console killer, or iPhone killers. The reality is that more than one can co-exist and they can both serve different segments of the market.

    Apple TV doesn’t need to kill the game console market, it just needs to become a profitable business which finds it’s own niche.

  3. The prince point for AppleTV is just too attractive not to gain mass attention. We plan to get one and will soon find out whether or not it is a capable gaming platform. If it is, it will be a huge hit and both Sony and Microsoft are in trouble.

  4. Gaming console killer?

    Maybe not – it’s a Wii killer for sure. I am promoting it as a replacement for the Wii and satellite TV. Best case scenario, it will damage the game consoles by absorbing the casual gammer.

    When considering Xbox and Playstation, these machines have serious chops and exclusive deals on some of the best games out there.

    I see a shift though. The consoles will get more expensive as they cater to a more professional dedicated gamer. The console will become more hard core, whereas the Apple TV will take up the living room space for family get togethers and casual fun.

    1. i couldn’t agree with you more…

      I’ll get a new Apple TV, but the only thing it’s replacing is my current Apple TV. Until the Apple TV can run games such as Fallout 4 with the same quality as PS4 or Xbox One, it’s not killing the current dedicated gaming consoles anytime soon.

    2. Apple TV will easily kill Wii Sports (stuff like bowling, tennis, skiing, etc.) and maybe even Wii Fit, but if you want to play Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Mario Kart, etc., you’re not going to be able to do that on an AppleTV. As long has Nintendo keeps its monopoly on its IP and keeps turning out quality first-party exclusive titles, there will always be a place for a Nintendo console in the world’s living rooms, even if it’s not a Wii. But as for casual motion-based arm-swinging and controller-tilting games, I think Apple TV is going to completely dominate that segment. Those are the kinds of casual impulse party games people want to buy from an App Store, not on disk from Amazon or Gamestop.

    3. Nintendo is definitely in trouble. The iPhone has hurt the GameBoy from the beginning of the App Store. Now with Apple TV Wii will face the same problem, especially with universal games. Buy one game, start playing on iPhone, go to Apple TV pick up where you are, then finish game on iPad. That is something Nintendo can’t do, even Sony. Microsoft could, but they would have to start selling their phones. MS and Sony have a strong fan base that Apple won’t take any time soon. What Apple may do is keep them from growing their fan base beyond what it is.

  5. It probably will be a console-killer for my gamer wife. She was a console gamer until the various consoles stopped releasing the kinds of games she likes. Now she does most of her gaming on her iPad and iPhone. If the Apple TV’s gaming selection is similar, which I would expect it to be, I’ll expect to see much Apple TV gaming going on in our house.


  6. It will be interesting to see what it can do in terms of graphics, which aren’t the end-all-be-all of a good game by any stretch. However, more powerful hardware and prettier/more realistic renderings provide the whiz bang for many people and justify the occasional upgrade to a new system.

    I agree that Apple doesn’t need to be the most powerful platform in terms of processing, not at all. However, iPad/iPhone/touch graphics are “tolerated” because they provide mobility. Once a device is attached to a stationary large screen like a television the expectations for what a good system looks like changes in the minds of most video game players.

    I’m curious what the system can do and if it can come close enough for people to take it seriously as console replacement or if the game aspects will actually be ignored by most of the users. Not skeptical here, just curious.

  7. Sure the console makers are worried like Ferrari is sweating the Camaro.

    I think there will be a lot of fun games on the aTV as nd I may well end up doing some gaming on it. It’ll be sitting right next to my PS4 caise there is a level of quality and gaming on the PS4 that will keep me as a customer.

    1. Exactly. People who think it’s going to jump in and eradicate the competition know nothing about the market. The Apple TV may have an impact at some point in the future, but we’re a long way from that right now.

      1. I don’t think either of you is right.

        Apple TV will cause the ‘hard-core’ console platforms to significantly contract.

        Today, if you want to play video games on your TV, you have to buy a console (MS, Sony, Nintendo). They are one of the top ten holiday gifts each year, and out of those 30 million, probably 28M are sold to casual gamers who just want to be able to play a video game on their living room TV. They pick the platform often at random, of based on some (often biased) advice. The remaining 1 – 2 million are ‘educated’ gamers, who researched their purchase and chose the platform for specific reasons. They are invested in their device and may make more of an effort to choose games they play, and perhaps even spend some regular time playing them. And a small percentage of that group are ‘hard core’ gamers, who consider it a hobby, dedicate a lot of time to gaming and for whom the platform (and game) choice is a very careful decision.

        Apple TV has a chance of poaching those 28 million customers very easily. As a cheaper ‘gaming’ platform with built-in Siri, it is extremely intriguing and attractive.

        No hard-core gamer will ever abandon those ‘hard-core’ platforms. However, when ‘soft-core’ (casual) gamers move away and the competitor drives the sales down dramatically, the only thing that can keep those hard-core platforms in business is drastic improvement of profit margins, both for the consoles, as well as games. Would hard-core gamers be willing to shell out $900 for the console and $250 per game? If yes, then the future of their preferred gaming platform(s) is safe; otherwise, they will be disappointed by the turn of events.

        1. That is already the reality of the market. There are a number of micro consoles out there including one from Sony that handles PS Vita games. They even have app stores.

          I can play games right now on my Roku. My kids used to play a lot of angry birds on it and a few other games.

          They both gravitated to the deeper gameplay of the 360 and now the PS4. I can buy indie titles and all the good cheap games on any of the console app stores also. If a mobile designed game is good it just gets ported up the chain. That can’t be said for the reverse direction, I won’t be playing Fallout 4 or the next Elder Scrolls on the aTV or any micro consoles.

          They could release some truly unique content with motion controls and gain real traction, but even that has been done and we know that full consoles can live just fine through that kind of shift.

          I’ve played darn near every handheld out there and micro console available. Backed the Ouya android console and have been into this stuff since the 1970s. Still have an Atari 2600 and a few full size Arcade games in my garage.

          All of it can co-exist and it has for years. Micro consoles have a place and they are not capable of doing high damage to traditional consoles, if anything they end up augmenting them and/or become a gateway drug.

          I’ve seen this play out many times over the years.

          1. You may be right in that there may be some consoles out there that can download titles from their app stores. The problem with those is that nobody knows about them, so nobody really bothers developing for them.

            iOS has effectively decimated the market for hand-held consoles (PSP, DS, etc). The sheer number of developers on iOS literally guarantees the same fate for the living room consoles.

            You obviously fall squarely into the category of hard-core gamers. This is skewing your perspective a bit; ordinary folks simply don’t know much about Fallout or Elder Scroll, or whichever titles are ‘hard core’ today for the consoles.

            When the only practical way to play a game on your TV was Sony/MS/Nintendo, people bought one of those. Now that they can choose Apple TV as well, they will.

            Neither of us can for sure predict the outcome, so we’ll have to wait and see. I would expect the new Apple TV to outsell all other digital streaming boxes combined (not too difficult), as well as all ‘hard-core’ game consoles combined (a bit more difficult) by the end of next year (2016).

            And if that happens, Nintendo, MS and Sony are in trouble.

            1. Every console on the market has an app store . You can buy retail games as downloads from Sony, MS and Nintendo and there is a ton of 3rd party content and indie games. Prices range from $1 for cheap indie stuff up to $60 for a high end triple A title.

              If tvOS brings nothing but ports of iOS games I don’t see consoles going anywhere. None of them have offered anything to date that is capable of.displacing dedicated game consoles and I have lost count of how many times I thought product X or Y was going to be the end of the console.

              I think it will end up a lot like the Roku right now, which is a great product but its no console killer. It’s what you use to play angry birds if you don’t already have a PS4.

            2. The console guys are in trouble, and sweating, like mobile phone companies were when the iPhone came out…

              here is why:

              Fallout or Elder Scroll, or whichever titles are ‘hard core’ today for the consoles will be on iOS tomorrow and in a bit of time will run better in a real sense (not numbers on a spec sheet, but observable performance)

              Don’t forget, graphics is Apple’s deepest root, hence Metal, which removes most of the barrier between the hardware and the software, and of course, vice-verse

              iCal that!

      2. “Responding to questions from New York Times correspondent John Markoff at a Churchill Club breakfast gathering Thursday morning, Colligan laughed off the idea that any company — including the wildly popular Apple Computer — could easily win customers in the finicky smart-phone sector.

        “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,” he said. “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

        METAL is the way to make an iOS device do amazing things with performance on what might seem like minimal hardware on the outside…

        take away all the cruft from making a software shoe fit a thousand different hardware feet, and you can imagine a sprinter vs. a clown in the apple vs. other space of any discipline

        Mark my word, or you will continue to sound like a CEO of Palm as you drift into obsolescence

        1. Though I agree that Mac/iOS vs PC in gaming does handicap the PC with differing HW configurations, this does not hold true for Xbox or the Playstation which are like Apple:s devices in that the games written for them are written specifically for a single (or very narrow) range of HW platform. Since Xbox/PS/iOS are very even in this respect I find it difficult to believe iOS will make either of the other 2 dedicated platforms obsolete.

    1. and they can come out with new software that unleashes power not foreseen by users or the engineers, FOR FREE AND FOR YEARS !!!, as the other iOS devices have seen, with my iPhone 5s on the latest beta of iOS 9

    1. yeah, real gamers spend thousands of dollars on their rig, upgrading it all the time, they need a system that is flexible and can accommodate lots of hardware options, and be upgradable to the latest operating system, and have multiple development platforms for third party offerings

      most just want to play angry birds

      steroids are not needed for a walk in the park, or even a serious hike

      heck i don’t use steroids and i carry a 50 lb pack on 15 day backcountry mountaineering trips, climbing 12,000 foot peaks and all,

      Gaming should be viewed as such and rated as such

      if you are doing full rendering for human like movement where the twitches in the individual muscles are as subtile as in reality, then go full monty and get a gaming computer, if you need to play the games in relative depth, get a console, if you want to play and don’t care about artifacts (most peoples attention span is NOT 10ms) then get one of the myriad devices that offer fun and excitement

      Apple TV is one that does it for VERY CHEAP compared to all of the others in these ways

      FREE iOS software updates to the n^th degree
      Expanding capabilities due to upgrades (see above)
      HUGE developer base for (insert category) App software
      Expanding developer base for App software (see all above)
      volume of apps sold allows them to be less expensive

      and… on and on i go, some of which is still to be seen just like the iPhone made some wrong….

      Mark my words or you will continue to sound like the CEO of a once thriving phone company like Palm

  8. Is Apple TV a gaming console killer?

    NO. Why is anyone suggesting it would be?

    HOWEVER: How kewl that Apple is at long bloody last allowing iOS (tvOS, whatever) gaming on the TV?! About time! AND Apple added some (not all) gaming functionality into the remote right out of the box.

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