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Apple TV to dual as casual gaming device

post #1 of 64
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Apple's much anticipated Apple TV wireless set-top box will not only stream various types of media from Macs and PCs to widescreen TVs, but also serve as a casual gaming hub, the company appears to have inadvertently confirmed.

In releasing iTunes 7.1 on Monday, Apple began prepping users for the release of the $299 device, which was originally due in February but delayed at the last minute to the middle of March. The software will act as the central go-between for the hub and media stored on a personal computer, allowing users to sync movies, videos, podcasts and photos to the Apple TV in very much the same way they currently do with iPods. Similarly, they'll also be able run Apple TV in disk mode for manual file swapping.

What Apple has not yet said, but is quite apparent from Monday's iTunes release, is that Apple TV will also sport some rudimentary gaming capabilities. "Are you sure you want to sync games? All existing games on the Apple TV," reads a localized string file hidden in the software. Another reads, "Some of the games in your iTunes library were not copied to the Apple TV [...] because they cannot be played on this Apple TV."

In total, iTunes 7.1 includes a little over a dozen text strings relating to game management on the new Apple device. In addition to syncing, the strings offer user prompts for various other operations such as removing games, preventing unauthorized games from making the sync, and warning users when their Apple TV can no longer accept new games due to a lack of space.

The findings in the new iTunes release, while shy of an official endorsement, arrive on the heels of similar Apple TV-related gaming clues dropped by Apple and its partners over the last several weeks. It began with Greg Canessa of PopCap games, an official iPod game developer, who last month told Wired that he was in the process of taking his firm's the "stable of franchises and games" and customizing them for different platforms, including Apple TV.

"[Casual games] are going to continue to grow into non-core demographics," Canessa told the technology magazine. "This is relevant as it pertains to devices that are not currently earmarked as gaming devices: mobile, set-top boxes, Apple TV, MP3 players and other devices in the home that will reach the non-gamer --* people who don’t think they want to play."

Apple TV gaming strings found in iTunes 7.1

In the weeks that followed Canessa's apparent slip-up, readers of AppleInsider noted that Apple had been canvassing local institutions in search of junior additions to its internal game development workforce. In one particular instance, students at the Savannah College of Art and Design reported receiving an e-mail from a recruiter working directly for Cupertino-based company who was seeking interns for a summer program would be tasked with creating "consistent, high quality 3D and 2D art for games." A similar, but programming related proposition, was issued to the computer science students at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Although Apple has not commented publicly on its Apple TV gaming plans, it's believed that users of the device will need to purchase games on a Mac or PC through the company's iTunes Store and then transfer them to the media hub.
post #2 of 64
Hard to believe there are not a lot of posts for this article.
Do gamers sleep late or something?
post #3 of 64
gamers are playing games right now and have no time to read this post.

I believe ATV probably will allow you to play those games purchased for iPods. you can probably use remote for it too without much problem.
post #4 of 64
Great news, I'm guessing this means we'll see new games too - as the iPod games wouldn't work as well with the ATV remote (No Click-Wheel).
post #5 of 64
Has anyone thought about how you are going to interface with these games? Is there going to be a Wi-Fi controller in our future? Or an IR controller? If Apple wants to get serious about casual games then I think an Apple controller that would work with Apple TV, iMacs and MacBooks would be a step in the right direction.
post #6 of 64
What, I can't play my PS3 or 360 games on it? That's bullshit ... I'm going to wait for Rev. 2. When the ?tv has an optical drive, DVR, PS3 and 360 support, and can act as a waffle iron, then I might consider buying it ... but only if they drop the price to $99.
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post #7 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Top_Slacker View Post

Great news, I'm guessing this means we'll see new games too - as the iPod games wouldn't work as well with the ATV remote (No Click-Wheel).

I'm willing to bet the remote will be getting a click wheel very soon... It would also make navigating large libraries on FrontRow a little better and be more analogous to the feel of the iPod.
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post #8 of 64
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Top_Slacker View Post
Great news, I'm guessing this means we'll see new games too - as the iPod games wouldn't work as well with the ATV remote (No Click-Wheel).

I'm willing to bet the remote will be getting a click wheel very soon... It would also make navigating large libraries on FrontRow a little better and be more analogous to the feel of the iPod.

I hope so, I don't see why they didn't have it in the first place. Can't be that much to manufacture.
post #9 of 64
Current games for the iPod require the scrolling function of the touch pad to make them fun. The Aple remote has 6 buttons, but the wheel is really a 4-way button. I just don't think it offers enough input or control to make everyone happy with the experience.
post #10 of 64
"Dual" is not a verb.
post #11 of 64
I know this story is about games, but what I really wonder is if Apple will decide to create the online movie rental business.

It looks to me like the Apple TV is the ideal platform for this. I know people think that you need to have a lot of bandwith to be able to download movies, but I believe the business model might be a cross between Netflix and video on demand: you choose which movies you want to see in the next couple of days; Apple TV downloads them for you, in the order you chose them, up to a limit of maybe 5 movies, and stores them on its hard drive for you to view them; and when you're done watching and rewatching a movie, you delete it, allowing Apple TV to start downloading the next movie in your queue. In this fashion, the Apple TV could actually take quite a longer time to download a movie then the length of the movie itself, making it feasable even with an average DSL or cable connection, as long as you have unlimited download. It would probably be faster than Netflix, but not quite as instantaneous as video on demand.

Besides, I think people actually rent many more movies than they buy, so the rental model makes much more sense here than for music.

What do you think? Is this a reasonnable business model? Do you think it could work?
post #12 of 64
Quote:
What, I can't play my PS3 or 360 games on it? That's bullshit ... I'm going to wait for Rev. 2. When the ?tv has an optical drive, DVR, PS3 and 360 support, and can act as a waffle iron, then I might consider buying it ... but only if they drop the price to $99.

LMFAO... Although I am one of those people who can't see why I would want an aTV... yet
post #13 of 64
How's this:

Larger iPods get iPhone's Multi Touch.

Shuffle, and possibly Nano, stay with the click wheel.

The Apple Remote/Game Controller gets the click wheel.

Multi-touch for devices with nice, big screens. Click wheel for small, affordable devices where tactile operation is important.
post #14 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boukman View Post

I know this story is about games, but what I really wonder is if Apple will decide to create the online movie rental business.

It looks to me like the Apple TV is the ideal platform for this. I know people think that you need to have a lot of bandwith to be able to download movies, but I believe the business model might be a cross between Netflix and video on demand: you choose which movies you want to see in the next couple of days; Apple TV downloads them for you, in the order you chose them, up to a limit of maybe 5 movies, and stores them on its hard drive for you to view them; and when you're done watching and rewatching a movie, you delete it, allowing Apple TV to start downloading the next movie in your queue. In this fashion, the Apple TV could actually take quite a longer time to download a movie then the length of the movie itself, making it feasable even with an average DSL or cable connection, as long as you have unlimited download. It would probably be faster than Netflix, but not quite as instantaneous as video on demand.

Besides, I think people actually rent many more movies than they buy, so the rental model makes much more sense here than for music.

What do you think? Is this a reasonnable business model? Do you think it could work?

They could also allow you to download however many you want with either a time limit like a 7 day rental or even have Apple TV/iTunes send a "purchase viewing" command via the web when you actually hit play. There is no real reason for a limit to the downloads given the lack of a physical media that needs to be returned and sent to the next customer. Want to rent the entire library for Hero's, Star Wars, whatever...just set them up to download with no charge untill you actually watch it. They could also go with a subscription service. However there is no evidence that I know of that Apple is going to do this. As far as I know they do not have anything in their Fair Play DRM or in QuickTime to allow any of these "Rental" methods. They could probably add it in if they wanted to, and as far as I know it is there already.
post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianus View Post

"Dual" is not a verb.

Perhaps they meant 'Duel'?
post #16 of 64
" I believe the business model might be a cross between Netflix and video on demand."

That's a smart idea. I find that Netflix hits the wallet just right - my only source of frustration with it is the unreliable and intrinsically slow mail delivery. I agree that renting movies sounds better than buying, especially if the cost is reasonable and the delivery reasonably quick. I've ordered the same movies several times from Netflix when I wanted to watch them again - it probably took less time than finding a DVD in my apartment
post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by nevenmrgan View Post

The Apple Remote/Game Controller gets the click wheel.

Multi-touch for devices with nice, big screens. Click wheel for small, affordable devices where tactile operation is important.

Almost. I believe the remote will have the touch-screen interface like the iPhone. Remember when Steve said, "What is wrong with these phones? They all have static buttons". There was a patent that was rumored a while ago about a remote that could have a different button layouts for the source (TV, AppleTV, DVD player, etc...) you were trying to control.

Maybe this will also serve as the "casual" game controller as well?

If you think one step further it all makes sense. (Not that you didn't attempt)
post #18 of 64
Maybe I'm just not seeing ahead of the curve, but it seems to me that touch (or multi touch) inputs won't work well for devices and controllers you don't LOOK AT while you use them. I don't mind it on the iPhone since most of the time, I have to look at my clumsy phone to use its allegedly tactile-friendly buttons anyway. But who looks at their game pad when they play games? Without looking down, I think it would be odd to hold a square controller and push different spots on it.
post #19 of 64
Using the iTV as a games platform seem like a pretty good plan
- it's got a reasonable GPU (nVidia7300?), HDD, HD Output, 256MB of RAM
- the CPU ain't too great but not a disaster either
- so you should be able get some pretty reasonable things running on it, but not of the 'Gears of War' standard
- but that's not the market they're aiming at.
i.e. it's somewhere between the Wii and the PS3/Xbox360 in terms of performance.
- which is pretty respectable.


Perhaps the delay has also meant they've upgraded the GPU and/or CPU? e.g G82 - that would be cool


Also, Apple are in an almost unique position in the Games market, of actually selling each machine at a profit!


Plus it means they'll get a whole bunch of games ported to the Mac platform - which can only be good for Apple.
post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianus View Post

"Dual" is not a verb.

Invalid gerunding. Fifteen yards and loss of down.
post #21 of 64
The Apple web site specifically states that ipod games will not work on the aTV or it does on the UK website.

http://www.apple.com/uk/appletv/
post #22 of 64
They will almost certainly be casual games, rather like the current games for the iPod. PopCap and Tetris and Mah Jong and Poker and things like that. Very likely arcade classics as well.

At least to start.

A nice little bonus feature, but of course it won't be anything close to serious competition to the Wii, 360, or PS3.

It'll be interesting to see how they handle the controller, though. Wired? Wireless? Does the Wii have a patent-lock on its Wiimote + Nanchuk? (I expect so.)
post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbes View Post


It'll be interesting to see how they handle the controller, though. (Does the Wii have a patent-lock on its system?) And I wonder if that's the real reason for that mysterious USB port in the tv...

The controller could be wireless
- most controllers are these days

I think the USB port is really for a Blu-Ray player
post #24 of 64
I think adding the ability to play casual games makes a lot of sense.

Next up:
video conferencing
web browsing
post #25 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgNuke1707 View Post

What, I can't play my PS3 or 360 games on it? That's bullshit ... I'm going to wait for Rev. 2. When the ?tv has an optical drive, DVR, PS3 and 360 support, and can act as a waffle iron, then I might consider buying it ... but only if they drop the price to $99.

Excuse me, but I don't play games, but my son plays his PS and XBox on our big screen. Why can't you?

Incidently, I was under the impression that Apple TV is designed to stream content, i.e., movies, TV shows, movie trailers, podcasts and photos from your computer(s) to your TV. Not to hook up your PS or XBox.

If anything, your posting was full of BS.
post #26 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbes View Post

They will almost certainly be casual games, rather like the current games for the iPod. PopCap and Tetris and Mah Jong and Poker and things like that. Very likely arcade classics as well.

At least to start.

A nice little bonus feature, but of course it won't be anything close to serious competition to the Wii, 360, or PS3.

It'll be interesting to see how they handle the controller, though. Wired? Wireless? Does the Wii have a patent-lock on its Wiimote + Nanchuk? (I expect so.)

You beat me to it. I can see ATV having games that work more like real arcade games than the ones on an iPod. PacMan on a big screen with real controllers would really hit the baby boomers for $5 easily. If they could just get all of the titles from Intellivision (my favorite), Atari and friends, then those companies could make some real money again and we could do something during the commercials on TV Land.

The beauty is that so many games have very few resource needs, so storage and processor speeds are not a factor and if Apple came up with a new controller .... hey, I don't have an Apple remote. If a clickwheel was added and the remote made longer, could you turn it horizontally and operate it like a four-button controller? Anyway a wifi PS controller hack couldn't be too difficult. If Apple really has decided not to go high end on gaming consoles, it seems to me they should be partnering with Sony's gaming dept. more. I mean why not? Other than the Vaio vs. Mac and iPod vs. Walkman there really isn't much competition between them.

Anyway, think of what a $300 AppleTV would mean if it also took care of 50% of your gaming needs!

BTW, what I would really want is the ability to play Myst on HD! The graphics need some power, but the interface is so simple that the ATV and remote would be sufficient.
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post #27 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgNuke1707 View Post

What, I can't play my PS3 or 360 games on it? That's bullshit ... I'm going to wait for Rev. 2. When the ?tv has an optical drive, DVR, PS3 and 360 support, and can act as a waffle iron, then I might consider buying it ... but only if they drop the price to $99.

Don't worry, some government in the European Union is going to force Sony and Microsoft to make their games interoperable with AppleTV... whether it was designed for this or not!
post #28 of 64
Games are a natural for @tv but not the iPod games. Apple would have to make games suitable for the higher resolution TVs. Game controller? Apple can certainly provide that at extra cost.

Video conferencing would be a natural for @tv. Maybe a new sort of iSight cam can hook up via USB.

The best think @tv could do is stream Web video content directly to a TV without first going to a computer.
post #29 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianus View Post

"Dual" is not a verb.

People will verb just about anything these days, it makes me SICK!
post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyKrz View Post

LMFAO... Although I am one of those people who can't see why I would want an aTV... yet

I've the same feeling. Casual games don't really excite me too much especially if I'm going to be home anyway. I could just go to the web and find something for free to play for a couple hours if I wanted a casual game. Or download a sudoku puzzle to tide me over.

Now if it did double as a waffle iron, that would be something...nice apple shaped, waffles...

And playing games with the Apple Remote would seriously suck unless they were turn based only. The Apple Remote generally sucks for anything for but the most basic of functions (of course, those are the only controls it contains). Hopefully for Apple TV purchasers, one of the universal remote producers will quickly incorporate the codes into a real remote; it won't be as stylish, but it would at least be functional.

If only we could get an Apple/Nintendo team-up for a WiiTV, that would rock.

And as another site pointed out, the codes in this article are exactly the same ones used for iPods (except for AppleTV replacing iPod) so it's quite possible it ended up a cut and paste routine without trimming out the extraneous codes.
post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

I've the same feeling. Casual games don't really excite me too much especially if I'm going to be home anyway.

The Hardcore gaming market is dead. Well, not dead, but there's no more juice left in it to squeeze. They spend all their cash on $700 glorified DVD players and $60 games.

Whereas casual gaming has lots of lovely growth potential. And the Apple TV model means every dollar goes to Apple. Not EA. Not Wallmart. Not Valve.

C.
post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgary View Post

People will verb just about anything these days......

post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

And playing games with the Apple Remote would seriously suck unless they were turn based only. The Apple Remote generally sucks for anything for but the most basic of functions (of course, those are the only controls it contains). Hopefully for Apple TV purchasers, one of the universal remote producers will quickly incorporate the codes into a real remote; it won't be as stylish, but it would at least be functional.

If only we could get an Apple/Nintendo team-up for a WiiTV, that would rock.

Well, wait...for...it.....
You could use the iPhone as the aTV iRemote
- built-in Wifi!
- built-in Acclerometer!
- just the right size for a bat or racket!
- nice, shiny, curvey edges so it slips out of your hand easily!


Man, these Apple guys plan ahead!


Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

And as another site pointed out, the codes in this article are exactly the same ones used for iPods (except for AppleTV replacing iPod) so it's quite possible it ended up a cut and paste routine without trimming out the extraneous codes.

That's wierd
\
post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


If anything, your posting was full of BS.

Maybe it was a joke?
post #35 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgary View Post

People will verb just about anything these days, it makes me SICK!

Yes, it sicks me too!

I hope folks didn't forget about Apple's patents for the snap-on controllers... these seem to fit in with a multi-touch remote with different snap-on controllers depending on whichever game you want to "casually" play.

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post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Excuse me, but I don't play games, but my son plays his PS and XBox on our big screen. Why can't you?

Incidently, I was under the impression that Apple TV is designed to stream content, i.e., movies, TV shows, movie trailers, podcasts and photos from your computer(s) to your TV. Not to hook up your PS or XBox.

If anything, your posting was full of BS.

It's not BS, it's a joke. You didn't see the waffle iron bit?
post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by nevenmrgan View Post

How's this:

Larger iPods get iPhone's Multi Touch.

Shuffle, and possibly Nano, stay with the click wheel.

The Apple Remote/Game Controller gets the click wheel.

Multi-touch for devices with nice, big screens. Click wheel for small, affordable devices where tactile operation is important.

Multi-touch for an ipod would be (a) a waste of money (hey, then its perfect for apple to keep those prices high!) and (b) bad for the consumer. The last time apple did touch-sensitive buttons on their ipod, it was the rev 3's, and it just plain sucked. No feedback. Very hard to manipulate on feel alone. Too much time having to look at it. (Hey, the same problem with the iPhone!). We don't need that for the iPod, just so someone can scroll on screen vs a well-done click wheel.
post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

It's not BS, it's a joke. You didn't see the waffle iron bit?

ANd so was my last line.
post #39 of 64
Welcome to 2007. The two biggest product releases this year will no doubt be the Jobsonian rehashing of three previous Apple products that were not good enough for prime time.

#1 The iPhone is the Apple Newton (axed by Jobs; revenge on former Apple CEO John Scully) meets iPod, plus mobile phone of course.

#2 The Apple TV, or rehashed Apple Interactive Television Box + Apple Pippin. Apple almost released a multimedia game console in the mid-1990's dubbed "Apple Pippin" as well as test marketed an interactive tv box in Europe. Both products were dumped. Add to this, Apple Labs also created what was later sold to Microsoft: WebTV.

Yes, a Retro 90's Techno (not- 60's LSD) Flashback. However, the Apple TV will be more like an iPod for your TV, an access medium to your shows and music, and it looks like iPod games as well -- all via iTunes.

Read more about Apple Pippin from Wikipedia.

Read more about Apple Interactive Television Box from Wikipedia.

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post #40 of 64
We've all known that Apple was going to allow the AppleTV to play games, the question is how this will be achieved:

1) WiFi, Infrared or USB?
WiFi is the most logical choice.
2) iPod-like clickwheel or typical Apple remote?
I'm guessing Apple will include the typical, infrared Apple remote for typical AppleTV customers but will offer a clickwheel based, WiFI remote for an additional $24.99 for playing games with the AppleTV. It will also work for typical AppleTV operations.
3) Will Apple also let you play these games via your Mac?
My guess is 'nope'.
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