Just How Good Is Apple’s Gaming Platform?
Apple is extremely well known for its innovation, but also for it’s obsessive need for ultimate control of everything. That control has been highly criticized, but it never ceases to succeed in bringing in customers from all over the world. One of the key aspects of the iPhone, the most popular cellular phone on the planet, is the App Store, which has drawn in billions of app downloads, and nearly a trillion dollars in revenue for the Cupertino based company.
People love the App Store, because of it’s simplicity. People also love the games that can be downloaded on the App Store. In fact, games are without a doubt the most popular genre of downloadable content from Apple, and it has captivated people like no other platform ever could. Apple has went from a hardware-based company looking to excel itself by creating great computers, and having seemingly no intension of breaking into the gaming market at all, to dominating the market share within the gaming industry. Some people may argue that the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad don’t count when it comes time to compare with the heavy hitters like Nintendo, Microsoft’s XBOX, or Sony.
You’d be a fool not to.
The company’s App Store contains outstanding games that captivate all ages. Titles such as Angry Birds, Tiny Wings, Cut the Rope, and DoodleJump bring hours of joy and entertaining puzzle-like fun to our mobile life that can be enjoyed by everyone. For more serious gamers, high powered, multiplayer action is just a download away with Infinity Blade, the N.O.V.A. series, or the upcoming “Epoch” will tickle your fancy, with futuristic robot fighting action from the makers of BioShock. Games are a very important factor of the App Store, and it has allowed Apple to take over the gaming industry, stealing customers away from Nintendo and Sony. It’s their main source of revenue from the App Store, and they have an award-winning platform in millions of people’s hands at any given time.
But why hasn’t Apple done anything with this? Why haven’t they explored gaming?
Apple is a hardware maker, and they have done a tremendous job at building great devices that people love. However, Apple doesn’t consider games on the App Store to be a big deal, simply calling it a key component in their App Store strategy. They haven’t taken it seriously, and they should. With their expertise in software development, and more financial resources now than Exxon Mobil, there is no reason not to consider moving themselves into an industry that has already accepted them. It would be easy for Apple to get involved directly into the gaming world, and it wouldn’t really even need a huge investment of time, or money.
The future of gaming lies in downloads, there is no doubt about this. Sony has found this out with their Playstation Store, hosting game demos and full-featured downloads of today’s hottest games that can be purchased directly from the device. People won’t want to drive down to BestBuy, GameStop, or Walmart to grab the latest game when it’s released, if they are able to click a few buttons and grab it in a few minutes with a download. Sure, Sony has an advantage right now with their Blu-Ray players, which can spin discs capable of delivering nearly 50GB of information, but Apple sees the future doesn’t lie with Blu-ray, and wouldn’t care about including that function ever. Downloads are where it’s at, and Apple already has the most efficient method of software distribution set up with the App Store.
So what would it take to get Apple into gaming? What kind of money and time would they need to invest?
Apple has the advantage at this point to being able to enter a market with little adjustments to their current configuration of devices. They are easily an accidental gaming giant, potentially, if they accept that possibility for themselves. Their biggest advantage at this point is distribution, because of the App Store. Now, Apple has released their devices with streaming capabilities, including Air Play on all current iOS devices. Is it so unreasonable to see our iPhone 6, or iPhone 7 containing the capabilities necessary to send full-HD gaming graphics and sound to our television sets as we use the device to control it? A device capable of doing that is undoubtedly going to kick console ass, and there wouldn’t be a single way to stop it without playing in the same market. Of course, this would once again present the same problem that the iPad did for some current generation tablets: Competition is entering into a market that Apple basically owns (nearly 90% of global tablet traffic comes from an iPad).
I’ve always thought that Apple should stay out of the video game market… After considering their distribution system, Air Play, and their huge market share of gamers already, I’ve changed my mind. Actually, I’d go as far as to say that Apple would likely miss a golden opportunity to take control of a serious market of gamers. Of course, “hard core” gamers will always take the PC and console games over the iOS platform any day, but Apple shouldn’t care about those guys. Apple should look to the majority of average users, as they always have with their mobile devices. With those people, Apple will do very well.