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Apple Games

How Apple Is Preventing the Apple TV From Becoming a Console Rival (redbull.com) 129

An anonymous reader writes: Apple's new set top box is on sale now, and has launched with several high profile games in the new tvOS App Store, including Guitar Hero Live and PS4 hit Transistor. However, as one writer points out, the Apple TV is still not an adequate console replacement, and it's not because of the graphics. Instead, several software issues and restrictions issued by Apple itself prevent developers from creating blockbuster exclusives for the platform, including the requirement that all games be playable using the bundled remote, lack of support for four players, and the 200MB initial app download limit. If these remain in place, can the Apple TV become a viable games platform, where the Ouya and PlayStation TV have failed before?
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How Apple Is Preventing the Apple TV From Becoming a Console Rival

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  • No. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That is all.

  • Not even one week. 5 days. it's entirely likely that the apple tv will continue to gain new features, like 4-player and higher downloads. The remote thing doesn't sound so awful to me, it means that people can download and try out games even if they don't have a controller...

    I see a lot of possiblities in this. One big diff will be when you can control apple radio with siri, the way you can on the iphone. a problem tho with apple radio playing on a tv is that tv speakers usually suk where as stereo speakers

    • expanding on this, if apple can get the content deals in place, then they could become a netflix-slayer overnight with a new apple movies service...

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

        Based on what Apple's streaming music service has been able to slay competitors, Netflix has nothing to worry about.

        Netflix already has a install base on just about everything out there. Apple's streaming service would likely be limited to Apple TV, iPads, and iPhones, and would go up against established players Ruku, Chromecast, and Fire TV as well as all the little guys, embedded applications, tablets/phones (including Apple's own), etc that work with Netflix. Again, I don't think Netflix has anything to

        • Based on what Apple's streaming music service has been able to slay competitors, Netflix has nothing to worry about.

          I'm not sure what sources you're looking at; but 2 seconds conversation with Google seems to show quite a different picture of Apple Music's success so far [appadvice.com].

          • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
            There was nothing in there comparative, nor iOS wide. That's just that a lot of people who bought the iWatch who continued to keep a subscription. Did it hurt Spotify? Not at all? Then irrelevant, as the GP asserted. Yes a few first-adopters of the iWatch kept a music service, but it didn't slay competitors.
          • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

            How do you define success? As of late October, Apple music had 15 million users, of which 6.5m were paying [fortune.com] and 40% of users dropped their subscription after the free trial ran out. iTunes has 800m registered accounts so that's less that 1/10th of 1% paying customers for their user base, or just under 2% of their user base that even tried it during the free intro. By those measures, yeah, not all that much of a success especially since Apple wanted 100m subscribers [pastemagazine.com].

            Spotify has 75m users of which 20m are p

            • Spotify has 75m users of which 20m are paying

              ...and it has had since 2008, IIRC, to get to that point; so...?

    • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @12:26PM (#50863833) Homepage Journal
      This presupposes that Apple even wants to be in the game console business. I think Microsoft is still in the red overall for the XBox franchise, and the Ooya is a stark reminder that nonportable microconsoles are of limited appeal. If all it lets you do is play the same games you can play on your phone why bother? Sure the screen is bigger, but the graphics aren't much better and you're monopolizing the TV.
      • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@ g m a i l .com> on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @12:46PM (#50864009) Homepage Journal

        Sure the screen is bigger, but the graphics aren't much better and you're monopolizing the TV.

        But sometimes you want to monopolize the TV because that's more comfortable than trying to fit two to four adult bodies around a 19 to 24 inch desktop PC monitor, especially in games where sharing a screen doesn't mean splitting it. The idea of OUYA was to put indie games on a screen big enough for more than one person. It failed as a product but succeeded in getting competitors such as Sony Computer Entertainment to open up more to indie companies.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Ouya flopped because the games were broken, the controller was shit, and the Ouya console itself was weaker than a three year old mobile-phone. It's sole success was emulation, you know, running pirated ROMs.

      • Sure the screen is bigger, but the graphics aren't much better and you're monopolizing the TV.

        It's my damned TV, my HDTV and phone have pretty much the same resolution, and sitting in my comfy chair is far more comfortable than holding a portable device.

        So, why wouldn't they have this functionality?

        • maybe GP is a commie hippie who feels that "using" anyting is monopolizing it because it prevents others from using it, so possessions are iherently monopolistic, as is private property in general. all part of the capitalist conspiracy!

      • I think Microsoft is still in the red overall for the XBox franchise, and the Ooya is a stark reminder that nonportable microconsoles are of limited appeal. If all it lets you do is play the same games you can play on your phone why bother?

        The problem with Ouya wasn't that nobody wanted what they promised. The problem was that nobody wanted what they were selling. The controllers sucked, the consoles overheated, they were pinned to two resolutions and if you plugged them into any device that didn't advertise those resolutions then they would fail all the way down to 640x480 even though the device has a perfectly good scaler RIGHT IN THERE and it can handle basically any resolution you like, render internally at whatever resolution you like, a

    • The problem with requiring developers to let people use the bundled remote is that it may require drastic compromises in gameplay to accommodate that. Some game that originally required four face button and two shoulder buttons could end up having to cut functionality to work, or retool mechanics to do things automatically, which may require even more work. Swipe and motion gestures can make up for some of this, but heavily action oriented games will potentially suffer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by macs4all ( 973270 )

      I see a lot of possiblities in this. One big diff will be when you can control apple radio with siri, the way you can on the iphone. a problem tho with apple radio playing on a tv is that tv speakers usually suk where as stereo speakers are often better. I'm not sure if there's a way to direct the sound output within the apple tv itself.

      Who uses their TV speakers?!? Yuck!!!

      Although I would have personally liked to see more audio-out options on the Apple TV (at LEAST a TOSLink Port, guys!), the sound comes out along with the rest of the HDMI signals (just like with an HDMI-equipped DVD/BD Player). And if you have a Receiver built in the past 5 years as part of your Entertainment system, it will be able to "Extract" the Audio from the HDMI signals (actually the audio is on its own pair of wires in the HDMI connector).

      Or, if your audio ge

    • We're talking about Apple-TV, right? So, questions: If one desires a mule to haul one's load across hilly country, buys a goat, then bitches that the goat doesn't carry that much, won't go that far, and makes obnoxious noises, who's at fault, the goat?
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      There is no download limit. I downloaded a 65 MB app. Before it was playable, it was 1.2GB. It downloaded much more than the limit before it would play, but must be under 200 MB for the downloader that spawns it. A 2 MB app with a 20GB update is within the rules, from what I've seen. So I'm curious what the rules really are on it.
    • a problem tho with apple radio playing on a tv is that tv speakers usually suk where as stereo speakers are often better. I'm not sure if there's a way to direct the sound output within the apple tv itself.

      You're thinking about this in the wrong way. If you have a decent-ish home entertainment setup, you'll have a big black box called a receiver which all the HDMI signals are routed through (from Apple TV, your PVR, Bluray player, etc), which then feeds your TV. Most of them have a pass-through mode th
    • They can make a lot of software tweaks to add missing features, but they'll still be stuck with that A8 processor and either 32 GB or 64 GB of storage. That alone will be enough to limit the console to games with roughly the complexity of an XBox 360 or Playstation 3. That's not bad for a $199 box, but you won't see many AAA titles any time soon.

    • What kinda' TV do you have that sounds so bad? Not sure if the new Apple TV has this feature, but there's a new version of Chromecast that's meant to be plugged into your stereo.
  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @12:20PM (#50863759) Homepage
    Yes, but does it have more space than a Nomad?
    • does it have more space than a Nomad?

      Yes.

      The biggest game for the Sega Nomad [wikipedia.org] was probably Capcom's Super Street Fighter II, at 5 MB. The biggest executable for Apple's tvOS is 40 times that according to the summary, and that's even before the game downloads its asset pack on first launch.

      • by Karlt1 ( 231423 )

        Yes.

        The biggest game for the Sega Nomad [wikipedia.org] was probably Capcom's Super Street Fighter II, at 5 MB. The biggest executable for Apple's tvOS is 40 times that according to the summary, and that's even before the game downloads its asset pack on first launch.

        That's not the Nomad they were talking about.....

        http://slashdot.org/story/01/1... [slashdot.org]

        "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

  • Whaaaat? So I can't immediately take up the all of the available space on your apple tv with my awesome calculator app? It's only 30GB but the graphics are awesome!

    In all seriousness Fallout 4 is supposedly going to be a 28GB download. But the 50MB cellular limit on iphone/ipad is a pita.

  • The requirement to be able to play games using that stupid remote shows how little Apple knows about gaming.

    Fight for your bitcoins! [coinbrawl.com]

    • by hjf ( 703092 )

      Or, that's the whole point. Apple strives to give the best "user experience". Releasing a half-baked product is NOT in their business plan. Why would Apple advertise this device as a "gaming console"? To be mocked by Sony and Microsoft (and the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race)?

      • Mocked as a late Roku knockoff or knocked as a weak gaming console. What's the difference?

      • Or, that's the whole point. Apple strives to give the best "user experience". Releasing a half-baked product is NOT in their business plan. Why would Apple advertise this device as a "gaming console"? To be mocked by Sony and Microsoft (and the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race)?

        Show me where Apple is advertising the Apple TV as a "Gaming Console"? Just because they show that one of the Applications of the Apple TV is "Games" does not mean that they are saying "Time to throw away that XBox!"

        On the main Apple TV Product Page, there are four "vignettes". Only one of the four discusses Games. And it isn't the top one.

        On the Apple TV "site", there is indeed a "Games and More" Tab at the top, but again, it isn't the FIRST Tab, the content under that tab has Games mixed in with other

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      I haven't looked but I assume it's just a requirement that it can be used without an extra controller. However I bet most will not bother to make their apps work well with the included remote and will optimise it for a gaming controller anyway.

      Kind of like how some versions of guitar hero let you use the ps3 remote in substitution of the instrument controller. It's not practical but it works in a pinch.

  • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @12:27PM (#50863843)

    Seriously... is AppleTV being marketed as a video games console? No it isn't, nor has it ever been, at any point in time.

    Complaining about how a (more or less) advanced media player can't compete against flagship console devices that were *designed* to play all these fancy schmancy games, is like complaining that Lamborghini's cars arn't capable of flight because they refuse to add wings and connect a propeller to it's powerful engine.

    • Seriously... is AppleTV being marketed as a video games console? No it isn't, nor has it ever been, at any point in time.

      Complaining about how a (more or less) advanced media player can't compete against flagship console devices that were *designed* to play all these fancy schmancy games, is like complaining that Lamborghini's cars arn't capable of flight because they refuse to add wings and connect a propeller to it's powerful engine.

      I don't think think they are claiming that Apple TV would be a good console. They are complaining that for some nefarious reason Apple is refusing to compete in the console wars, probably due to some underhanded conspiracy they have supposedly cooked up with Sony, Microsoft and the gray aliens, to screw over the man^W gamer in the street ... or something like that (and don't ask me what the gray aliens have to do with it). This is Slashdot after all, when it comes to cooking up evil corporate conspiracy the

    • Thank you. The author missed the point. Apple is not interested in becoming a game platform rival. They are only interested in becoming the streaming media box of choice.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I think a lot of companies have realized that shitty "mobile" games are where the money is anyway now. Even big names like Namco are moving into that area. Those guys who make Candy Crush pull in over $1bn a year, for games that costs a fraction as much as a AAA console title to make.

    • You're missing the big picture. People are speculating the next big convergence in electronics will be between TV streaming/tuning hardware and game consoles. I wouldn't have called it a few years ago, but I'm starting to agree with them. The biggest capital expense for a gamer is purchasing the 3D hardware. With bandwidth increasing and costs coming down, streamed 3D games are becoming more feasible, where the hardware and its costs for many people are shared thus lowering overall costs.

      Your Lamborg
      • What convergence are you talking about? Is there something out there for TVs that you can't already do on a console?

      • Are you sure about that? 'Cuz my PS4 can already stream Netflix and Amazon Prime and I think it can stream Hulu. I'm pretty sure the PS3 could as well. And I doubt that the xBox would omit that functionality if Sony had it. The PS3 could play (some formats of) movies and music if I shared it from my computer to the network. I haven't tried that with the PS4 though because...

        ... as with the Netflix & Amazon apps, the UI for that feature sucks major ass. There's just no other way to put it. The P

  • Ouya (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KermodeBear ( 738243 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @12:28PM (#50863857) Homepage

    I had an Ouya console. It was inexpensive, had support for four wireless controllers, and was easy to use.

    The biggest problem was a lack of good content at launch. A vast majority of the content was cheap, buggy, and not entertaining. The Ouya folks let anyone throw crap up into the system, it seemed. It may have been more successful with less but higher quality content.

    • Re:Ouya (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @12:42PM (#50863969) Homepage Journal

      I had an Ouya console. It was inexpensive, had support for four wireless controllers, and was easy to use.

      I had an Ouya. It was prone to overheating, the first-generation controllers had wireless connection problems, the controller would go to sleep and the system would decide that my bluetooth keyboard was now controller #1, and that would persist after waking the controller up. It was a piece of garbage.

      The biggest problem was a lack of good content at launch.

      Oh yeah? Not the fact that they rewrote the dashboard twice and it still sucked?

  • The real answer is that Apple has never focused on games and gamers. There's no secret technical issue. They're making half-efforts. If they someday decide to care, then maybe they'll release a competitive solution.

    • The real answer is that Apple has never focused on games and gamers. There's no secret technical issue. They're making half-efforts. If they someday decide to care, then maybe they'll release a competitive solution.

      No, of course not [wikipedia.org].

  • Goodbye Nintendo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zoffdino ( 848658 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @12:42PM (#50863967)

    The Apple TV isn't marketed as a gaming console. It's advertised as a streaming box that also has games. The kind of simple whack-a-mole or platform-jumping games--the casual games. That is the same target audience with Nintendo's consoles. The iPhone/iPads are killing Nintendo's handheld devices, now the Apple TV is a threat to console too.

    The serious gamers, who are willing to pay full price for AAA titles, will always want top-notch graphics. That means a gaming PC, a PS4 or an Xbox. As good as ARM processors are, they can't beat high-end dedicated graphic cards.

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      Top notch graphics means a PC. The peasantboxes have strengths, including a huge base of games, but the cases where the graphics compare are only because they are designed first for the console, and then ported to PC.

      That being said- if this thing didn't require the use of remote for the games, there would be a gaming culture on it for certain.

    • by SJ ( 13711 )

      Except the Nintendo has up to 4 controllers and.. a proper* controller.

      *for varying definitions of proper.

    • by _merlin ( 160982 )

      I don't think you know what Nintendo's target audience actually plays. Their most successful franchises at the moment are Mario Bros (platforming), Mario Kart (racing), Legend of Zelda (action adventure) and Smash Bros (fighting). None of these would be playable with the Apple TV controller, and the 200MB limit would make load times for each level intolerably slow. There's no way they could take Nintendo's customers with what they've got.

  • Apple is so tied-up in giving you what they want to give you, that they have no interest in giving you what they want. Even as a TV console - can I play videos from a USB stick? Can I play via my computer without some convoluted iTunes tie-in? Can I get content from places other than the iTunes store? The answers to all these (at least historically) have been "no" - they're selling you their dream of "streamlining your experience" by doing everything as controlled by them - through them. They can't even bui
    • Can I play via my computer without some convoluted iTunes tie-in?

      I don't know what is so hard about "open iTunes on remote computer".

      But even if it were, you can use the Plex app on AppleTV to play media from remote systems.

      Or of course you can AirPlay form any Mac or iOS device to the AppleTV to play also...

  • by neilo_1701D ( 2765337 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @12:54PM (#50864085)

    When has Apple ever just dropped into a market? The last time I can remember was the Apple Newton; a device so far ahead of it's time it was a dismal failure in the marketplace.

    Just as the iPod begat the iPod Touch, which begat the iPhone, Apple will (if they're so inclined) only move slowly forwards, consolidating their position in each incremental market move. Moving into a market where they have no experience is simply not the Apple way.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Except when they dropped into the mp3 player, tablet and smartphone markets all of a sudden, of course.

      • You totally missed his point. There was already a decent market for mp3 players, tablets and smartphones when they created those offerings.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Would Apple be creating a market by releasing a console? News to me, turns out the game consoles I've played since I was a kid didn't exist until Apple could retroactively invent the product they were imitating decades later. I'll just be over waiting for that to happen.

      • by ddtmm ( 549094 )
        I agree
    • Nintendo is testing the mobile waters in iOS with their first game Miitomo. I'm willing to bet that Nintendo will dive into the 4th generation Apple TV mid to late in its life; after the Nintendo NX console flops like SEGA's Dreamcast. By the 5th gen Apple TV, Nintendo will be porting their entire lineup over to iOS. Yes, 5th generation will have a full Zelda and Mario title!

      As saturated as the gaming industry has been, at some point you're no longer marketable for a console only piece of hardware; and a me

  • by safetyinnumbers ( 1770570 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @12:55PM (#50864101)
    200Mb? Luxury. When I wer a lad, we ad to fit games in 6k

    Thu wuh no disk drives, we ad to fit hole thing onna tape.

    And thi dint av teams in them days, you ad to program by thi sen.
    • You had a tape?! Luxury! We have to make scratches on a broken bottle at the bottom of a lake.

  • by macs4all ( 973270 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @01:17PM (#50864279)
    They already offer the Nimbus Steel Series game controller [apple.com] as an AppleTV "Accessory" (even prominently showing it on the main AppleTV Product Page); so obviously, they don't have any illusions that the standard Siri Remote is going to be adequate for all games in all situations.

    What they don't want to do, is to create entire categories of games that have NO WAY of playing with the Siri Remote.

    As for the incremental download stuff, that is intended to avoid a frustrating wait (and unnecessary server load and download-cap teasing) while scene after scene, level after level, loads in, which most casual gamers won't even get to in that session.

    On the other hand, they didn't want to price themselves out of the settop-box market, by making the AppleTV cost as much as a PS4 or XBox 1.

    They made their engineering choices VERY wisely. This was NOT intended to be the next PS4/XBox. It was intended to be a Set Top Box that would let a couple of family-members play fairly nice games, but as only ONE of the types of uses, not in any way the central one, which is delivering streaming entertainment through your TV.

    Sorry, everything doesn't have to do everything equally well. That's why our DVD Players don't make Toast. Or, more properly, why you CAN make Toast in a "Toaster Oven"; but most of them pretty well suck as Toasters, compared to the dedicated appliance for that function.
  • First, I agree with the comments saying that it's not clear that Apple cares to enter that space. They probably don't want to.

    But if they do, they've got an advantage in that their update cycle is 5-7x faster than the normal console cycle. They can release a new Apple TV next year. And the year after that. They could release an Apple TV every 2 years and still have an update cycle that's 2-3x faster than Sony or Microsoft.

    • by laffer1 ( 701823 )

      This is the apple tv, not an iPad. Apple only releases one like every 3 years. That's still 2x the console market, but they also shipped something less powerful than a wii u.

      • You seriously think Apple aren't capable of increasing the rate at which they update the AppleTV?

        Whilst historically they've only updated about every 3 years, they have the resources to update every 6 months if they felt like it.

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