Apple touts its iPod Touch as "the most popular game player in the world," but today, some are wondering if Apple would ever consider going beyond. Back in 1995, Apple and Bandai jointly released the "Pippin" console in Japan, and quickly drowned in the competition from PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Sega Saturn. This was during the dark ages of Apple, before Steve Jobs made his comeback in 1997 and turned the company around.
16 years later, we have a completely different Apple. The new Apple has since dominated markets, moved industries, and achieved things no one else has. If Apple went ahead and decided to challenge the big 3 (Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony) in the game console wars, would it even stand a chance? Let's take a look...
What Apple has going for itself:
- Experience: Years of experience creating and evolving iOS and Apple TV, which could be adapted into a game console OS.
- Developers: Enormous loyal developer base, ranging from gaming powerhouses like EA, CAPCOM, SEGA, Activision, and mobile game makers such as PopCap, Rovio Mobile, and Gameloft.
- iCloud: A brand new cloud platform (yet to be battle tested) for game downloads, synching content, multiplayer interactivity.
- Userbase: 200 million iOS devices sold, ready to be used as "controllers," should Apple decide against a separate input device.
- App Store: The App Store proved itself on iOS, and more recently on Mac OS X. The same platform can be used to sell and deliver games on the console.
The Apple TV is the only link Apple has to the living room. Instead of launching a new product line, which Apple doesn't do often, they can "evolve" the Apple TV to be that game console. Imagine an Apple TV loaded with a customized Cortex-A9 processor, fantastic graphics, and your complementary iDevice as the controller.
Buttons! Ahhh, buttons. We all know Apple hates buttons, so how can they have a competitive game console if your only input device is an iPhone or an iPad? To me, the answer is simple... 3rd party accessories! In addition to your iDevice acting as the controller, Apple can license 3rd party manufacturers to create input devices... with BUTTONS! This is pure win for everyone, if you ask me! They would be pulling a page right out of Nintendo's playbook.
Apple already has the perfect recipe to make the jump into the console gaming world, but the big question here is, what would they bring to the table that isn't already there? Something innovative, perhaps, but not just a unique controller... unless it happens to be mind-powered.
So, does Apple stand a chance? You tell me in the comments below!
UPDATE 7-02-11: Frank from SliceOfMyMind.com felt so strongly about my ideas that he wrote a formal response: Could Apple be a contender in the console market? I don't particularly agree with his 1st and 4th point, but the other points are highly debatable. What do you think?