Friday, February 15, 2013

Apple TV vs Xbox/Playstation

I saw this article, The Fall TV Lineup May Include Apple Dominating Gaming,  and wanted to comment, because I couldn't help but disagree.

The author makes the argument that an Apple TV would completely crush Xbox, PS3, Wii, etc.

Here are some of the arguments in the article:
Apple is going to dominate where their rivals cannot simply because of the support of small, third-party app developers.
That the Apple TV is already nearly powerful enough to run [games like Call of Duty]. Perhaps not the highest of the high end, but give it a year or two. That’s the thing: Apple will likely push yearly hardware (and software) updates for anything they do. Microsoft has not updated the Xbox in over 7 years. Huge mistake.

the audience for non-hardcore games when Apple opens up an Apple TV SDK will be much larger than the audience for the hardcore games.

Apple will not win this space by playing the game that Microsoft, Sony, and to some extent, Nintendo, are playing. They will win by changing the rules of the game. And that game is all about developers, developers, developers, developers.
I disagree with these based on one major theory:

The TV is not a casual entertainment device, it is a serious one.

People spend a lot of money on better sound, better definition TVs, etc. because they want a much higher quality experience when they sit down.

They pay a premium on cable, on video streaming, and movie disks (i.e. blue ray vs. DVD) simply for the privilege of experiencing this higher quality content.

On phones, people can play Angry Birds or Words With Friends in 5 minute increments, but I don't believe people do that on a TV.

This isn't to say there isn't a casual market for this.  After all, the Wii sold 100 million units.  There is a market for the casual, but is it one that can destroy the Xbox or Playstation?  I'm skeptical.  This is not a world where a Zynga can thrive, it is one where an Activision can thrive, where investing $50 million in the development of a game results in huge sales and profit.

Now, this isn't to say there won't be people that develop the $50 million dollar game for the Apple TV, I'm sure they will.  But will they develop it only for Apple TV or also for Xbox & Playstation?  If you're willing to put $50 million into the development of a game, I can't imagine it being for only one platform.

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