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The Apple TV needs a gaming update

I posted this originally in Feburary 3, 2010 and I thought with the latest news about gaming controllers (here and here) and some other rumors coming up I would repost it here along with some updated expectations for this year.


The Apple TV needs games. Bad. With Steve Jobs track record of changing entire markets this should be a no brainer. Right now the gaming platforms are undergoing a revolutionary shift in content delivery, in part because of Jobs own App Store. Digital downloads are set to take front stage for all types of content delivery removing the need for a brick and mortar store in each town. Instead a consistant shopping interface will be in every device we own and Apple needs to get in there and transform the Apple TV to a platform that can capitalize on this change. It can no longer be just a “hobby” at Apple’s headquarters, it needs to take front and center.

The pieces of the puzzle are all there. Apple showed it’s latest trick, processor development, and from what everyone has said about the iPad, it’s a winner. New beefier integrated processors could give these other consoles out there a run for their money. Nintendo has already shown that the system does not have to be the system on the market with the highest specs for it to be a top seller. The Wii is outclassed by both of the other guys and they can’t stay on the shelves.

Developers are already in the mix, developing iPhone and now iPad apps at a furious pace. With a bigger processor and much larger resolutions, there is all kinds of thing’s that could be accomplished. The problem I see here is there is already a large segment of developers out there to woo to develop where you are. I don’t think this would be too difficult considering the profit sharing agreements Apple normally negotiates with it’s various partners. What is also exciting is that the entry level here is completely different than with traditional consoles. Indie developers and huge firms both are at a level where they can compete and the quality of games may even improve.

An Apple TV that includes some sort of gaming platform integrated can also take advantages of other hardware, such as an iPad or iPhone and maybe these could be or supplement the controller. Really this would be the most difficult part of the system to get right and the one portion that might also be pulled out of Nintendo’s book, use a “remote” type interface with an accelerometer to provide the controller. This would be one place I would plead Apple from refraining from using a touchscreen. I know it’s their new signature but I feel that unless they could really innovate a way for this to really work simply that the primary interaction has a physical button. Or maybe this is where Apple really innovates and changes things in a big way. There are already patents filed out there akin to this that look to something being in the mix like this.

This is all speculation but it’s something that’s been brewing in the back of my mind the last week or so and I felt like sharing. Also, if you like my idea’s Apple please feel free to use them. Just send me a revamped Apple TV once you’ve got it figured out!


At this point I think this in inevitable. There is no way Apple can carry on without releasing a gaming update to the AppleTV. I’m not sure whether this means it will come in a new iteration of the device with better hardware or require and iPad or iPhone and use AirPlay and just be the reciever. There is still the ever-present TV that Apple will build… One thing is certain, Apple will thrill us with something, or bomb horribly, as is their way.