EA VP thinks Apple has it in them to take on the big console boys like Nintendo and Sony

Wed, Dec 8, 2010


Never a company enthusiastic about gaming, the success of the iTunes App Store has thrust Apple into the forefront of mobile gaming. Oddly enough, for some young users, Apple is essentially and solely a gaming type of company. While Apple is obviously much more than that, the popularity of gaming on the iPhone, iPod, and iPad has taken a very real bite out of the marketshare of traditional gaming companies like Sony and Nintendo.

This past August, for example, Nintendo posted its first quarterly loss in two years as a result of lackluster Nintendo DS sales, a dynamic which many attribute to the iPod Touch. And as Nintendo and Sony struggle to maintain their marketshare and revenue streams, Apple’s share of US gaming revenue continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

As a result, it’s inevitable for people to wonder just how far into gaming Apple will go. Will it decide to make a real run at the big dogs – most likely by integrating an app store into the Apple TV?

Sure, it sounds somewhat far off at this stage of the game, but EA VP Patrick Soderlund thinks Apple certainly has a fighting chance at actually giving devices like the Wii and PS 3 a run for their money.

Speaking to CVG, Soderlund explains, “If it was anyone but Apple, I’d say that’s going to be very hard. I still think it’s going to be extremely hard for them but they’ve surprised many people before. Look at what they did with the iPhone, right? They are a truly brilliant company so I would give them a relatively good chance to succeed if they tried.”

Of course, it takes a helluva lot more than the blessing of an EA VP to really think Apple has the wherewithal to really take over the living room. Still, Apple seems to be taking short but measured steps to completely integrate its line of iOS devices with living room hardware. To wit, witness the immense popularity of AirPlay which was one of the more anticipated features in the recently released iOS 4.2 update.

Building on that, the video below showcases an iPhone game being streamed to an iPad and displayed on an HDTV via a VGA adapter, enabling users to use their iPhone as a game controller. Now that’s cool as hell, and we can’t even lie – the prospect of playing X2 Football on an HDTV is tantalizing. Sure, it may not compare with FIFA 2010 on a console, but the unbridled success of the iPod Touch and its brethren drives home the point that for most consumers, casual gaming is what interests them most. And for a company like Apple, who has arguably resisted gaming at every turn, that’s an ideal scenario.

But lest you think we’re all up on the “Apple is a gaming behemoth!” bandwagon, we opined back in 2009 why the Apple TV doesn’t lend itself well to gaming. Sure, a lot has changed since then, but a counterpoint in the interest of fairness and sanity is never a bad idea.

Unlike many of the other markets Apple competes in (the MP3 player market, the smartphone market), companies in the video game world actually innovate and churn out pretty solid products that customers are happy with.  Apple’s bread and butter, though, is entering a stagnant market and spicing it up a bit, but when it comes to video games, spice is already the name of the game.

To get a better idea of Apple’s chance for success should it decide to turn the Apple TV into a gaming platform, it makes sense to explore the two different approaches to gaming Apple would have to choose from.  Specifically, Apple could turn the Apple TV into a serious gaming platform, similar to the Xbox 360 and PS3, or it could angle it as a fun and laid back platform, much like the Nintendo Wii.  Unfortunately for Apple, both choices pose a number of challenges.

Curious? Read more in the full entry.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Shock Me Says:

    Apple’s success in converting iOS games to the HDTV will rest on their ability to deploy a controller encompasses both CocoaTouch, existing sensors and traditional hardware controls. As TV gaming is a heads up activity I suspect we won’t see Apple do this until they work out the control issue. Perhaps thye controller can be a variant of the magic trackpad with a double pistol-grip and a gyroscope.

    Unlikely but fun to think about.

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