Why Apple Should Create a Gaming Console

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Apple attempted to create a game console in 1996 named “Pippin” and that turned out to be a footnote in gaming history. However, today’s Apple is a very different company. what we think should make a console.

Nothing but rumors

There are always rumors floating around about new products that Apple is working on that will help it disrupt a market it is not currently a part of. Sometimes these rumors turn out to be true, but we have yet to see any real evidence of an Apple AR headset, electric car, or TV. There are also rumors of an Apple game console, similar to the Nintendo Switch. This rumor also doesn’t have any evidence we’ve seen to back it up, but we think it’s actually a great idea for Apple to make a games console.

Apple has the market (and the money)

While basic gamers may think that the big console brands like Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation are making the biggest profits in the video game market. However, thanks to the lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games, it has been revealed that Apple’s video game profits exceed those of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. combined. In other words, Apple is already a major player in the gaming market, but it does not yet have a dedicated gaming hardware platform.

Considering that Apple is either (depending on the day of the week) the most or the second most valued company in the world, it certainly has the cash reserves to make a dedicated gaming console a success. Combined with the profits already generated by games in the Apple ecosystem, officially entering the console space seems like a logical way to expand this part of Apple’s business.

Apple has the hardware

A MacBook M1.
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Apple has now completely switched to its own CPU and GPU hardware. Called “Apple Silicon,” you’ll find internal hardware in every Apple device other than the desktop Mac Pro workstation, with an Apple Silicon version slated for a future release.

Consider the Apple M1 System on a Chip (SoC) found in the latest 13-inch MacBooks Pro and Air, iPad Pro, and Mac Mini. The M1 processor is comparable to Intel Core i7s and even i9s found in Intel MacBooks and the GPU is in the same performance class as the base PlayStation 4 model. The M1 can also run without active cooling, this is how it was implemented in the MacBook Air M1 and the iPad Pro. Consider that the much less powerful Nintendo Switch needs active cooling to maintain stable performance and has relatively short battery life.

The Apple GPUs in the M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs are in the same performance class as the latest heavy-duty consoles from Sony and Microsoft. In short, Apple has the material to make a competitive console. Whether it’s a handheld or a home console.

Apple has the software

Apple Arcade on an iPhone.
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Apple has worked tirelessly to make its software ecosystem user-friendly for gamers and game developers.

The App Store is basically the same as the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation Store, or Xbox Storefront. It is a walled garden where users have to buy games and the platform holder takes a cut. The main difference is that you can still buy physical games for today’s consoles, although the winds are certainly blowing towards a fully digital future.

Apple also offers a subscription gaming service in the form of Apple Arcade, much like console brands do. It doesn’t yet have the substance of something like Microsoft’s Game Pass, but in the mobile space, it offers the most organized selection of bug-free mobile gaming titles like in-app purchases, microtransactions, and gaming. advertising.

Apple also has its own graphics API (Metal) and an existing development environment. There are games on iOS that use the same game engines as console games. Although they are relatively rare, you can also play at a number of console ports such as Grid Autosport or The Talos Principle.

Not only can you play these games, but Apple has standardized support for controllers on its devices. This means any game on iOS with controller support must works with controllers certified by Apple. This includes controllers for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series consoles. It started with Apple’s MFi (Made for iPhone / iPod / iPad) program, which unified support for third-party controllers, and is today the most comprehensive mobile controller standard.

Apple (sort of) already has consoles

A gamepad and an Apple TV.
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If you think about it, there isn’t a fundamental difference between playing on a device like the Apple TV and a video game console. The same goes for connecting an Xbox or PlayStation controller to an iPad and loading a game. The gaming experience on Apple’s mobile and connected devices already feels like a console and, of course, consoles meet them midway. -path by offering streaming applications.

At this point, you might be wondering why Apple needs a dedicated console if its devices are already close. This is a good point to raise, but there are currently a few issues with how games work on Apple devices.

First of all, unlike a game console, your mobile games may crash or stop working if you update your device. The worst example came when Apple dropped support for 32-bit apps. All the developers who thought it wasn’t worth updating their games were leaving gamers out. It’s not like switching from one console generation to another, users lost access to software on their existing devices, even though the apps were running before the OS update.

Second, although Apple devices offer good gaming performance, they are not specifically designed for it. There are software and hardware features and implementations that hold these devices together. If Apple created a dedicated console, they could, for example, remove the low-power cores and use that space for more GPU cores. The best version of iOS games would live on the Apple console.

Having a dedicated Apple console also changes the incentives for developers, who now have a target platform with (presumably) long-term support and stability. Ultimately, making your platform attractive to developers is key, because a console without games is a clipboard.

Apple does not (yet) have the games

This brings us to the first big problem with Apple’s idea of ​​making a console: where are the games? Unlike the big console companies, Apple does not currently make its own games. It may pay developers to make games for services like Apple Arcade, but there are no proprietary Apple game developers.

In recent times, Microsoft has embarked on a developer shopping spree, attracting big franchises such as earthquake, Fall, and Ancient scrolls, whose future versions will now live exclusively on its platforms. The final piece of the puzzle for an Apple console would be the creation or acquisition of game development studios. It would also be quite difficult to hide! So if Apple starts posting game development jobs or buying studios, the odds in favor of an Apple console increase.