Apple’s Gaming Platform

It has been said that the new Apple TV will focus on gaming. Already the Apple TV delivers a lot to watch, so if they add a universal search feature so you can look up content across all the channels/apps at once, then all of the sudden the watchable content will have a new lease on life. Gaming will be the all-new feature they can name to add allure to this device.

The trick I see with gaming is how they go about making it an enduring success. Some say Apple needs to compete with gaming consoles. Others say the controller’s design is perhaps the most important detail. Still others are concerned about the entertainment quality of games themselves. Where do you bridge the gap between quick games like Angry Birds, detailed games like Minecraft, and… whatever class Goat Simulator falls under?

I think we’re asking some of the right questions but overlooking the most interesting detail. Apple already built a very successful gaming platform: it’s called iPhone. It already has a huge selection of games with different experiences for gamers to choose from. The games I mentioned above are all on the App Store’s top charts. In fact, most all of the ‘Top Paid iPhone Apps’ are games.

We are having difficulty envisioning what an Apple TV gaming success looks like because of our biases and lack of imagination. Most of us that are gauging what Apple will do to make a desirable game platform are ignoring what Apple has already accomplished. Apple already has a successful game platform that isn’t going anywhere. If you want an idea of what gaming could be like on Apple TV, think about the iPhone’s.

Then take them to the next level (sorry about the pun). The Apple TV will offer players more ways to interact with games. AirPlay? I think AirPlay was just a small taste of what Apple has in store for Apple TV gaming. The experience should be more immersive and flexible—the way that console players like—but will have Apple’s own spin on features.

Will Apple sell games of their own making? There’s almost a 100% chance that they will not.

The one part of the picture that still intrigues and mystifies me is not how the controller will function necessarily but how it will look. Most of Apple’s hardware designs look minimal, professional, and have no nonsense about them. Will the Apple TV controller inspire a sense of excitement? Will it look cool and edgy? Tomorrow we should find out.