New Apple TV with App Store would enter Apple into $35 billion home gaming market



  • Reply 61 of 64
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,166moderator
    dunks wrote: »
    It would be great if they made a physical controller with a 4-axis d-pad, ABXY buttons, 2-shoulder buttons (4 is too much) and twin analog sticks. While I recognise that the touch interface is great for some types of games (cardand board games) the touch interface is truly awful for interacting with games that don't require you to manipulate objects directly.

    The shoulder buttons are important because it's about simultaneous input. When you put buttons on the front face, you can only press one input at a time with each thumb. The 2 fingers furthest away from the thumb would get tired easily if they were used but the first two fingers of each hand are ok.

    A controller can look like this:


    It would have a flat custom battery inside and the connector can either be Lightning or USB C. Glass on top, white plastic underneath like the Magic Trackpad. Headphones would be able to attach to the port with an adaptor.

    The pads wouldn't move if they put a haptic motor in so the splits would just be visual or a small groove. It could really just be two pads because the middle wouldn't need to be used much, that area is usually just to indicate which player you are plus start and menu buttons, and this can be done with buttons/lights on top.

    To keep it slim, the buttons there act as two buttons each, they'd be on a mechanism where they are on a rocker in the middle and pressed with one finger but pressing in the middle pushes both down so it acts like having two separate buttons. They could split the buttons too though and let you press each but the rocker would be easier to press both together.

    You really need 4 shoulder buttons to do driving and shooting because you need to accelerate, aim and fire. The left pad would be steer, the right pad would be aim the gun, the top far right button would be accelerate, the top far left would be to zoom the aim. The top near right would be fire. The top near left can be alternate fire.

    The pads would also act like buttons and if there was a middle area, that could replace the d-pad. If they could do an e-ink display, they could put dozens of weapon, magic icons under the glass in the middle.

    Making the touch pad act as buttons can have bad outcomes like trying to press the right pad could move a camera by accident but it would be pressure sensitive so it would know when you are pressing and when you are swiping and it would use large regions. They could have games that only need jump so you press anywhere on the pad. If you need jump and action, they can split the pad in two regions.

    You have full gesture support so you can do circling motions for wheel puzzles or slide for zooming in a sniper rifle.

    This can also act like a remote. If it has e-ink then it can display a keyboard under the glass (and the separation lines in the image could disappear) so you can type text into searches but even with touch, it can bring up a keyboard on the TV and show where your thumbs are touching the pad as semi-transparent circles and you'd press to tap the keys.

    The controller might not be as good for long-term use as a PS4 or XBox controller but I think that would work better for the ?TV and it allows Apple to support every game that exists on iOS, which a standard controller couldn't. Playing Candy Crush would be terrible on a standard controller but with touch, you'd move your thumb around and a circle on-screen would show where it was and you just press a shoulder button and swipe to move the candy. Thumbsticks don't have a 1:1 mapping with an on-screen marker, they accelerate and decelerate so when you move something and let go the stick, it decelerates so it overshoots where you wanted it and you have to correct it. With touch pads, stop means stop exactly where you are.
  • Reply 62 of 64
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,541member

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

    A controller can look like this:


    Sounds like a great idea!  I hope something like it is part of the Apple TV package.  Otherwise, you have a great business idea there.

    - Programmable

    - Haptic feedback to provide a button-like response

    - Touch input

    - Motion input

    - Low-power screen to show options, feedback, 


    That alone could be sold for an additional $100 USD with a lot of uptake, especially if as you note it would be usable with iPads & support multi-player gaming on iPad.


    As to comments that Apple doesn't do accessories - partly true, but of course there are cases, magic mice, trackpads, and that whole line of headphones.

  • Reply 63 of 64
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,166moderator
    brucemc wrote: »
    That alone could be sold for an additional $100 USD with a lot of uptake, especially if as you note it would be usable with iPads & support multi-player gaming on iPad.

    I would like if it was no more than $49 (the Magic Trackpad is $69) to make it more affordable to have multiple players but that might be difficult to pull off if it had haptics and display tech. The good thing with e-ink is that you set the button layout once and it stays like that so no display power usage. The controller could behave like a universal bluetooth remote. Another thing I'd considered is that the ?TV can have induction chargers so rather than have a port, you could sit the controller on top of the ?TV and it would just charge up. People would get into the habit of putting the controller on top of the box and never have to manually charge it. The port is still useful for headphones though.

    Valve went with touch pads for their PC controller and it can be used for games where a controller is difficult to use:


    That was a prototype version of the controller, the current one has been made more of a hybrid controller with a stick so you get a mix of traditional controllers but still able to handle games where the precision movement is needed:


    I did a mockup of an XBox controller before where the rings around the pads were d-pad and physical buttons:


    but those designs are bulky and limit the device more to just gaming. In games like Pikmin, the touch input would let you more precisely move on-screen targets and be able to draw selections around groups of objects just like a mouse. The Wii U uses a stylus here:


    but who wants a stylus?


    A full LCD display would also wear out the battery quite quickly and likely cost more. The iPod nano is only $149:

    If you took out the 16GB storage, RAM, CPU etc and just had very basic wireless tech, they must be able to get something decent a good bit below $100. Video playback it says is 3.5 hours for the iPod. That's not bad and in the range of the Wii U gamepad but e-ink should be much longer. People could play things like Scrabble with their own tiles on their pad and mix the letters round until it was their turn on an iPad or updated ?TV. Quiz games could give teams controllers each that display questions and they have someone in the middle with an iPad to check answers from each controller.
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