Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
September 2, 2014
arrowPress Releases
September 2, 2014
PR Newswire
View All

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:

Analysis: Apple Heading Toward A Gaming Collision Course
Analysis: Apple Heading Toward A Gaming Collision Course
September 1, 2010 | By Christian Nutt

September 1, 2010 | By Christian Nutt
More: Console/PC

[How far will Apple go with its inroads into the gaming market? Gamasutra's Christian Nutt considers the latest evidence, fresh from today's press conference in San Francisco. ]

This morning in San Francisco at a Gamasutra-attended press conference, Apple laid out the plan of attack for its next generation of devices, and while it's clear that the game industry is in its sights, it's not a full-on assault just yet.

It's no secret that Apple considers the iPod Touch a gaming platform -- the company's marketing has made this clear for some time, as have CEO Steve Jobs' comments at previous events. However, with the implementation of its Xbox Live-style Game Center matchmaking and achievements service, the device just leveled up.

The company debuted a new commercial to showcase the newest iteration of the device, which launches next week. There's little doubt that it will be mercilessly marketed throughout the upcoming holiday shopping season.

The commercial focuses on two major improvements to the latest generation Touch: HD video recording and the ability for FaceTime video chat.

The middle third of the commercial, though, focused entirely on games -- and made sure to show Capcom's Street Fighter IV prominently, clearly communicating that the iPod touch is ready for core gamers.

Besides recently becoming the most popular configuration in the entire iPod lineup, the iPod Touch "has become the most popular portable game player in the world," Jobs climed. "The iPod Touch outsells Nintendo and Sony portable game players combined. It has over 50 percent market share for both the U.S. and worldwide."

With Epic Games and Chair Entertainment's Unreal Engine-powered action RPG/multiplayer fighting game, Project Sword, there's a clear drive to attract the same audience that would have until recently thought about buying a PSP. And with Chair the only game developer presenting at Apple's latest event -- no Zynga this time -- that speaks volumes, too.

On stage, Epic president Mike Capps said that Chair has achieved "intricate levels of detail you don't expect to see on a phone device," and -- based on the Epic Citadel demo you can download right now -- he's right.

With the introduction of Game Center, Unreal Engine technology, and the addition of the more powerful A4 processor and slick Retina Display to the Touch, the pieces have fallen into place for iOS to become a serious contender for core gamers' money and time -- and more importantly, it seems that Apple is truly making a play for that.

Apple (Gaming) TV?

Where the company is not quite ready to go, however, is into games on a television. It also revealed the latest iteration of its Apple TV device, which was never a hit in the past -- but the new one is a slick, cheap little box which will allow users to stream rented movies and TV shows and access Netflix and YouTube.

This will eat into console makers' market share only inasmuch as the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii enjoy life as Netflix boxes, which is mostly a secondary use of these devices. Of course, Sony and Microsoft sell video content on PlayStation Network and the Zune Marketplace, which could also be a minor vulnerability.

However, as Mike Capps commented to Gamasutra in our interview immediately following the event, "Right now, I can display from my iPad to my Apple TV on a big screen TV. How far away are we from ,'That's my game console, and it's displaying wirelessly to my television set?' It's not far away."

While Apple is making a more focused play for the living room with its revamped Apple TV, the slightly subtler detail is that the device is tremendously interoperable with the company's other devices -- you can stream pictures, music, and video to the Apple TV from a Mac, and you can also do the same from an iPhone or iPad. The point is: Apple is creating an infrastructure for and a compelling use case around connecting all of its devices together.

This increases the attractiveness of becoming an all-Apple household, of course, but it also invites tremendous speculation about how long we can expect games to be excluded from the party, now that they're such a big, big part of the company's iOS device strategy.

What will that mean? What form will it take? How soon will it come? All unanswerable. But Sony, Nintendo, and even Microsoft are all officially on notice as of today.

Related Jobs

Shiver Entertainment
Shiver Entertainment — Miami, Florida, United States

Gameplay Programmer/Engineer - All Levels
YAGER Development GmbH
YAGER Development GmbH — Berlin, Germany

Visual FX Artist (f/m)
Quantic Dream
Quantic Dream — PARIS, France

Animation Director
Vicarious Visions / Activision
Vicarious Visions / Activision — Albany, New York, United States

VFX Artist-Vicarious Visions


Chris Tarczon
profile image
The idea of displaying a game streamed from your iPad to your Apple TV is possible I guess but a bit off I think. Not because of latency or additional setup (though those wouldn't help) but because the hardware is almost if not totally identical! The specs page confirms it uses an A4 processor and the memory is very likely the same. It's not a wireless display, it's a console! I'd bet almost anything a future update will come enabling the App Store. This would combine the best features of PCs and consoles: annual hardware updates, common architecture, and simple game distribution and installation. Start a game on TV and continue playing on the train with your iPhone. Oh, and the game cost 10 bucks. They just need to figure out how to make a highly (and beneficially) touch-focused OS and it's library work with a remote/controller.

Chan Chun Phang
profile image
Possible. But it's already possible for DS-TV and PSP-TV displays (granted wired). Not entirely new.

Heck, that's partially the whole plan of Windows Phone 7: the integration between phone, XBox, Zune, PC. Unless they come out by this year, Microsoft's going to beat them to the market.

Paul K
profile image
Yes! And I think Apple already has the controllers in place - any iOS mobile device with wifi.

Lo Pan
profile image
Steve, focus on fixing the iPhone 4, then tackle the new cool things.

Oh about that bandwidth you want for all this streaming...the US ain't Korea or Japan with its wireless infrastructure.

Christophe Couderq
profile image
"The iPod Touch outsells Nintendo and Sony portable game players combined."

That's only true for the last few months though. DS+PSP is around 200 million devices, the iPod touch is nowhere near that.

Eric Geer
profile image
Also, I would like to know how many of those iPod Touch devices are being used for gaming--many people just use them for music/photos.

Brad Borne
profile image
I dunno, my wife watches Netflix on my 360 far more than I actually play the thing...

Apps would have been killer for the AppleTV, but how would you control them? I guess devs could still develop for the remote, but you couldn't play games with that thing. Heck, you can barely play games with the touchscreen, though aiming in an FPS feels great, I'll admit...

J Bernard Moore
profile image
I believe iTouch sales were around +/- 32 million in May? Not sure where he comes up with outsells DSi and PSP combined. That number doesn't touch either platform individually? A realistic controller is really needed on any portable as you have limited space to tap around on the Touch. iPad is a bit better but not really portable. Both devices are ok for streaming media but I'd be curious to see if people will migrate to a new gaming platform based purely on Apple's cache.