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Sunday
Dec232012

Apple and Gaming

I'd like to call attention this article about the upcoming Apple TV, but first some background information.

iPhone

When Apple released the iPhone, it was a major disruption to the gaming market...but it took a while people to realize this. In the battle of Sony vs. Nintendo, no one really thought about Apple, and it's not like Apple had been a major player in games before. I remember a presentation by Ngmoco back then, that was trying to be the wake up call. They compared screen resolution of the iPhone to the DS and PSP, processors, multitouch input, the ease of the approval process, and the 70/30 revenue split and concluded that this was the real mobile gaming platform that mattered. It was some sort of controversial statement to some.

Even Apple itself didn't realize just how disruptive to the game market that iOS was. They held a media event for the iPod Touch that was all gaming and they explained that when they looked at the data of what people actually used their iPod Touches for, and what they actually bought, that gaming was HUGE. Way more than they had expected, so they wanted to really shine a spotlight on that and support it even more. By 2010, Nintendo's Iwata said that Apple--not Microsoft or Sony--was Nintendo's true rival, their "enemy of the future." This was already painfully obvious to anyone paying attention, but it was telling coming from the highest level of Nintendo.

Some quick stats. In 2009, Nintendo accounted for 70% of all mobile gaming revenue in the US. In 2012, both Nintendo 3DS and Sony PSP Vita combined account for only 36% of the revenue (source). In March of 2012, Apple's iOS platform accounted for a whopping 84% of mobile gaming revenue. Tangential trivia: 91% of iOS gaming revenue came from in-app purchases, rather than the price of the games themselves. (source)

iTV

The reason to go over all that is to give some perspective on what will probably happen next. Will it be Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo who comes out on top in the next generation of game consoles? What we might find is all three of them scrambling after Apple majorly disrupts that market, too. Before, they built a phone that just happened to be an attractive gaming device. Now, they are building a TV that will just happen to be an even more attractive gaming device.

Jeremy Allaire, the founder and CEO of Brightcove, gave an EXTENSIVE look at how he pictures the Apple TV working, including his predictions of how disruptive it will be to console gaming. Here is his long article, complete with many mockup pictures. That article is the whole reason I'm posting, so check it out, it's worth a look. If I had more ability to actually make game software, I would say this is the biggest upcoming opportunity there is in games, and I kind of wish I could be involved. In any case, the gaming industry is in for quite a ride next time around. And so is the cable TV business.