AppleTV as a future game console?

Conceptually, Apple could create a “pro” AppleTV and maybe put an M1/M2 MAX chip in it. Then it would have plenty of processing and power for just about any game.

The main problem with the concept isn’t so much the hardware, it’s the MONEY. What dedicated game consoles have and what PC games have that Apple games don’t is a massive stream of money to “sponsor” the creation of AAA games. It’s not so much the flow of money at launch and post-launch of players buying games, but what you might call the “seed” money to essentially buy exclusive AAA game creations for consoles and PCs.

This is very visible through the acquisitions of major gaming houses by whom: Sony & Microsoft. They buy the big game producers, take those teams on their payrolls and then own the spectacular game releases for their systems.

  • What was the last major game company acquired by Apple?
  • What was the last major AAA game that Apple bought exclusively?

That’s pretty much the only problem with AAA games on Apple hardware – Apple TV or Mac. If Apple indulged in gaming as the original video creation for AppleTV+, you’d have a stream of AAA games for Mac and iOS/tvOS etc.

Too many of us have some sort of delusion that programmers choose to code based on hardware power: “If Apple built an AppleTV M1 Pro/Max/Ultra, the big game programmers would definitely switch to coding for that hardware super powerful.” But that’s not it at all. Just like Apple, programmers want to make as much MONEY as possible. Coding for a slice of all AppleTV owners, which is a slice of all macOS owners, which is a slice of all iOS owners, probably doesn’t make them a fraction of what they can get to code for middling PC specs+… and certainly not what they get to code for a Sony or Microsoft sponsored exclusive.

This problem wouldn’t even be solved by charging wealthy gamers $100 per game, $500 per game, or $1,000 per game…unless a lot of those gamers were going to buy a “pro” AppleTV. and then pay much more than the same game on PS5, XBOX or PC.

To “fix” this, Apple needs to allocate a stack of money in the vault, just like they allocate a stack of money to AppleTV+ for video. Instead, every news about the acquisition of this “major game developer” is pretty much always Sony, Microsoft, or one of the major game houses that are still independent but with extensive “exclusive” relationships with Sony and/or or Microsoft. What’s the news from Apple and major game developers: Ongoing legal war fighting over part of a commission.

Do a search for “how much does it cost to develop a AAA video game?” The answer might surprise you. But what you’ll also learn is that for the money Apple spent acquiring Beats, they could sponsor around 60 AAA games for Apple devices. Would 60 AAA games establish Apple gaming significantly? Seems likely. Is what they spent on Beats too much for Apple? Obviously not. Now do a search for “how much does Apple spend on AppleTV+ content” and consider the 2 figures head-to-head.

More simply: “show us the money”. Who’s doing this now is NOT entities interested in games for AppleTV, iOS, pro/max/ultra, etc. Apple can solve this problem by showing the money to programmers just as they show the money to video producers now…more money than they can get from the alternatives. Apple clearly has the cash to compete here…but consistently lacks the will/interest.