Why Games are important for the new AppleTV

Angry Birds MockupChopper 2 MockupSuper Monkey Ball MockupNeed for Speed - Shift Mockup

Gaming on an iOS AppleTV will be huge and Apple should focus on it.

Using a controller that features a multitouch pad complete with gyroscope, compass and accelerometer that connects by Bluetooth to the TV will be the main form of input. An iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad could be used for even more precise control with a virtual joystick.

I first thought of this type of controller after seeing developer Majic Jungles, implementation with the highly successful Chopper 2 and how an iPhone could control an iPad sending it’s commands such as accelerometer and touch. Dave Frampton, the developer, also enabled TV out by the VGA cable, allowing for the iPad to sit like an AppleTV whilst the user could sit across the room controlling it. I spoke to Dave about his thoughts on AppleTV iOS games, with questions and answers below.

Would you adapt Chopper 2 to work with this device?

I definitely would if I could. It would be a great platform for Chopper 2, and would require minimal effort to port, so I’d be crazy not to take up the opportunity!

Would other developers look to Apple TV as a gaming device?

I imagine so. Some games would lend themselves to the port more than others. I can’t see it working particularly well with touch-orientated games, as it is difficult to focus on both a large screen and a touch screen based controller at the same time. However tilt based games and those with only swipe gestures or simple touch controls would work great.

Do you think it would be a competitor to the Wii for example due to a multi touch controller?

I don’t really feel I can speculate on how well such a platform would do, but I see no reason why Apple couldn’t come up with an iOS based box to plug into your TV that wouldn’t be just as fun to play, and rapidly offer as many or more games to chose from.

I’m not sure if Apple would ship it with some kind of touch screen controller or require you to have an iPhone, or some other thing I haven’t thought of, but the Wii proves that a unique control system coupled with a good selection of original games can compete with the graphical might of the traditional consoles.

I imagine that Apple would separate itself from the Wii in its type of controller quite substantially, and that we’d see many new control schemes and types of games and applications as a result.

Do you think games is something apple should be interested in and focus on it mainly?

I’m very hopeful that Apple create some kind of iOS based TV box designed to (amongst other things) be used as a gaming console. My guess is they’ve been playing with it for many years, and whether or not they decide that what they may have come up with is a viable product at some point is anyones guess.

But I’m sure there is a market there, I’m sure Apple are aware of it, and I only hope everything comes together so I can ship Chopper 2 for it, and attach one to my TV!

Chopper 2 - iPhone controls iPad

Above is Chopper 2’s implementation of an iPhone controller

The potential doesn’t just stop with Chopper 2, as the A4 chip and current graphics card can handle near GameCube graphics many types of games that are currently on iPad could be playable.

Games in my mockups, such as Angry Birds, Monkey Ball and Need for Speed would work amazingly with the controller I imagined using accelerometer and touch for accurate precision on the big screen.

The graphics would also be very reasonable on a 1280×720 TV screen, which is very similar to the 1024×768 of iPad which provides great HD graphics. However, as noted by Dave, I can’t see this device being capable of full gaming such as first person shooters, which would be very difficult to control.

New gaming could be imagined with apps from the App Store. Steering a car with the multi touch controller would be very similar to a Wii, but with even more precision using the gyro. If Apple handles this well they could potentially have a Wii “killer” and enter the console market as they have the handheld game market. The Wii only offers a few downloadable games the app store currently offers over 50,000 games that could be very easily adapted to work with the AppleTV.

Other advantages over the Wii would be touch on a controller, HD graphics, other apps, video content and that many people already have a remote with iPhone and iPod touch. If the rumoured price of $99 to $149 (about £89-£129), this would undercut the Wii’s price and be the cheapest console on the market with support of thousands of developers that could enter this market without shipping a boxed game.

I honestly think AppleTV with the right focus on price and games by Apple could sell millions in year one.

Apple need to step it up from a ‘hobby’ to a main business. They have with the phone and tablet markets –– making people need these devices for entertainment and consumption. A $149 AppleTV with the same internals as iPad with a multitouch, motion controller would be an amazing gaming device.

Check out my blog post on ‘Why Apps are important for the new AppleTV‘.

This blog post is also being featured on Touchaholics.com


About robertsammons


One comment

  1. If the new AppleTV was as interesting and multifunctioned as you describe, I would buy one tomorrow!

    Apple seem to have moved from making content creation devices to a focused approach on content consumption; and a revised AppleTV would add another string to their bow. I have a feeling that it will also have compatibility with iPad and iPhone to boot.

    Fantastic mock-ups, and a cool interview.

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