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Ubisoft CEO Expects Set-Top Gaming, New Apple Hardware

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the ibox-istation-or-iii dept.

Games 45

GamesIndustry reports on comments by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot about what to expect from the coming generation of gaming hardware. In addition to greater integration between game hardware and set-top boxes, he said he doesn't expect Apple to stop with the iPhone as a platform for games. "We will see more customers coming to the videogame industry, and they will not only come to the basic consoles like we have today, but they will start also to come on all the boxes that you see under the TVs. TV boxes will be more powerful, and with accessibility, will help to take more people. So we will see more consoles on which we will be able to put product." Guillemot continued, "... because you saw new interfaces with the Wii, with the Wiimote, and also with the DS, with the stylus, what we see for the future is that there will be also big announcements in interfaces. And it will not only happen on consoles, but it will also happen on those TV boxes as well."

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Anonymous coward expects first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28136741)

Suck it!

Hidden away (0, Offtopic)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28136747)

It's amazing what you find tucked in at the bottom of these "press releases"..

Ubisoft's headline financial information included profits that were down for the 2008 fiscal year by 37 per cent, on sales that were up by 14 per cent. The company's stock opened down just over 5 per cent this morning at EUR 13.93.

So, witter on about an Apple super console and bury the real news in a tough financial climate? You decide.

Re:Hidden away (1)

Divebus (860563) | more than 5 years ago | (#28146499)

Apple is 20 years late to this party. If they jump into this rabbit hole, it'll be interesting to see how they get out.

They probably have a plan. Keep in mind everyone who scoffed at all their new products for the last decade.

Control Interfaces (1)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 5 years ago | (#28136811)

I wish the gaming industry would care about control interfaces less and worry about gameplay more, but on the other hand I feel like the idea of alternative control schemes besides a normal game controller is here to stay.

And I have to admit, if I end up getting a next generation console, it will be a wii (that is if I ever get bored of my PS2 :P)

Re:Control Interfaces (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28136891)

They care about markets. It's just that.

What matters is selling games. And who do you sell to better than to people who don't know better. Games for gamers? Bah, they know what they may expect, they may expect gameplay and even replay value. It's a lost market, let's focus on the ignorant masses who don't even know what we could deliver if we put our minds to it.

Why do you think he pushes for set-top boxes and other gadgets that the "average" person may have in his living room, but the average gamer most likely won't have?

Re:Control Interfaces (1)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 5 years ago | (#28154377)

Well that's a pretty depressing outlook :(

I think there's still importance in quality regardless of market.

I think you don't have to be a PRO LEETZOR GAMER HARDXCORE to spot a shitty game. I think that anyone who's half-way intelligent and going to devote time to sit down and play a game is going to be able to say "okay this is fun and interesting" or "this is neither fun nor interesting, who is this mama and why does she cook?"

But you are right in pointing out that as non-gamers paradoxically become a bigger gaming market, marketing is going to be more important, and giving a game a shiny package is going to be a big deal.

Re:Control Interfaces (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137035)

Gameplay is influenced significantly by the user interface, so your statement doesn't make sense.

Re:Control Interfaces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28145317)

He doesn't mean user interface, he means controller.

Re:Control Interfaces (1)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137275)

Build a motion sensor into your typical remote, give it a couple of gaming buttons, one of which should be a trigger button. Build a flash player into your set top box and you've got about a potential million flash games you can play on your STB.

Controllers (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28136853)

I was going to be funny and say "how the hell are we supposed to play games with a controller that only has one button", but extending what the Wii started, it could actually work.

Re:Controllers (4, Insightful)

Skraut (545247) | more than 5 years ago | (#28136905)

For years we played games with an Atari joystick with one red button. AND WE LIKED IT! Sheesh kids these days need to stay off my lawn.

Re:Controllers (1)

BumbaCLot (472046) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137345)

The thing I hated most about all of the plugin classic all in one games released a few years ago was some genius decided that the stick should be used with the right hand and the fire button on the left. Am I the only one who had this issue?

Re:Controllers (1)

funkify (749441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28138391)

Apparently you've never used a real Atari 2600 joystick.

Re:Controllers (1)

BumbaCLot (472046) | more than 5 years ago | (#28138581)

Guess I was too busy playing real arcade games which all have fire buttons for the right hand and sticks on the left...

Re:Controllers (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139213)

That varied quite a bit in the arcades, at least back in the 1980s. I don't know if any sort of 'standard' emerged after that.

Robotron, probably my favorite game of the time, used a joystick for each hand.

Re:Controllers (1)

Celeste R (1002377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28136975)

The Mac had a one-button mouse, it's perfectly possible.

I'm going to expect that controls will be less than enlightened though, one button or two. Some of them are not going to fit well to the hand, and others will be counter-intuitive.

I'm putting my money on the social and convenience convergence, and not games.

Convergence. (3, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28136881)

I'm not sure that we'll see gaming spread to multiple devices as much as we'll see multiple devices converge, certainly Sony and Microsoft seem to be trying hard to make their consoles more than just gaming machines, both not only have the ability to play media, but are pushing it quite strongly as a major part of the offering. Both have also filed patents/spoken of the ability to play TV shows in future addons or console iterations.

Many people laugh about the Zune, but although it's not the greatest product I can see where Microsoft is going with it - there's effectively 4 areas for technology in people's lives, office, home computer, home entertainment and on the move. Currently MS doesn't have much of an on the move offering whilst Sony does with the PSP and Nintendo does with the DS, Microsoft has strong offerings in the other 3 areas, so presumably they're just now trying to tie up the last area.

But it's not as simple as tying up the last area, I've been expecting, and we've been seeing a move for a long while towards all these areas interoperating with the end goal being a sort of scenario where say, using Microsoft as an example, you walk close to your future Xbox/PC with your Zune in your pocket and it'll wirelessly pick up your songs and let you play them through that system's sound system instead. Your XBox live arcade games may automatically "jump" onto your Zune so you can play them on the move, your Xbox live friends profile may link with your contact list on your favourite IM program on your PC. Perhaps you could flag a document as important at work and it'll jump home with you via your Zune or via the net so you can continue working from home on it and that sort of thing. Rudimentary attempts at all these things already exist, but the experience isn't tied together well right now, it's not seamless enough.

I think Apple, now realising they're strong in the on the move area, and are doing pretty decently in the home PC market realise that perhaps it's time to make a push into the home entertainment market too.

Effectively, whilst we tend to think of Microsoft as the Windows company, Apple as the iPod company and that sort of thing we'll see a change towards the idea of them all offering solutions that integrate really well between all these areas. I wouldn't be suprised if you could eventually walk into a shop and buy a full offering - a big box with your PC, your console, your mobile device all in it, but with the option to buy/upgrade each individually still.

Companies like Ubisoft need to be looking towards this sort of convergence I think rather than just seeing the arrival of completely separate devices because I think it will deliver unique opportunities. To give an example of what I mean, look at how successful Tamagotchi and clones were, now imagine if you had a virtual pet that would not only live on your device, but could be left at home on your console, or brought to work on your mobile device, and your administrator at work had set a policy to allow entertainment software outside work hours and on lunch times so you could play with it on your work machine during lunch.

Re:Convergence. (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28136923)

you walk close to your future Xbox/PC with your Zune in your pocket and it'll wirelessly pick up your songs and let you play them through that system's sound system instead. Your XBox live arcade games may automatically "jump" onto your Zune so you can play them on the move

No problem on the technical side. I can see a DRM hassle though. Play your Zune sounds on an Xbox, without paying extra for it? Transfering games from XBox to Zune? In case you didn't notice, one of the things DRM is supposed to make impossible is media shifting. And of course platform shifting. I can well see that their marketing and sales didn't consider you playing a song that you rented for Zune on a device that more than one listener could listen to, so it's being disabled.

In theory a good idea, and I'd love to see it. I just don't think it's going to fly.

Re:Convergence. (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137923)

Yeah I don't disagree, I didn't want to stray too far off path with the DRM argument, and also the question of whether for example we even want our work and personal lives to be so closely intertwined.

DRM is arguably the single thing holding it back, attempts have been made to produce DRM that allows it but it has indeed been rather weak. I'm guessing we'll see one of two things happen, either DRM will work (to an extent) in their limited environments because they're using custom hardware, or they'll have to accept it needs to go. I agree though, I think it's safe to say continued pushing of DRM will will delay convergence, it will leave the resulting systems imperfect in their operation and transparency and it will certainly delay adoption.

It's ironic that Microsoft, Apple and Sony, 3 of the most prominent DRM backers in the industry are the ones that most need DRM to go away, but yet are the last to embrace that idea whilst Amazon, Play.com and so forth steam ahead with it.

Re:Convergence. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28138921)

one of the things DRM is supposed to make impossible is media shifting. And of course platform shifting.

That is a load of dingo's kidneys. DRM is supposed to prevent you from doing any of that stuff without spending more money. It's an attempt to create vendor lock-in; you need compatible DRM. The whole idea of DRM is to prevent you from giving tracks to your friends, except as a trial; for example, DRM that enables you to give away the file, but it only plays five times. Then you have to buy it, and you're not allowed to trial it from the same source again.

Re:Convergence. (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28145753)

There's some games on PSN that can be played on the PS3 and PSP, you pay once and can play them on both.

Re:Convergence. (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 5 years ago | (#28222665)

but precedents have already been set.

AppleTV lets you play your DRM'd content from iTunes, and you can sync the same content to multiple iPods.

PS3 and PSP allow remote play (some games on the PS3 are playable on the PSP) DRM is preserved because the game needs to be registered to the same account on both sides. i think the remote play games are limited because of hardware constraints on the PSP side (you're not going to be able to play CoD4 on the PSP because the PSP can't handle it)

360 and Zune integration is just the MS flavor of PS3/PSP remote play.

Re:Convergence. (0, Flamebait)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137371)

"certainly Sony and Microsoft seem to be trying hard to make their consoles more than just gaming machines, both not only have the ability to play media, but are pushing it quite strongly as a major part of the offering."

And they're both being outsold by a machine that is so obstinate in being a gaming-only machine that it won't even play a regular CD or DVD even though it has capable hardware. We think of Microsoft as a Windows company and Apple as an iPod company because that's what they're best at. Why would a consumer get stuck with a Zune for convergence's sake when they could buy an iPod and still keep their Windows PC? The only party that benefits is Microsoft.

Re:Convergence. (1, Flamebait)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139595)

"And they're both being outsold by a machine that is so obstinate in being a gaming-only machine that it won't even play a regular CD or DVD even though it has capable hardware. We think of Microsoft as a Windows company and Apple as an iPod company because that's what they're best at. Why would a consumer get stuck with a Zune for convergence's sake when they could buy an iPod and still keep their Windows PC? The only party that benefits is Microsoft."

There are still questions to be asked though regarding the Wii, the PS3 and 360 are competing against each other in the high end do-everything market, if they were not competing and only one existed you could guarantee they sales figures for one would move other from the theoretically non-existent one to the other. You then have to look at the amount of media bought for those systems - the 360 due to it's attach rate coupled with larger profit margin on games, large amount of DLC, the price of XBox live etc. has almost certainly made MS nearly as much money as Nintendo has made with the Wii. Take into account the PS3, it's games, the Bluray discs for it and you begin to realise that although the Wii has done well as a gaming only system, there is still much more money be poured into the wider market by consumers, the issue is merely that it's being competed for which dilutes that.

This is where convergence comes in though, it widens the market yet further, to help make sure there's enough for everyone. One example of expansion into other markets by way of convergence into existing systems is the fact due to Nintendo's success both Microsoft and Sony are taking large steps for the current gen, but most prominently for the next gen to bring a similar experience to Nintendo's offering into their systems.

"We think of Microsoft as a Windows company and Apple as an iPod company because that's what they're best at."

Really? Microsoft's real strength is in it's development tools really, this is where by far it's strongest products are. It's database server, it's office suite and really even it's web server are all far better products than the Windows line too. Desktop OS' most certainly isn't what Microsoft is best at. It's hard to argue that the iPod isn't Apple's biggest success though, but this tells us something - the iPod wasn't always around, so what does that mean? That the products a company excels at can change over time? Well yes, that's pretty much exactly what it tells us so to suggest a company is known for one product because that's what it's best at, and then using that to suggest a company shouldn't bother moving into other product areas has been proven by exactly Apple's success with the iPod, and now the iPhone.

"Why would a consumer get stuck with a Zune for convergence's sake when they could buy an iPod and still keep their Windows PC?"

Because hypothetically speaking when you look at a future whole system the Zune might be better? Say for example the iPod is a better stand-alone music player when you don't use it with any other devices, there's no evidence that just because the Zune is an ever so slightly worse music player it wouldn't become a better overall device when it comes to keeping useful data sync'd between systems automatically and so forth. What if a killer app. comes out to exploit that that makes the Zune alone worth having, or horror of horrors, what if the Zune simply does become a better product than the iPod in future? iTunes on Windows isn't actually a very nice application, it would be quite easy for example to produce a much better application for integrating your desktop with your music player. This is undoubtedly why we have software such as Rockbox - some people feel it can be done better and can be beaten and are willing to go ahead and prove it.

"The only party that benefits is Microsoft."

Really, were you responding to make a point, or simply to troll about Microsoft? It doesn't benefit Microsoft anymore than convergence benefits Apple, Sony and so on. It allows them to expand their markets, and hook people on one product and get them to buy others from the same manufacturer, Apple has almost certainly sold more Macs because people feel it goes better with their iPod or iPhone for example.

And it could be here tomorrow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28137413)

It could be here tomorrow if the hand-held device makers would let us make it happen.

you walk close to your future Xbox/PC with your Zune in your pocket and it'll wirelessly pick up your songs and let you play them through that system's sound system instead.

while sleep 1s; do
        wpa_cli status | grep -q ssid=MY_HOME || continue
        ssh tv_computer 'sshfs mobile_device ~/media_library/mobile; music_player --refresh'
done

Please give me a phone where the above shell script will do the right thing. Really. It doesn't take much more than that, and there are tons of slashdotters who would want to write that code because mucking about with technology is fun.

And hey, if it works for me, I'd happily put it on the Linuxphone App Store.

For each little piece of integration, there is someone out there who

  • wants it
  • has the ability to create it; and
  • has the will to do it

Would someone please, please make us the devices we need as community, so that we can enhance their functionality and make them do all the great things we want?

Slashdot is broken? (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137553)

That's really funny... the slashdot sidebar showed me as logged in (still did after I reloaded the page).

Yet my post is by anonymous coward... Did I post anonymously by mistake, or is /. broken?

(We apologize for the interruption, and return you to the scheduled programming.)

Re:And it could be here tomorrow... (1)

SausageOfDoom (930370) | more than 5 years ago | (#28138647)

Amen to that. I think we will see this happen gradually, but the market for this sort of thing is too limited to be targeted directly by the mainstream hardware producers; most customers want to buy something that they can turn on and just works. Also bear in mind that if you can customise it too much, you won't need to upgrade to the next version of the hardware or software so quickly.

Not sure... (1)

Kylock (608369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28136889)

Aside from the point of thinking that there will be more people playing games because of game availability for set-top boxes, The rest of what was said seemed a bit silly. I guess I'll look forward (not really) to getting a wiimote for my DVR.

Re:Not sure... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137883)

Actually, a wiimote could be really quite handy for something like a MythTV or Tivo.

At the most basic level it's really only just a wireless mouse.

If you wanted nothing but cursor keys, you never would have bought your first real mouse.

Set-top set-up for not enough. (3, Interesting)

Celeste R (1002377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28136931)

Set-top boxes? Perhaps so, but I don't see it as the way that the industry must go.
.
Take for example: the Wii. It does something specific very well, and it does it fairly cheaply too. There is nothing wrong with the idea that you can chain up devices to be able to do things. Except, perhaps, for people who live under rocks, because apparently they haven't ever seen a VCR and a DVD player hooked up with a TV.
.
The convergence of technology in products can be counter-productive, especially in things that people pour significant amounts of money into. It also makes it that much easier for marketing to muck up a good design.
.
Convergence is a luxury, but it's not necessarily a recipe for success. I -want- to be able to abandon the old or faulty hardware. I want to be able to take something out of the set-up I have for my entertainment center, and not feel lobotomized. And furthermore, I don't want to have to deal with jumping through hoops for the corporation just to be able to do something as simple as playing a game. (and you -know- that Comcast will nickel and dime you).
.
Gaming boxes combined with say... cable boxes... yes, it could work. Would I buy it? No. A cable box goes out of date fairly slowly than people think, whereas who here still uses their old Gamecube? You're raising the hardware's bottom line and the rent of the device only to get it outdated in a few years.
.
And speaking of which, I seriously doubt that good customer service for faulty devices will be part of their planning, but it -will- happen. The product of this thinking is cheap designs that don't compare well with the competition.

Re:Set-top set-up for not enough. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137243)

There is nothing wrong with the idea that you can chain up devices to be able to do things.

Other than that real estate is expensive enough in Japan that devices have to be small, which is part of why the original Xbox failed.

Re:Set-top set-up for not enough. (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137439)

"Gaming boxes combined with say... cable boxes... yes, it could work. Would I buy it? No. A cable box goes out of date fairly slowly than people think, whereas who here still uses their old Gamecube?"

To back up your point, there are plenty of hotels that have gaming systems on their cable boxes. You'll see a controller attached directly to the box. The newest one I've seen has an N64 controller attached.

Re:Set-top set-up for not enough. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137895)

Gaming boxes combined with say... cable boxes... yes, it could work. Would I buy it? No. A cable box goes out of date fairly slowly than people think, whereas who here still uses their old Gamecube?

Instead of putting the gaming hardware in the cable box, it makes more sense to put the cable hardware in the gaming box. I already watch all my TV through my Xbox anyway. And yes, I still use my old gamecube, and N64, and SNES, and NES, and Atari 2600 for that matter.

Its a logical next step (1)

Goodl (518602) | more than 5 years ago | (#28136955)

with the signing of Richard Teversham from MS Xbox division and the fact that the hardware spec barrier to entry of the gaming markets has been significantly lowered thanks to the Wii I think the next generation will be a shoe-in for Apple. WIth all the brand awareness they have, how well known they are for ease of use in their devices and the uncanny knack they have for catching the mood of a market and turning it on its head. One fly in the ointment is that I don't think they have the experience for knowing what makes a good game but if they can come up with a new control paradigm like Nintendo who wknows what they could produce. I look forward to seeing what they can offer

This is gonna end badly (1, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137083)

Why are these CEOs, and I do mean plural, intent on providing what they think we should buy instead of what the market actually wants to buy?

I understand that some men of vision can provide new markets, but this is far from the case.

They want what all software publishers have wet dreams about: vendor lock-in.

It's not gonna happen. I will never abandon my PC for gaming. Apple and gaming are antonyms. The two go together like oil and water, sheep and wolves.

so, Ubisoft CEO, I say NO! I won't buy it. Not now, not ever!

Re:This is gonna end badly (1)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137801)

This is my problem with console gaming in general. This past month I've upgraded my PC gaming rig for the third time since I bought it back in 2002. I can play with my choice of controllers, including a keyboard and mouse (which I prefer), I can upgrade RAM, processor and video hardware, and I also get to do things like look up stuff on the internet and check email. Consoles are closed systems that you can't upgrade. That mentality should have died in the late 80s/early 90s, but folks like MS and Sony want nothing more than to ensnare buyers into a forced upgrade path which requires buying a whole new console. Screw that.

Re:This is gonna end badly (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137939)

PC gaming controllers make me want to throw my PC across the room.

They're crude, crappy and overpriced when comared to their console counterparts.

I want to assimilate console controllers into my PC, not remain trapped with PC only controllers.

I see Apple shooting themselves squarely on the foot with their controller. It might
kind of fly in a market that isn't well defined yet (AppleTV). However, I see them
getting creamed in any area with sophisticated entrenched experienced competitors.

Re:This is gonna end badly (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28138559)

Wiimotes, Xbox controls and PS3 controllers can all be hooked up to a computer

Re:This is gonna end badly (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140643)

Yes, I saw the WiiMote article in Linux Journal.

Re:This is gonna end badly (1)

solios (53048) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139541)

Consoles are closed systems that you can't upgrade.

Your assumption is that this is a Bad Thing.

For a lot of people, myself included, it's a Good Thing. A very good thing. I buy the console hardware, and every game for that console works with it.* I don't have to upgrade the console every few months in order to get optimal performance for a new game. I don't have to spend triple the price of the machine over the life of the machine just to play the games it's designed to play. I can, instead, spend the money on games. My Nintendo DS cost me about $150. Total. Just the once. And didn't have to upgrade it to play GTA : Chinatown Wars, or other new games.

Of course, in Wintendo world, the parts are cheap. You can get a new video card for the price of a box of cereal. As a mac user, with a couple of aging G4s under my desk, my experience with upgradeable gaming hardware is different and altogether more expensive. The video card - the only thing you really can upgrade on Power Macs (ram doesn't count, you can upgrade that on every shipping mac) - typically costs anywhere from 5-150x the PC equivalent. Radeon 9600s (the last card I bought) were 150$ for the Mac versions when the PC versions were down to $30 or $40 and already obsolete.

Think about that. 150$ for an already obsolete video card (or 500$+ for a reasonably current one that'll cost windows users 80$) that'll let me play Civ4 at minimum settings, or the same cash for a console or handheld I'll never have to upgrade ?

Not much to think about!

* Notable exceptions being some N64 games that required the ram expansion module to enable full functionality.

Re:This is gonna end badly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28137877)

Because they are interested in appealing to as many people and age groups as possible. Believe it or not this is how business works.

They are not interested in 'peecee' gamers because they recognise that this market is only occupied by sad single males with no friends, who sit in mommy's basement telling themselves how 'powerful' their 'gaming rig' is. Losers in other words, who (hopefully) will one day start to 'get' technology and computers ;-)

Re:This is gonna end badly (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141443)

you are so woefully wrong about that.

75% of gamers are over 18.

26% of gamers are over 50.

43% of gamers are women over 18.

your argument is quite inadequate

http://www.theesa.com/facts/gameplayer.asp [theesa.com]

Re:This is gonna end badly (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28145781)

Actually he isn't, he was referring to traditional PC gamers, the ones willing to walk into a store and buy a PC game or buy one from Steam, while that link you refer to refers to all gamers in general and includes the huge numbers console gamers as well as the people who play flash games on their PC's but would never buy a game for that PC.

Re:This is gonna end badly (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28137921)

Apple and gaming are antonyms.

My Apple IIgs is an awesome game machine.

iRig? (1)

quelg (1565531) | more than 5 years ago | (#28145797)

Ten reasons why I think Apple will/must release a gaming console fairly soon:

1. It is an extremely lucrative market. http://au.gamespot.com/news/6209281.html [gamespot.com] (e.g., Nintendo: US$18.5B revenue, $5.6B profit) and one that Apple has so far lost out to the PC on. No one buys a Mac for gaming.
2. Having said that, games are still already being written for the Mac. It's not like a new player is entering the field with no momentum or knowledge
3. Mac sales are increasing compared to PC sales and the market is expanding
4. Competing with Microsoft is important (and fun, come to think of it)
5. iPhone has had a halo (Halo?) effect on gaming with Apple
6. iTunes App store is so damn successful as a distribution channel
7. iPhone game sales are extremely high - many new and existing games companies are developing for a Mac platform
8. iPhone is OS X at heart. It would be relatively easy for games developers to write one game and deploy on iPhone/iPod Touch/Mac/iRig with little modification
9. Media centres are becoming extremely popular. Current gaming consoles are migrating towards being the media centre in the households. Why would Apple want the kids in the house determining how movies are downloaded and watched? Unless Apple provides a media centre that defeats all, many households will use PS3/Xbox etc. and take huge potential revenue from Apple
10. The ATV, while hardly actively developed, has proven immensely popular and demonstrated that an Apple built media centre will sell itself

Another way of pieceing all this together is this:

Apple only needs to update the video hardware in its existing ATV/Mac Mini to create a complete home gaming and media centre. It can link to both PCs and Macs for its overarching media control, or alternatively act standalone. It has a pre-existing distribution channel for games, movies, TV shows, software updates, etc. that could be switched on tomorrow. In one fell swoop, Apple could swing existing large gaming developers over to the OS X platform and provide them with an immediate three-pronged presentation channel: mobile devices, desktop Macs and the gaming console.

An Apple move into this market would almost immediately create a huge swing towards the Mac in the average household. At present, there are only three things that prevent widespread adoption of Macs: 1. Cost of entry, 2. Lack of enterprise adoption, 3. Lack of gaming buy in. (Things like less software, lack of familiarity etc. are just follow-ons from these.)

The second point isn't going to change rapdily, but the third would be eliminated completely once the iRig was introduced. Further, if the iRig was introduced at a price point similar to the other gaming consoles, suddenly Macs would be competing in the well-and-truly sub $1000 bracket and item 1) would be blown out the door.

So as far as I can see it, the only thing the introducing a gaming console *doesn't* do is increase adoption of OS X in the enterprise. You can't do *everything* with a single product release, but, hey, 95% is pretty cool for hardly any effort.

The only thing Apple will be spending their time on right now is thinking of what it's to be called! iPlay, iRig, etc. Actually, they'll probably have to come up with a nonsense name like drug manufacturers: Apple Xelf, Apple Quapi. Or perhaps just Apple Q or Apple Pi (symbol) - pretty cute.

Just having a look at .com names that are taken and free (held), I'm figuring something more like Zen or Xen - simple and cool. Or perhaps somehow blend in a Prince-like "symbol" - the Apple Pi (fun) or Psi (ironic).

Anyone think of a cool name for a set top gaming box for Apple?

Quelg

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