The Apple TV could save the console game industry
With the new TvOS platform, casual gamers could be enticed back to the living room
In his quick round-up of yesterday's Apple event, famed Apple blogger John Gruber described the new Apple TV as "the most disruptive product from Apple since the iPhone". I'm not sure about that, but I do believe the device might just save the idea of gaming in the living room.
Previous versions of the Apple TV were nothing to get too excited about. The device provided a way for users to play movies and TV shows from their iTunes libraries on the TV, as well as stream from the likes of Netflix and Hulu. It was low-powered, and it was just a set top box. But the new device makes for a much more interesting proposition.
For one thing, the hardware has been much improved. The box features the A8 chip, as well as a new, voice-controlled remote, dubbed the Siri Remote. The remote is also a motion sensor, so you can also think of it as similar to the remote control for the Nintendo Wii games console.
On the software side of things, you get an updated user interface, which reportedly works great with the new remote. Underneath it all is a new operating system, dubbed TvOS, which comes with a new SDK for third-party developers to create apps designed from the ground up for the living room. Apple doesn't want developers to simply port their iPad or iPhone apps to the TV - the idea is that it's a completely different experience altogether.
The first and most obvious application for TvOS SDK will be games - specifically, casual games. This is the market that Nintendo capitalised on so efficiently with the release of the Wii all those years ago. The market faded quickly, though, as soon as smartphones became the norm - suddenly, all the casual gamers were playing Candy Crush and Trivia Crack on their phones, and couldn't see the value in buying a standalone console.
With the Apple TV, though, casual gaming could be brought back into the living room. Serious gamers know full-well that the gaming experience is far more immersive and impressive on a full-size TV than it is on a handheld device. We like handheld devices for some games, sure, but other games are just better in full-screen brilliance.
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