How Apple Will Kill Gaming Consoles

Apple Will Destroy Gaming Consoles

Bulky devices don’t stand up to a speedy, Wi-Fi-driven gateway

We are at the absolute end of the road for gaming consoles. There is no reason that you are going to need a dedicated gaming machine in the next year or two. You probably don’t even need one now.

What makes this more troubling for Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 is that these big, heavy, bulky, hot and loud devices have to last for an extremely long time to be profi table. We have been on a sevento eight-year life cycle for game consoles for the past couple decades, and that model isn’t going to be sustainable.

This is where Apple comes in.

Why buy a $400-$500 box that is going to be obsolete within a couple of years when we have desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones all over the place? All we need is a gateway between our smart devices and our televisions, and Apple has already dropped enough hints as to how it will pull this off.

One major announcement that has been largely overlooked from Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference event is that the company is allowing third-party manufacturers to make game controllers for its iOS devices.

Apple has started to put pressure on Sony and Microsoft by introducing a game controller standard — incredibly helpful, since it invites developers to build games that recognize a set of button controls and inputs that will work across every game in the App Store.

Soon, you are going to be able to play a console-quality game on your iPhone or iPad with a game controller, and you’re going to be able to see it on your bigscreen television without any effort. This is literally a game-changer.

Then there’s Apple’s introduction of a Wi-Fi protocol called 802.11ac. This new Wi-Fi standard claims to support data transfer speeds of up to 1.3Gbps, which allows high-resolution video to stream between devices (it can throw around 4K vid with ease). This is the huge missing piece of Apple’s TV puzzle.

Another brilliant feature is Air-Play, which lets Apple users instantly beam whatever is on your iOS device or computer right to your Apple TV. But for as many times as it has worked, there have been other times where the refresh rate was too slow, due to limited Wi-Fi bandwidth or some other technical error. The new Wi-Fi standard can solve that, and if Apple allows its devices to connect to the Apple TV via Wi-Fi Direct — a connection between two devices that removes the need for a wireless access point — then it completes the circle even better.

If you can stream an incredibly high-resolution feed from your phone or iPad to your Apple TV without issue, what are you going to stream? Videos and games.

Apple sells its Apple TV for $99, and that price point is working tremendously well. Without any advertising and selling practically entirely by word of mouth, Apple has sold more than 13 million of these devices.

The gateway already exists. You just sit on your living room sofa, use your iPhone or iPad to control it, play content from your devices seamlessly, or stream content directly to the Apple TV.

What are consumers more likely to buy every year or two? A new Xbox or PlayStation, or a new smartphone or tablet?

The future of the living room isn’t a $500 black box straight out of “Transformers.” The future of the living room is an inexpensive Trojan Horse that can serve as a bridge from that computer in your pocket to your television.

(Jonathan Geller is founder and editor-in-chief of BGR, a website dedicated to mobile news.)

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  1. This article might have been relevant in 2013, when it was written, because at the time, you could buy tons of great standalone classic games for one-time purchases (like Crazy Taxi, Baldur’s Gate games, Metal Slug, Doom, SoulCalibur, just to name a few). Since that time, the entire mobile gaming industry has switched to these “freemium” or “pay to play” games that are free to download, but via microtransactions, wind up costing you far more over time than a one time payment of $10, and often exceed the highest pricetags of $60+ console games to access highest-level content.

    And now, with the impending release of iOS 11, Apple intends to kill all 32-bit apps. So that list of great old titles, released during a time when microtransactions were less rampant but haven’t been updated since their developers switched to developing “freemium” games? They will all disappear. Which leaves Apple gamers with a device that, unlike a console with a library of already-purchased games that gamers can play as long as they want, whenever they want, without spending more money into a portable arcade requiring constant internet access that they have to keep feeding quarters to play.

    Tl;dr: Apple may replace arcades with mobile microtransaction-based games that are similar to that business model, but will never supplant consoles with their persistent game libraries that don’t break when a new update is available.

  2. Notimportant says:

    You do realize that an apple smart phone ranges from $500- $700, not including taxes. Also this article was posted two years ago and Sony nor Microsoft have announced any plans on releasing a new product soon. So when it comes to life span a console would last longer. Since this article has been made Apple has released the IPhone 6 and the IPhone 6s, both costing much more than any console. Another thing, you have to get a specific tv to play these iOS games. A console can hook up to anything as long as it has an hdmi port. I leave off with this, you can stream on a PS4 and an XBOX one.

  3. J says:

    Yeah, that’s exactly what people said when computer gaming became a thing. Consoles and PCs coexist to this day. And, it’s generally accepted that Halo is better than Angry Birds. I seriously doubt Apple will be killing anything any time soon.

  4. Dan says:

    Problem is that it’s apple

  5. Vic says:

    Problem is too many apps slowing devices down.
    Console keeps level playing fields.

  6. sowhat says:

    If anything, Google has better chance than Apple in gaming

  7. Is mobile gaming important? Yes. Are phones powerful enough to push games to the TV like consoles have done in the past? Yes. Is mobile gaming important for revenue generation for hardware manufactures and software publishers? Yes. Will some mobile phone users use their mobile device to game on their TV? Yes. However, the use case for mobile devices are completely different. We’re talking about a niche of a niche. Tethering a BT controller to your phone makes the mobile phone not so…mobile. The implementation of d-pads for iOS7 will service the hardcore gamer/early adopter niche within the mobile gaming niche. That’s why all previous attempts at external mobile controls have been spectacular failures. Apple’s move is to thwart its two biggest threats: Google (#1 Mobile OS) and Samsung (#1 Smart Phone Manufacturer).

    What happens when you want to answer the phone mid-game and all your pals are in the middle of a game? Will your mobile phone or tablet always be tethered to your TV to provide the media hub experience that Xbox 360/one and PS3/4 can and will provide? I can see an implementation at the connected TV level that could threaten the console market, but not mobile devices. Just my humble opinion… ;-)

  8. Variety Troll says:

    Nice troll article to get comments.

  9. Nikman Shah says:

    Personally, I think this article is somewhat correct in the sense that Apple will be able to grow a “console” business around the Apple TV, although it does overhype the “death” of console gaming too prematurely.

    As some of the other commenters mentioned, there are still hard core gamers who will stick to PC, laptop and console gaming almost forever, for the reason that those platforms are more powerful and have better graphics and performance.

    However, it might be important to highlight that quite possibly these core gamers may not be growing in numbers large enough, not as large as casual gamers. With the amount of stuff, information, and things to do around us especially with nowadays’ dominance of smartphones and tablets connected to the Internet, I find it hard to believe that more and more youths are picking up console and PC gaming compared to those taking up casual gaming through smartphones and tablets. It is around these casual gamers will Apple’s console business grow through the Apple TV, not the existing hard core gamers that will always be around to support consoles and PC gaming.

    Console and PC gaming will live on, but they will eventually die a slow death. But predicting that it will kill off the Xbox One and PS4 is a bit too premature.

  10. Chris says:

    This article was written by someone who clearly knows nothing about the gaming industry or even technology. It’s simply a regurgitated puff piece written by Apple and reprinted here. Shame on you, sir!

  11. Mario says:

    This biased article is laughable. While it might have some “minor” legitimate observations, the author really does not know the topic nor the industry and overhypes his argument beyond reality. Like the Apple introduction of an IEEE wifi protocol?, or when apple puts pressure on Sony and Microsoft by introducing a game controller standard?

  12. jlinn says:

    “Then there’s Apple’s introduction of a Wi-Fi protocol called 802.11ac.”
    Really? Apple introduced 802.11ac eh? And here I thought IEEE was the group behind that standard, you know the way they are behind all wireless standards.
    This is less a piece of journalism than something to pump up Apple stock.

  13. Gamer says:

    I didn’t see the $500 box in any of the transformers movies. Apple will kill the gaming consoles just like the electric cars killed the IC engine. Steve Jobs was the only reason Apple was awesome. People who write about gaming consoles should play them first. Just like writers should do a bunch of reading every once in a while. Jeez get over touchscreen. Nobody cares about playing games through your iPhone. Human beings have lived and will forever survive on the sheer sensation of sensory impulses and not flat screens with icons.

  14. BJJCA says:

    I feel absolutely confident predicting that this will without equivocation NOT happen the way people seem to think it will, or to the degree they think it will.

    There will always be a market for dedicated, high powered gaming devices, until and unless handheld devices like smart phones and tablets can give us equal or superior 1) graphical fidelity 2) depth of content, and 3) the same beloved franchises, as those found on console and PC (without any shortcuts, freemium pay models, or appearances of lower quality.)

    Mobile gaming is great, and I do consider it valid gaming unlike some. But until it can do all of the above… AND do so on a TV screen, in HD, with a mouse or a controller… this is not going to happen. A portion of the market will always continue to demand a certain level of quality and depth.

    Now, do I think this will happen EVENTUALLY? Yes. But not in two years. And by then I believe Sony and Microsoft will be selling tablet consoles that do all of the things I’ve described, and competing with Apple’s own offerings. Then, as now, whichever of these future consoles does those things the best, has the greatest feature set, and has the best games, will be on top.

    It won’t be the one that is simply more convenient than the others or has lower priced apps.

  15. Greg says:

    I’ve been doing exactly what he’s suggesting – selling my Xbox and buying Apple tv. As more people buy Apple products, it’s a natural direction in which to go, especially if you are only a casual gamer, but want to stream media. Geller’s right on the mark in my opinion.

    • Phillip French says:

      You’re viewing it from the perspective as a casual “gamer”. What you seem to forget is that there are MILLIONS of core gamers who stand by PC and consoles because only on those devices you can get the better gaming experiences instead of throwaway shovelware that’s polluting iOS and Android.

      pauljandrew hit the nail on the head with his comment as to why this article is garbage with no valid points.

  16. pauljandrew says:

    I’ll believe it when Apple products start delivering experiences like Skyrim and Halo, or any of a hundred other games you can’t find on mobile devices yet. What this article fails to mention is that the vast majority of mobile games are disposable time wasters, fun and addicting in many cases, but seldom do they deliver like major console or PC games.

  17. Andy Kogerma says:

    written by someone who clearly knows nothing about gaming

  18. mjlambie says:

    a year or two eh? i don’t think that’s too likely. Maybe in time, but i’d give it at least 5 years before Apple starts to eat up big console business

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