Coffee Talk #563: Apple as Console King?
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I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily.
The biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together.
The quotes got a ton of play on the Internetz, but I didn’t spend too much time thinking or talking about them…because Newell’s stance didn’t seem debatable to me. I think he’s right and his (greatly respected) opinions are obvious. However, RPadholic N8R suggested that the topic would generate some fun discussion, so I’ll defer to him. Let’s do this!
Apple has done a phenomenal job selling iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs. Those products have become more than phones, tablets, and streaming-video players. They’re multifaceted devices that are “lifestyle” products. So Newell is absolutely right about Apple being in millions of living rooms. He’s also right about Apple having a huge opportunity to displace traditional console gaming. The question is whether Apple will try to shake up and dominate that business the way it did with smartphones and tablets.
When Steve Jobs ran Apple, I would have bet against it. Under Jobs, Apple had a strange relationship with gaming. At times it seemed like the company didn’t understand it. At other times, it almost seemed like the company was afraid of it. It will be interesting to see how Apple approaches gaming under Tim Cook. He seems more flexible than his predecessor and more willing to venture into territory that has been historically foreign to the company.
I have no doubt that gaming will become a bigger part of Apple’s future, but I have no idea how the company will approach the field. It could continue to make iOS gaming bigger and bigger, enhancing the experience through AirPlay. Handheld consoles are already hurting because of the rapidly improving iOS gaming market. It’s conceivable that Apple will continue to foster iOS gaming growth so that it cuts into home consoles.
Or the company could be more aggressive on the hardware front with Apple TV or the mythical Apple television set. Imagine a more powerful Apple TV with visually-impressive games that are controlled with iPhones and iPads. In the immortal words of John Lennon, “It’s easy if you try.”
Ultimately, I don’t think Apple will take on Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony head-on. That’s not what the company does. It successfully played its own game with smartphones and tablets, and I see it doing the same with gaming. Will that be enough to make it console king?
What do you think of Newell’s statements about Apple possibly rolling the big console companies? Can you imagine a world where Apple rules living-room gaming?