Tuesday, May 20, 2014

AppleTV and gaming

I had expected games to be announced for AppleTV by now (so much so that I foolishly deferred buying an AppleTV for our new television).  I had originally assumed that the announcement would be dependent upon a large enough installed base of AppleTVs to resolve the usual chicken/egg problem for game devices (no games means no one buys the console; no console owners means no one develops games).

However, I think that, beyond installed base (seems like it is about 20m units so far, but perhaps some of these are older models? In any event, at 7m units per year, it will reach a respectable number quickly), perhaps the delay is because of the poor reception for the MFi controllers.  And, until Apple can figure out if it wants to sell its own controllers or try to simply set standards, it is holding off on gaming?

A good controller is hard to design but worth getting right.  And a good controller at a reasonable price (especially as it will be compared to the relative cost vs. the AppleTV itself) is even harder.  If we don't see games announced when the installed base of third generation AppleTVs (running at least an A5) is 40m, I will be more convinced that it is a lack of good controllers at a good price that is deferring games.

Separately, the fact that Apple has stuck to A5s for the AppleTV is suggestive of trying to create a meaningful base.  At the same time, the 64bit A7 likely makes more sense for quality gaming and future proofing so, if Apple wants the installed base to be 64 bit, we may have a long wait for games on AppleTV.  I may go buy that AppleTV now that I think about it...

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