We’re in the middle of a fluid and defining time in the games space as digital really takes hold, nontraditional payment models continue to prove viable, and expectations of how and where people play their games mutate. Things are changing, no doubt, and we’ve heard a fair share of doomsday scenarios for multiple platforms as a result. This one from Valve boss Gabe Newell is pretty juicy as far as these things go. Speaking at a tech panel the other day, Newell said that he suspects Apple might step into the living room and blow up that particularly isolated experience into a perspective-shifting one that’ll spell the end of a ‘separate’ console platform.

For some context here, Newell believes there are four legitimate platforms at the moment: Internet, mobile, the computer, and the console. Newell’s also a noted not-fan of closed platforms, which was pretty apparent during the panel covered by The Seattle Times.

“I suspect Apple will launch a living room product that redefines people's expectations really strongly and the notion of a separate console platform will disappear,” he said.

“I’m worried that the things that traditionally have been the source of a lot of innovation are going -- 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 of competing with Facebook, I'll apply a console model and exclude the competitors I don't like from my world.'"

I often wonder if Apple’s hobby project, the Apple TV, is ever going to become the core living room games device it seems primed to be. With features like iOS 5's AirPlay mirroring, it's on the cusp. This isn't the shiny and new thing Newell is speculating about here, but it’s a solid start.

[Via The Seattle Times]

  • Anonymous

    I really don't think Apple will try to make a new Pippin.

    • http://twitter.com/brendanr11 Brendan Rogers

      True that.

    • R E

      Heh heh. I was at the launch of the Pippin. It was plain to see it stood no chance!

  • Anonymous

    ipad 2 + HDMI out = any game on your big ole tv.
    toss in some of those silicone stick on joysticks and fap fap fap.

  • http://twitter.com/KlickTock KlickTock

    Apple TV + iOS + a standard game controller is what I want most as a developer and gamer.  I keep a game diary which is filled with titles, but most of which I've shelved as they require a controller.  I'd be happy to produce these games for Steam + traditional consoles, but I can't bet the farm, as any of those mentioned could reject my title on a whim.
    If Apple enter this space (and I can't see why they wouldn't) it would be an incredibly disruptive yet positive force that would see indie games able to access huge audiences.
    Can't wait :)

  • http://twitter.com/Projectwolfie Chris Overbee

    Consoles are honestly way too competitive for apple, and they've never been game focused.  It's the people who made so many games that gave them the opportunity.

    Now as for Gabe, the only business in mac he should honestly be in is a better port method than what's in TF2 etc.  It sucks for older computers, and sometimes feels like a Wine wrapper.

    • fergmit

      Hm, no.  They have claimed the last few press events that the iPod Touch is the #1 selling portable game platform.  To say they have never been game focused is wrong.  They are most definitely now game focused.

    • Anonymous

      Apple doesnt need to publish games, its because of their semi open platform that their devices have been so successful as gaming portables. Apple isnt competing with other companies, theyre competing with Apple.

  • Anonymous

    I can see the consoles being the iOS device (tons of people already have them) and the apple tv being the focal point to bring everyone together on one screen.  They're already doing this with Real Racing 2. 

  • Anonymous

    The key to any AppleTV based console will be the uniqueness and effectiveness of the controller and a means to transfer traditional hardware controls as well as multitouch gestures in order to maintain compatibility with the large number of existing titles as well as new dedicated ones. Perhaps something like an inverted joystick with a multitouch panel for the non dominant hand

    • Anonymous

       seems that they need to update to the dual a5 processor.  From there if they added two usb inputs to allow for device input so that the touch screen could be used for games like angry birds or separate controllers (apple made of course) that can be configured to play fighting/racing games.  For two playergames the tv could have different screen layouts to choose from split vertical/horizontal depending on the game.  The apple tv also needs the ability to play the apps that are on the owners computer/account directly for games that only need controllers not idevices.  Then progress could be synced via cloud to their individual device.  Games could also be streamed from devices, say you go to a friend that does not have the game, now if its two player, both of you can play it.  This would make it a more complete experience for the player and make apple more money, don't need an ipod or ipad to buy and play apps, more peripherals to sell and greater demand for appletv

      • Anonymous

        Yes a separate sensor filled controller shipping with the updated A5 AppleTV is essential.

  • http://twitter.com/Projectwolfie Chris Overbee

    Then explain Apple almost going out of their way to stop gaming on OSX? With every new release, a manner of creating a Mac version of something is nerfed.

  • Ben Ferreira

    Is that Gabe Newel on a mac...

    OH MY SWEET & SOUR SAUCE!!! 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UEQDUF4H2L6XFPLV3SIQZHVVUI philippe

    The problem is that if every player needs to look at his iPhone/iPad/iPod while playing, why would they need to stream the images to the TV screen?
    As long long as you can't play without looking down at your hands, iDevices won't match the experience of playing with people on the same TV. And Apple doesn't seem to be interested in pads or joysticks at all, I guess it's their way to *not* compete with traditional consoles. But it's also what mostly avoids crappy straight ports, and encourages creating specifically for iOS.

  • Adams Immersive

    iOS and the App Store are about the greatest thing to ever happen for indie game developers! A really outstanding, turnkey market open to every crazy idea you can dream up.

  • http://twitter.com/21tigermike Michael A. Robson

    Somebody already said it. Apple could make a killing just having people play games on their iPhones while airplaying a separate video feed to the TV (multitasking). Your phone would be the controller and the TV would display the onscreen action. People would have to buy AppleTVs.