Xbox Founding Engineer Says Apple TV With Third-Party Apps Could “Kill” Gaming Consoles

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Apple has been calling the Apple TV a “hobby” ever since it was first introduced, but what if the device had much more potential beyond accessing content (TV shows, movies, music) from the iTunes Store. Its AirPlay capabilities have already shown us that beaming games off your iOS device to your TV’s large screen is a bit like console gaming, but not many games take advantage of that.

Xbox founding engineer Nat Brown says that Apple could easily build upon its existing ecosystem to destroy gaming consoles like the PlayStation, Wii and Xbox.

He highlights how indie developers find it very difficult to develop games for Xbox, and points out that Apple will kill gaming consoles like Xbox, Playstation and Wii-U if it allows third-party apps on the Apple TV platform. He notes that Microsoft is missing out on a huge opportunity by not opening up the Xbox platform to smaller developers.

Why can’t I write a game for xBox tomorrow using $100 worth of tools and my existing Windows laptop and test it on my home xBox or at my friends’ houses? Why can’t I then distribute it digitally in a decent online store, give up a 30% cut and strike it rich if it’s a great game, like I can for Android, for iPhone, or for iPad?

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Apple is already a games competitor broadly, even if Apple-TV isn’t yet a game platform or a console. Mobile generally and iPad specifically have grown the total hours of game play and grown the overall game market. Only in the last 18-24mo has that overall growth turned from a segment-expanding rising tide to a tsunami swamping the console game vendor profit boats hitched to the docks. It is accelerating. Apple, if it chooses to do so, will simply kill Playstation, Wii-U and xBox by introducing an open 30%-cut app/game ecosystem for Apple-TV. I already make a lot of money on iOS – I will be the first to write apps for Apple-TV when I can, and I know I’ll make money. I would for xBox if I could and I knew I would make money.  Maybe a “console-capable” Apple-TV isn’t $99, maybe it’s $199, and add another $79 for a controller. The current numbers already say a lot, even with Apple-TV not already an open console: 5.3M sold units in 2012, 90% year-over-year growth — vs. xBox 360 — about 9M units in 2012, 60% YoY decline.

He adds that the user experience on the Xbox isn’t good either:

xBox’s secondary critical problem is that the device OS and almost the entire user experience outside the first two levels of the dashboard are creaky, slow, and full-of-shit. From built-in update and storage features to what they have allowed through negligence to appear in games

Apple has been long rumored to open up the Apple TV platform for developers, but as of now, nothing like that has happened. Android is making an entry into the console gaming market as well through Ouya, a $99 gaming console.

Do you think iPad and iPhone games are in parity with games on the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3?

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