Apple Entering Video Games Console Market? Not Likely.

by Aaron Wright Dec 06, 2006

Let’s be honest, there’s barely enough room in the video games console market for the three companies already present there, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, so why would Apple want to stick their noses in?

In an article recently published on Apple Insider, Prudential analyst Jesse Tortora says that there is indication via a series of checks that Apple Computer has hired video game designers and may be entering the video games [console] market. What that really means is that Apple hired a couple of guys/gals with previous games development experience to either work on future operating systems for the Macintosh platform or to develop some snazzy but rather pointless games for the iPod. And his version of “may” is actually just a premonition that Apple could have the ability to delve into the games market now that they’ve acquired a few gamer geeks.

You see if Apple did ever enter the games console market, they’d either have to do something so innovative that it puts Nintendo to shame (and I’m sorry but Nintendo are the innovators of video games and console) or lose untold amounts of money invested in the graphics whilst playing catch up to Microsoft and Sony.

At present I believe there’s only room for two console giants in the market, one of those being Nintendo with their revolutionary ways, the other place being fought out by Microsoft and Sony. SEGA were once a part of that clan where Microsoft now lay but prefer to stick to simple and boring games that were popular twenty years ago and no longer create consoles.

Apple has always been known as a hardware company, creating some of the most beautiful computer units known to humanity, if not the most beautiful. They make some pretty amazing software as well, with an award winning operating system (it has won awards, right?), but it’s the hardware that has made Apple so incredibly rich. On the other hand, it’s also known that the games console market is the complete opposite of that, with sales of every piece of hardware losing money (in order to compete you understand) whilst the giants rely on profit made from games – Halo being a huge seller for Microsoft and Final Fantasy for Sony. So how would a company such as Apple Computer fit into this?

The answer? They wouldn’t.

Why would Apple want to change what they are first and foremost about, hardware, and rely on software alone to make their money? The only way I can see them developing consoles and making money on each one sold in order to compete is to produce that console at a cheap price, which would most likely mean dirt-cheap parts. Asking Apple to produce ‘cheap’ is like asking Microsoft to develop something of quality (other than the Xbox 360); it isn’t going to happen folks.

So these game developers?

Exactly that, they’re games developers. Apple already has a ‘console’ that is both profitable and world renowned, it’s called the Macintosh and it comes in many forms. Although I personally see these developers coding some iPod games or perhaps some part of a future operating system, there’s also the possibility Apple will just create a game or two, possible for other consoles, just to see if it’s worth their while going down that route. Even then that would be going against what Apple stand for, but it’s more likely than them creating a computer console that will lose them millions of dollars.

So what’s your view? Do you think Apple would and could create a profitable computer console? Are these games developers doing exactly what I’ve just said, coding future operating systems or maybe developing a couple of iPod games? Or are they going to develop their own games to play on other computer consoles, such as the PS3 and Xbox 360?


  • FYI: Nintendo has made money on each and every piece of hardware it’s ever sold.  That is, they don’t sell it at a loss.  I doubt the Virtual Boy made them much money, but on a per unit basis, a portion of that 179.95 USD was profit.

    This is not neccesarily the case, while it may be that they do not sell units “at a loss”, meaning the parts cost more then the price of the unit, they still have to recoup R&D costs like everyone else.

    Also, Chickenitz, while you criticize MS’s “gigantic controller”, the Xbox controller is generally regarded as the best of the major console’s (unless you count the Wii), the real problem with the Xbox was it’s gigantic case.

    Personally i think that Apple entering the console market would be a fairly gigantic corporate mistake. While there are flaws in the consoles currently available, i can’t see them producing a console which blows the other’s out of the water. Furthermore the costs of entry into the console market are enormous, and while Apple is certainly in much better shape thanks to the Ipod, they do not have MS’s cash to force there way into the Market.

    More likely they are simply trying to position the Mac as a gaming machine. Of all the apps which are not available on Mac, signing deals with a few publishers would vastly increase their appeal to the gaming segment of the market.

    Note: It can be said that the Gaming segment of the PC market competes most directly with Apple, even though gaming on Mac’s is almost inexistant. Since Alienware and co. closely match apple’s pricepoints and sense of style.

    simo66 had this to say on Dec 08, 2006 Posts: 78
  • My point was that there are other business models in the console market than selling the system at a loss to inflate the user base so that they can make their money off of software royalties.

    The Xbox Controller S is, with it’s concave analog sticks, I agree, one of the best controllers I’ve used (aside from the white and black buttons) and was one of the reasons why I picked the original Xbox as the one console I purchased this generation (the other main factor being Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic).

    The original Xbox controller though, WAS gigantic.  This was considered one of the reasons for the Xbox failing right fgrom the get go in Japan.  It seemed to be modeled partly on the Dreamcast controller (with the 2 memory card slots) and partly on the Microsoft game pads that they had released for their Dirt Bike game on the PC (which was also pretty big). 

    The Xbox 360 is trying to do everything.  It’s a HD Gaming console, it has an online marketplace for small games, and it has TV shows and HD movies.  And the base model costs the same as the iTV. 

    The Wii’s goal is to be a piece of disruptive technology, co-existing with the other consoles instead of directly competing.  It’s offering a different sort of experience, one concentrating solely on gaming.

    The iTV is also a disruptive product, a PVR without the R.  Like I said, all Apple needs to do is step aside and allow others to step in and develop for the platform.  If none of the big publishers wanted in, they could shop to small development studios, who would be happy to develop for an emerging platform where they could be noticed and take in a larger piece of the pie without dealing with the game publishers, something that is happening already on the Live Marketplace. 

    Arguably this is also the route that Bungie took by developing for the Mac in the first place, as the PC market at the time was extremely crowded making it hard to get noticed.

    As for building the Mac as a gaming platform, perhaps Apple should sign up for the whole XNA thingamajig.

    Chicken2nite had this to say on Dec 11, 2006 Posts: 79
  • The iTV is also a disruptive product, a PVR without the R.  Like I said, all Apple needs to do is step aside and allow others to step in and develop for the platform.

    Doesn’t it seem like it should be possible to develop an iTV-like box that can stream either all of your iTunes content from your Mac AND/OR all of your WMP content from Windows?  They make printers that work for both.  They make WMC extenders.  What’s so hard about it that after all this time we don’t have such a device?

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Dec 11, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • What pisses me off is that Microsoft only allows you to sync with the xbox 360 if you have a Windows Media Center Edition PC, which is total bs.  They have the number one operating system and (so far) the number one next gen console, and if they would just open it up a little bit then could have great integration, but instead they are compartmentalizing the market, similar to what they did with the Zune by ignoring PlaysForSure. 

    Honestly I’d love to see Google come out with a set top box, keeping the price down either through selling it at a loss or leaving out high definition video (since both YouTube and Google Video don’t support more than blown up 320x240).  That way they could strike a deal with the content creators to distribute their content and give them a cut of the ad revenue.  It could be a no hassle on demand service, where all you would need is the box and a net connection. 

    My hope would be that some developer make something akin to the Xbox Media Center which could be installed on a hacked Xbox, where you can view DivX videos and the like, except do it for the PS3 and include as many codecs and file formats as possible.  That’s the sort of thing which would make that system worth buying IMO, but now I’m just repeating myself some more.

    Chicken2nite had this to say on Dec 12, 2006 Posts: 79
  • aha.  After a little digging, I found the app that I had heard about months ago.  It’s called Connect360 and it tricks the xbox into thinking your mac is a Media Center Windows machine.  The catch is you would need to convert your files into WMV and WMA to get video to play, something you would need Flip4Mac to do.

    Chicken2nite had this to say on Dec 12, 2006 Posts: 79
  • If I’m not mistaken, they now allow you to sync with WMP 11 on non-WMC PCs.  Could be wrong about that, but that was my understanding.

    The catch is you would need to convert your files into WMV and WMA to get video to play

    Screw that.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Dec 12, 2006 Posts: 2220
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