Oh, no Microsoft and Sony. The sky is falling. Apple TV may have a gaming twist. Wait, there was another tech company that promised to push out the old guard of consoles like the Xbox and Playstation. Oh yeah, Amazon.
How did that work out again? I know I’m not firing up Madden on my Amazon Fire TV.
But it’s Apple. All things shiny and in need of a product to pitch. Everyone will buy a phone, but what can make the masses want an Apple TV? Well, common sense says a suite of programming that enables users to disconnect from their cable or satellite subscription.
Whoa, a product with TV in the name offering TV channels? We have to be outside the box. Disruptive. How about games? And cue the posts about how Apple is wanting to challenge Sony and Microsoft for supremacy in the living room for games.
Speaking to the New York Times, Jan Dawson, chief analysts at Jackdaw Research, expanded on Apple’s potential.
“I think Apple’s going to create a big new category in gaming, one that others have tried and failed to create before.”
“What the Apple TV has the potential to do is to bring casual gaming to the living room and make it a much more social activity.”
Right, because Clash of Clans is a social game. Of course this ignores the lifecycle of Nintendo, the true social gaming platform. Remember the Wii? Think they can’t replicate that success again?
The company always lays a regular egg after its golden one. Guess which cycle we are approaching? Yep, the hosts of Good Morning America doing something so head-shakingly ignorant, you can’t help but go out and buy Nintendo’s newest money printer.
Should Microsoft and Sony Worry?
No. The latest Apple TV is rumored to be priced at $150. Sure, that’s double the cost of the old Apple TV, but under the costs of traditional consoles. Depending on the configuration, Xbox Ones and PS4s start in the $300 range and top out at $500.
Let’s be generous and say Apple is making a play at the gaming market, margins be damned. The company won’t, but for the sake of argument. Can they compete? It’s simply not feasible with the footprint of the box and the cost. It would have to be the size of a PS4 to stuff enough graphical horsepower to match parity.
The iPhone is just getting 2GB of RAM in the 6S update. The PS4? It rocks 8GB, multi-core processors and a GPU. I don’t care how much Metal makes everything play nice in iOS 9 and El Capitan, Call of Duty ain’t happening on an Apple TV.
Steve Perlman, an old Apple employee and founder of WebTV, dismisses the consoles. “These are very big, clunky devices. They’ve got fans, big power supplies.”
Really? We are walking around with the equivalent HDTVs in our pocket. I don’t think people care the Xbox One has fans. It has Halo 5. Oh shit, we got to plug it in? So this lightning connector is just for show for my 6 Plus? I can throw it away?
Apple Wants Cash
Ignore the articles and posts about the impending doom to console makers. They said the same thing about PCs. Want to know how that turned out? More people watch League of Legends tournaments than most of the programming on NBC.
What does Apple want? Extensibility. They don’t give a damn about taking on Xbox or PS4. Not yet. They just want their box next to your TV. How do they do that? Well, most of you aren’t letting your kids play marathons of Call of Duty.
You are letting them go to town on Minecraft. And there lies the entry point. Apple TV has a controller with Siri based commands. Now, if the company can convince app makers to upscale their games to the big screen, there’s a captive audience waiting.
The way to win the living room isn’t through older America or the millennials. Nope. Slap some rose gold paint on a phone and call that a day. My generation and older is easy.
Apple targets the kids. The true tastemakers of who wins the battle in the living room. Just a word of caution. When they see the commercials for EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront, Siri will be left in an uncomfortable position. It will have to explain why the $150 hockey puck can only run the games junior was playing coming home from school.
And for those ‘casual gamers’ out there. You are part of a $75 billion market. Consoles account for $27 billion. When you make up two-thirds of a vertical, you’re not causal. Embrace the fact we are all gamers.
Apple has the cash pile to make a play. The question is, does the company care at this point? That answer seems to be no. It takes its 30 percent and adds to its cash pile.
Why the wait? No one knows, but if I was Netflix, Sony, Microsoft and most tech companies, I’d start sweating about right now. The 2015 Apple TV isn’t destined to compete with you yet. But when there’s a $200 billion cash hoard in the room? Every flank a company thinks it shored up can and will collapse.