Kyle Orland writes a piece for Ars which I think has a few flaws, but is interesting to think about: Apple, the living room and gaming.
Apple has now sold more than 10 million Apple TVs, but the 5-year-old streaming box has often been referred to as a "hobby" inside Cupertino.
I am reminded of this recent Tim Cook quote:
“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook told Williams. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”
So the Apple TV has *recently gone from a “hobby” to an “area of intense interest”. Things are warming up.
Back to Kyle:
There are some things you can always seem to count on in the video game industry. Activision is always working on a new Call of Duty game. Ubisoft's Beyond Good and Evil sequel is always "just around the corner." The PlayStation 3 is constantly hitting its stride. And Apple is perpetually on the verge of releasing a living room video game console that will revolutionize everything.
I don’t think Apple is going to enter the console market in the same way Sony and Microsoft did. Apple is more of a general computing company: people can work and play games on their Macs, iPads and iPhones. Why would Apple restrict a living room product to just gaming? If the Apple TV sees an update soon (which seems likely), I see apps as the future.
I think what Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve, is trying to get at with the quote included in Kyle’s piece, is exactly that: imagine the effects apps had on the smartphone business happening to the living room. It would be huge.
Here’s Gabe’s exact quote:
“The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform. I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed-down living room platform emerging—I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room?”
I think Valve has a chance to do well in the living room, but Gabe is just concerned Apple will take all the pie.