Today Apple sources have confirmed a tip Engadget received about the next Apple TV. The latest iteration in Apple’s run in the home console industry is based on the architecture of the iPhone 4G containing the A4 CPU. Instead of OS-X lite the next generation of Apple TV will feature an iPhone-based operating system fundamentally compliant with the iPad offerings we have seen for gaming thus far. This system is also able to display in full 1080p high definition!
This is a huge move from a powerful player in multiple industries which will, among other things, launch it into an even more appealing position for video game publishers and developers to release their games on. Cloud storage will even be supported as Apple embraces forward-thinking technologies and seeks to further the standard of streaming entertainment. Video games will see a new player emerge in the high-end home console sector and the “Big 3” will now become the “Big 4”.
Today we have truly seen everything on Apple’s platform from massive multiplayer online games to action, role-playing, shooters, remakes of classics like Final Fantasy, Need for Speed: Shift and PAC-MAN, and beyond. Many of these games rival their competition in terms of creativity and price point. Cheaper, more accessible games making their way onto the market may be the way of the downloadable future for games in general as price for something you cannot hold in your hands becomes a burden on the consumer in these economic times.
Apple’s iPhone OS is receiving a major upgrade soon with its latest iteration seeing the rise of the Game Center for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. This feature will not only add achievements, universal games friends list, invites, and matchmaking, but also leader boards and more. With such a network rising for Apple’s gaming intentions to come in to the games industry full force, one can only assume the Apple TV will now find its way into this tight-knit family of devices which games and tech savvy consumers are currently enjoying so much.
While iPads were flying off shelves here in the United States, even at their deterring price of $500 and up, the device is just making its debut in other markets including Australia. The price point of this unit is said to be only $99! With the affordable gaming solutions, reliability, and productivity of Apple products lately many gamers may find themselves compelled to consider Apple as a home gaming option now. This is especially true for those of us who would like an iPad but simply cannot justify the major investment at this time. Imagine a fourth competitor entering the home console gaming space. Next year, or even this year, Apple could suddenly start showing up at trade events like E3 and telling the world about the next Apple TV’s games lineup.
With the App Store being such an open development environment (all you need is a Mac, some artists, Flash skills, software and some licenses) indie game developers are instantly going to be drawn to making games for any Apple platform based on the iPhone OS. This may provide gamers with tons of shovel-ware to sift through, but a new organization of the App Store is all you would need to realize that it mainly gives way to the unrestrained creativity of independent publishing.
A 1080p home edition of the iPhone/iPad platform is a serious opportunity for all developers big and small. Many games that are in development with humble budgets will now be able to provide a more massive scope, higher quality game to their fans revitalizing existing franchises as the iPad has already begun to do as well as giving birth to completely new ones.
With the emphasis on cloud storage, streaming content, and digital distribution in general, it appears that Apple has beat Microsoft to the punch with Apple TV in terms of all digital home gaming consoles (which Microsoft has expressed their desire to achieve in the future). Gamers will be able to stream experiences to their Apple TV and even backup content in a device being called a Time Capsule. In any event, it looks like things are going to get much more interesting for gamers soon with more options and selection of great games across all platforms than ever.
Beyond the indie aspect, the major game publisher support seen on the iPad so far from Konami, EA Games, Activision, Take-Two Interactive, and so many others has been quite an incredible preview of what a big-screen Apple platform could bring to the gaming industry. As we all begin to take iPhone and iPod Touch more seriously with publishers like Square Enix releasing full triple A titles on the systems, iPad has been prospering without a doubt.
The productivity and creative games on the machine far outweigh any expectations that may have been held prior to its release, and it continues to evolve and impress. If Apple has truly sought to take the App Store a step further, which they likely have by switching Apple TV to iPhone OS this generation, then expect even more monstrous titles to hit the scene when the machine is released from the indie developer community as well as major league industry leaders and their development partners.
It is my belief that exclusives make the console. As long as the Apple platform continues to receive lots of love and excitement from the video games development industry then the sky is the limit for innovation on the level of game-play and even graphical presentation and efficiency optimization (for all of you OCD gamers out there like me). Right now the Apple platform is getting great exclusive games giving gamers of all kinds a reason to check out the system, and the great part about Apple TV is that it will be easy to invest in knowing that you have access to so many apps for around $99 in HD.
I believe that Apple’s step in making the next Apple TV iPhone-based is the first in many for their entry into the home video games console industry. By choosing to go this route they are re-affirming commitments to publishers and developers worldwide who love making games for Apple’s platform. If the fruits of their labor are any indication of the future capabilities of a games platform run by Apple then things are looking pretty good for gamers overall, as competition breeds quality. Let’s hope they’re thinking what I’m thinking about iTV’s potential.