Editorial by Elliot Bentley

Forget E3: The true megaton will be the "Apple console"

Forget E3: The true megaton will be the "Apple console"

I think we're all in agreement that E3 has been a disappointment yet again, with unbelievably boring conferences and only a few genuinely new and exciting announcements. And even among those, there have been no 'megatons', no reveals which have fanboys punching in the air and competitors shaking in their boots.

Next Monday, however, it won't be Iwata or Don Mattrick or Kazuo Hirai who will be 'dropping da bomb': it'll be Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. Industry pundits are predicting the launch of a next-generation Apple TV at their annual developer conference WWDC. Its killer feature? An App Store.

You may not have heard of the Apple TV: it's basically just a set-top box designed to stream iTunes content. Always described by Steve Jobs as "a hobby", it has never been aggressively marketed or, it has to be said, massively successful.

The introduction of an App Store, though, changes it entirely: from a simple video-streaming device to a machine with the potential to rival the current home consoles; an Apple console, if you will.

I hardly have to remind you of the impact that the iPhone and iPod touch have had on portable gaming. Since the launch of the DS and PSP, Apple have disrupted the portable gaming landscape to such an extent that the 3DS and PSVita have struggled (at least initially) for traction.

Imagine, then, a fairly powerful Apple device plugged into your TV with a similar breadth of content to the existing iOS App Store. Indie developers would finally be on par with big publishers, with no elitist quality control; the price of games would race to the bottom; and physical retail would be non-existent. After all, why would you buy a new game for £40 when you could buy 40 smaller ones for the same cost, without even leaving your sofa?

The implications for the industry, especially big AAA titles, are massive and somewhat terrifying. Yet I think there may always be a place for dedicated games consoles, even as a niche: after all, the Apple TV probably won't have a dedicated hardware controller (some speculating it will use existing iOS devices as a remote, Xbox Glass-style), making it unsuitable for traditionally-designed games.

It's all rumours, of course, and we may end up being disappointed. But I hope Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony have got their seat belts fastened, because I have a feeling the console industry is about to violently swerve in a new and rather scary direction.

Oh yeah, and one more thing… the Apple TV currently only costs $99, making it cheaper than any current-gen consoles, and undoubtedly next-gen ones too. Now that's what I call a megaton.

Elliot Bentley is a VOG Staff Writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @elliot_bentley

Editorial by - 6/8/2012 11:18 AM184 views

Comments

LOKI
LOKI
6/8/2012 11:34 AM

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I don't think Apple will even try to release a console. The reason being is that they're too damn smug. They believe tablets are the form factor of the future. The only thing they want from Apple Tv is customers consuming itunes content: TV, movies, and music.
act_deft
act_deft
6/9/2012 7:20 PM

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Though with Apple TV, it is plausible. I mean, they already have the hardware, they just need to update it so it can work with it and maybe they can use their iOS devices as controllers (kinda like Nintendo is doing with the WiiU).

So while you may think Apple is too smug to do it, you have to admit it's more likeable than you may think.
TigerClaw
TigerClaw
6/8/2012 1:41 PM

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I could totally see Apple release a next gen version of the Apple TV with a controller of some sort, then they port all Ipad Games to work on it or they make versions that takes advantage of it.
vandalous
vandalous
6/8/2012 10:23 PM

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The Apple TV is an accessory for the iPad but if they do come out with a decent app store for it, I can see why it would be alluring. I love the screen sharing functionality that I can do with an Apple TV and iPad.
Auspher
Auspher
6/9/2012 9:58 AM

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Apple shot down the idea of having their own gaming console. They're not interested in the console gaming market. You can read about it here: http://www.gamespot.com/news/apple-not-interested-in-console-business-6379012

Why would they even need a console when they sell so many gaming apps in their App Store? Not saying I wouldn't prefer console gaming from them, but they simply don't have a reason to change what they're doing.
E____B
E____B
6/9/2012 12:47 PM

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I guess I should have been a little clearer - the Apple TV probably won't be marketed explicitly as a console, the same way the iPod isn't marketed explicitly as a handheld console (at least not initially). I suppose you could describe it more as a trojan horse than a full-on offensive.
d5t
d5t
6/9/2012 4:15 PM

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Long live Roku.
TigerClaw
TigerClaw
6/11/2012 6:37 PM

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Apple had there announcement earlier today and they announce some new Macbooks, One in particular will have a Geforce GT 650M and it will be able to run games like Diablo 3 or The Witcher 2
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