Even though Tim Cook and Apple say that the Apple TV is really just a hobby right now, people are scared of it. Intel’s launching a competing product later this year. Samsung’s rushing to get more content on their SmartTVs, and Microsoft and Sony are probably going to announce new consoles this year that will appeal to casual users.
Apple TV really doesn’t do a lot right now other than streaming movies and music to your TV, but it has the potential to become a killer product. Xbox’s founder, Nat Brown recognizes the power of Apple TV and says that if Apple wanted to, it could easily destroy the Xbox, Playstation, and Wii U.
In a recent blog post, Brown cited numerous problems with the Xbox which open the door for Apple to come in and destroy it. Namely, Brown thinks the UI sucks, and Microsoft hasn’t catered to indie developers. You can’t write a game for Xbox using your PC and $100 worth of tools, but you can for iOS.
Apple’s embraced indie developers and given them a place to earn some cash even though they don’t have the development power of huge game studios. In Brown’s eyes, that’s a dangerous weapon Apple could use against the console gaming industry.
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.
There are a couple of ways Apple could morph the Apple TV into a gaming platform. They could just stream gameplay from iPads and iPhones to your TV over AirPlay like they do now and add some advanced features. Another scenario is if Apple added some extra hardware to the Apple TV to make it more powerful. Of course that’d cost a bit more money for consumers, but it might be worth it, says Brown.
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.
Even though Xbox was originally designed to be a trojan horse for the living room, where Microsoft could eventually offer customers more hardware, better software, and rich content, the company has been more inclined to coast on their past successes rather than continue innovating and expanding the platform through exclusive content deals and indie game development. And if the Father of the Xbox is right, it’s probably going to cost them in the long run.
Brown’s blog post goes into more depth of why Xbox is failing, and it’s an interesting read. You can get the full run down right here.