Could Apple Kill the Console Era? A Rebuttal

On Wednesday Oct. 13th he spoke at the WTIA TechNW conference in Seattle and warned of Apple to “launch a living room product that redefines people’s expectations really strongly and the notion of a separate console platform will disappear.” He didn’t really appear to be all that happy about the idea as well, mentioning “I’m worried that the things that traditionally have been the source of a lot of innovation are going,” said Newell. “There’s going to be an attempt to close those off so somebody will say ‘I’m tired of competing with Google, I’m tired competing with Facebook, I’ll apply a console model and exclude the competitors I don’t like from my world.’” And don’t get me started on how hypocritical it is for him to bring up how closed Apple is, I’ll leave it to Gamasutra to explain all that though. He’s also pretty sure the that console business is pretty safe… for now. But apparently this is inevitable.

I disagree.

Now maybe this is my bias, seeing how I primarily play games through consoles. But I don’t see them disrupting that well. Apple is doing great at disrupting markets that haven’t found their way yet. New markets that need leaders (Mp3 players, Smart Phones and Tablets). Or they’re saving markets that are in their death beds (Newspapers, Music Industry).

The console market has leaders and they are doing very well. To disrupt the market would mean Apple need to disrupt the disrupter. Apple would really have to fuck with Nintendo. I think Apple could really compete with Microsoft and Sony. They have the same mentality when it comes to bringing the living room together (although Microsoft certainly is the best at it right now).

“Apple would really have to fuck with Nintendo.”

Much like how Apple does not play by the rules of the computing world (or makes them up as they go), Nintendo would be a giant roadblock for Apple to surpass. Even if it’s a bad generation for Nintendo (N64 or Gamecube), it doesn’t matter because they have the best 1st party line up of any contender. Something Apple doesn’t know anything about. When it comes to platforms for which to sell your games on it will always come down to what the games are and how awesome are they.


The Apple Pippin, Don’t remember it? That’s fine, no one does.


If Apple does get around that, they have Microsoft to contend with as well. MS has the best set top box right now when it comes to offering the most options. Hell this fall they will be offering cable TV options. I could imagine some genuine ways for Apple to toe in to the market. But the Xbox is already here. I already own over 70 odd Arcade titles and enough content that I don’t want to give up. Why would I move consoles (other than the fact that I face the same problem when switching Smart Phones with Apple’s  own App Market)? Now if Apple moves all my content in the Cloud over, they have a fighting chance.

Finally though, lets imagine an Apple game console. And while we’re at it, lets try not to remember the ill fated Apple Pippin. First off the very first Apple console would sell like hotcakes because it’s made by Apple. I like to call these products Betas because in 9 months time, Apple will release a successor that is exactly what the first one should have been from the get go. It was that way with the iPhone and the iPad. That trend would continue.

Also how much would this thing end up costing? My iPhone starts at $200 and I would like to buy an iPad but I can’t even afford one of those at $500. Then they’re going to release a new one every year? I personally prefer the 5 year (and currently more) cycle that consoles have. I don’t have to unload a ton of money but maybe twice a decade. I know, the argument would be that if I only have one console to purchase it would really be that much of a burden for the console to be that much more expensive. Well that may be true to people like myself who buy more than one console. But as a kid, I got one console growing up. I don’t see a parent, unless they’re gamers too, shelling out $600+ for a game system. I mean look at the PS3 launch for a great example.

They don’t have the games, they don’t have enough to compete as a set top box with Microsoft and unless they take a major loss to begin with they can’t compete with prices. I just don’t see it happening.

Bryan Belcher

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