The New Apple TV Looks Like A Wii With Actual 3rd Party Support

Untitled-mfi

Apple seems to be sidestepping the “mobile games on your TV” problem other microconsoles have run into.While Apple indicated you will be able to run legacy iOS apps on the newly announced Apple TV, the conference clearly focused on games made specifically for the device. This is what it should  be pushing for.

What we may end up seeing here is the first real library of games built specifically for a microconsole. That might open up an experience not quite mobile but not quite traditional console.

The most significant point I see Apple is focusing on for Apple TV gaming is local multipalyer, Crossy Road being the main example on the conference stage. I don’t play Disney Infinity and don’t have a great idea of what it is, but I imagine that’s going to have a similar feeling on the Apple TV and possibly be a big deal on that platform. All this shows that Apple TV game developers are indeed going for a family focus. It also indicates the platform is not trying to really compete with PlayStation and Xbox.

I went over this last week, but people are blowing this out of proportion if they think the Apple TV is threatening or even trying to threaten the PS4 and Xbox One. The audience Apple TV game developers are going for is going to be different. It might draw away some parents who bought an Xbox specifically so their kids could play Disney Infinity or Minecraft, but the people who buy Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto aren’t going anywhere. Apple TV, PlayStation, and Xbox can coexist.

All I’m saying is, I think the Apple TV can succeed where microconsoles have failed. Mainly, I think it’s going to rack up a lot more developer support than any previous microconsole depending on how much the Apple brand name carries hardware sales. If the device does well, I think there’s going to be a transitional period where developers who think it’s worthwhile will start patching and adjusting their existing games for the Apple TV and making new ones. One important think to notice is that it will be compatible with the current selection of MFi controllers.

I at least hope a lot of the existing iOS console ports get Apple TV updates, even if they have to require an MFi controller for it to make sense. The iOS version of Soul Calibur would be perfect, as would basically all of SNK’s iOS ports. What about all the Final Fantasy games Square Enix has brought to iOS? The older Grand Theft Auto and Max Payne games? There are a lot more, plus the potential for recent and upcoming indie games. Apple TV could just be one more platform for indies to develop on alongside PC and PS4. I’m particularly interested in the potential for the recent trend of local multiplayer indie games. Could we see Apple TV versions of games like CrawlThe Binding of Issac: RebirthRisk of Rain, or Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed?

How might Japanese developers respond to the Apple TV with new games? Japan has jumped headfirst into mobile gaming, to the point where previously hardcore franchises like Breath of Fire have become casual mobile games. If you look at Japanese mobile game charts you’ll also see a lot of fairly deep experiences compared to what you usually get in the west. Could some of these games transition to the Apple TV? The ability to play iOS games back and forth between an iPhone and an Apple TV could only help.

At the end of the day I think if the new Apple TV doesn’t fail it could at least become a family entertainment conduit for an audience that probably wouldn’t have bought a PlayStation or Xbox in the first place.

BULLETS:

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