I’ve covered a lot of Apple products in the last week, like CarPlay and the new iPhone screens. Jared talked about the AppleTV in his blog post a week ago, even mentioning the topic of my post today, gaming. Here is what he said:
Look for gaming to be an added feature. Candy Crush on a 50 inch HD screen! Use your iPad or iPhone as a controller as the game plays on your TV.
There have been many reports Apple TV gaming in the last few weeks, like this one, this one, this one and this one. If you don’t have time to click on those non-descriptive links, they all hint to Apple adding a gaming sector to their living room set-top box. I’ve owned a console during every generation since 1995, when I had a Super Nintendo system towards the end of it’s run. I got the N64 for Christmas, had a Sega Genesis, a Dreamcast (albeit late in it’s doomed tenure), a PS2, a PS3 and an XBOX 360 (I never had an original XBOX because I was still a Nintendo-fanboy).
I owned a Wii near launch and played it for awhile. I thought the Wii was revolutionary and fun. It came out when I was in college, so a case of beer can make any simple WiiSports game fun. Nintendo’s next attempt, the WiiU, fell short for me. I didn’t understand the controller with the screen and there were no games that made me have to buy it. That, coupled with the fact that Nintendo has fallen behind as far as tech goes, and I am probably never going to own the U.
But if all can be believed about Apple’s movement towards gaming on their next TV device, I will be the first in line. I don’t need 120fps rates or even “life-like” graphics, but instead like story lines and gameplay. I am a devotee to the Zelda series and the Ocarina of Time iteration remains as my favorite video game of all time. I think I’ve run through it a dozen times. The first time through, I made it a three-mont affair, grabbing all the available tools and weapons, while finishing all of the side quests.
Why do I think Apple’s gaming sector will bring back these feelings? Well, there is Pixar, which will always be connected to Apple as they share the same c0-founder. There is also Disney, also connected to Cupertino by way of stock ownership and similarities of Boards. These two companies, Pixar and Disney, have been crafting eloquent stories for the better part of two decades. While primarily geared for children, the deft understanding of plot and character building, something by which great games are made, is abundant amongst the creative staffs of both.
Finally, I think that Apple is smart regarding content. The App Store is chock full of gaming choices, I would argue that it is too full. Candy Crush clones and games with the word “Flappy” in them are plentiful, and weaving through all of the bad choices can be painstaking. There are 1.5 million apps in the App Store, far too many if they were all games.
I don’t think this will be the direction that the Apple TV goes in. I’m not going to say that indie developers will be held out, I just think there will be a larger fee associated with submitting a game. This should limit the choice, but enhance the quality. And when it comes to competing with Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo on console gaming, a fight that I believe Apple wants, quality will be key.
After all this, I’m secretly hoping that we’ll start seeing back catalog games on a new Apple TV. I’d love to play Ocarina of Time again, on my 50-inch flat screen and will gladly pay $10 or so for the opportunity to do this. The question is how will this come about and will content providers play ball? It is the same fight that always seems to exist with Apple. They can build it, but will it be supported.
Luckily, AAPL usually wins.