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Epic Games Says Apple Could Compete Against Home Gaming Consoles with iPad

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At the debut of the new iPad, Apple CEO Tim Cooks posited that the tablet would make a great replacement for dedicated home gaming consoles, like Microsoft’s Xbox or Sony’s Playstation, and Apple developer partner Epic Games thinks that Cook may be correct. With iOS already supporting AirPlay, a WiFi-based technology that allows users of OS X and iOS devices to mirror their screens onto a larger HDTV display when connected to an Apple TV set-top box on the same network, Apple is already positioning its iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad as a large-screen game-playing experience on its website. Through the AirPlay technology, users can play games and multi-player games with their mobile iOS devices and use their iOS devices both as the console and the game controller.

In a recent interview with Reuters Epic Games head Mike Capps envisioned an even more immersive game play experience where Apple would allow–or create themselves–a game play controller, like the controllers on today’s gaming systems, to connect to the tablet or phone and allow users hardware controls to interact with their games. Additionally game play would be mirrored to an Apple TV environment. The move would shift the iPad and iPhone from casual game scenarios to long-term gaming potential like those enjoyed by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft with more immersive titles.

It’s unclear if Epic Games have more intimate knowledge of Apple’s endeavors and plans for the gaming space as the company had appeared in all three Apple keynotes to introduce the iPad, iPad 2, and the new iPad.

Game developers have in the past expressed opinions that Apple could take on long-time game console-makers with its mobile devices. The iOS-software-maker is also rumored to be working on a full-featured television set that would include iOS, a refined UI, Siri, and perhaps even an app store.

So far, Apple’s gaming and iOS ecosystem places the App Store on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, rather than on the Apple TV hardware unit. This may be a smarter alternative than creating an Apple TV with a built-in game or app store as it would inflate the price of Apple TV to accommodate a better processor with a capable graphics architecture. For instance, despite utilizing an A5 chipset on the latest version of the Apple TV introduced alongside the new third-generation iPad, that chipset is an improved single-core chipset, not a dual-core A5, and definitely does not have the graphics prowess of the A5x on the new iPad. This helps to keep costs down and the improvements made to Apple TV is made merely to allow Apple to stream 1080p HD videos to the home set-top box, and not to decode and render graphics-intense games.

Rendering these games would still be done on the iPad. The benefit here is two-fold for Apple. First, it helps to keep the pricing of Apple TV down, as we had mentioned, which may help to spur increased adoption of the set-top box, which Apple is still calling a hobby for itself as Apple TV sales are still no where near the level the company had hoped it would be at. Second, by keeping the power on the iPad, Apple could spur annual upgrades from more serious gamers. With an entry-level price of $500, Apple stands to make money through annual refreshes of its slate, rather than–hypothetically–a $200 Apple TV unit that packs in the processor, graphics, and App Store capabilities. This way, Apple also has the ability to sell both an Apple TV and an iPad to gamers, rather than just selling one component of its ecosystem.

Rival game house Electronic Arts, which had been bullish on Apple’s gaming moves in the past, says that it is watching the space. ”When the iPad gets to the processing power that’s equal to an Xbox 360 and it connects to a television, that’s no big deal to us — we’ll put the game through the iPad and have it display through the television,” EA says.

However, when that happens, games will become more involved with more levels, more details, and more immersive play. Will we begin to see high-end games push the $10 boundary for games?

 

Tech enthusiast in Silicon Valley enjoying the possibilities of ubiquitous connectivity, information sharing, and collaboration enabled by mobile broadband. You can contact Chuong on Twitter @chuongvision or search +chuongvision on Google+.

4 Comments

  1. TheRealCBONE

    03/13/2012 at 7:40 am

    Not gonna happen. Maybe if Apple introduced a proprietary removable media. Maybe. Otherwise, people will have to: 1) download via fast PC internet, then sideload via itunes (ick), or 2) download/stream via slow wi-fi, (doable but still sucks) or 3) waste precious LTE downloading/streaming multi-gig games (good luck with that). Apple doesn’t want periodic mega purchases like Sony and MS. They want their little area of damn-near constant micropurchases. 

    People need to get real with this iPad gaming idea. Just because the resolution is there doesn’t mean there is going to be a golden age of super high-res textured games that make Avatar look like South Park starting next week. We’ve had 720p and 1080p for how long and most games still look crap. Good luck convincing developers to code 3 or 4 versions of games (hah)  or convincing them to charge less than $15 dollars for a full featured game to avoid App store sticker shock (even more hah because the jailbreak will come and come hard at those games). Apple app thievery is all but a cottage industry. Every kid with an ipod, iphone or ipad knows how to steal apps with impunity. They could cut down on piracy with required access to an Xbox Live/PSN rip-off, but that only works so well.

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    03/13/2012 at 6:30 pm

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  3. Alex Perry

    03/13/2012 at 9:57 pm

     Obviously not first person shooter game fans. These games leave a lot to be desired on touch screen. I don’t see Apple making a second controller just for games. They have never treated serious gamers well before, I don’t see them doing it now. Sure if you want to play Angry Birds or some driving game, maybe they can get it together, but if you are gonna play Halo or Modern Warfare, they have a long ways to go.

  4. Optimus Prime Real Estate

    08/16/2012 at 10:02 pm

    I own a PS3, and for the past 6 months I’ve been gaming exclusively on my iPad. Games like Nova 3, Modern Combat 3, Real Racing, Shadowgun, Mass Effect: Infiltrator, and movie tie ins like TASM & TDKR have occupied my gaming senses to the point where I have no interest in console gaming. The fact they can create no frills versions of my fave FPS and TPS is more intriguing than making an awsome console game (which is easier to do given the hardware). I’ve been having a blast playing on Gameloft Live too because all the FPS are multiplayer. More excited for Modern Combat 4 and NOVA 4 than Black Ops II and HALO 4. Speaks volumes.

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