The new Apple TV comes with old and familiar gaming experiences
Apple’s latest push to dominate the living room with the new Apple TV was finally made public at its event on Wednesday. And while TV show and e-commerce junkies have their fair share of apps to get excited about, its approach to gaming was peculiar to say the least.
For starters, the remote sported motion controls as rumors suggested. It’s a smart move considering that many would-be home gamers aren’t exactly comfortable using button-bristling modern controllers to play games. This is evident from the fact that over 100 million Nintendo Wii consoles have been sold to date – it’s safe to say that not all of these buyers have upgraded to a PS4, Xbox One, Wii U or even a PC and they don’t probably don’t. I don’t plan either.
(Also see: Apple is taking gaming seriously ahead of the planned Apple TV launch)
The similarity between the new Apple TV game demos we saw on stage and the Nintendo Wii was hard to miss. While Nintendo has opted to support the new Wii U with its touchscreen controller, there’s a good chance that existing Wii owners will turn to Apple TV, due to the promise of controls and games. similar.
Also, the games that were featured were mostly super casual fare. Back when the Wii was introduced, many reviewers mocked the efforts of Nintendo titles like Wii Sports, only to be proven wrong by the fact that gaming was a massive reason for people to buy the console.
While Crossy Road, Rayman Adventures, and Beat Sports aren’t exactly in the same league, they’re competent titles that have a feeling of familiarity in terms of controls to tip a purchase decision in Apple’s favor. But we can’t help but shake the feeling that this is all a bit too worn out in an attempt to be a serious contender for long-term living room games. Instead of immersive or unique experiences, we’re getting big-screen equivalents of proven mobile games.
(Also see: Why I’m not looking forward to the new Apple TV as a gamer)
Perhaps the biggest advantage is the price. Starting at $149 (roughly Rs. 9,800), it’s not very expensive compared to the $399 (Rs. 39,990 MRP in India) for a PS4 or $349 (Rs. 34,990 MRP in India) for an Xbox One. For those looking for a taste of the home game, this is a cheap entry point. Much like the Wii was $249 back then, undermining both the PS3 and Xbox 360 by a nice margin.
Thanks to a combination of low prices, a large catalog of games (not all of which are of the highest quality) and motion controls, the new Apple TV seems destined to replace the first Wii, rather than compete with other dedicated gaming devices.
However, one essential component is missing – a killer app. It’s obvious that Apple isn’t betting on a flagship title like Mario or Halo to tip gamers in its direction. Rather, it seeks to leverage the collective power of existing App Store hits coupled with a few token exclusives to sweeten the deal. It could backfire, if history is any indication.
The reason micro-consoles like Ouya, Nexus Player and Fire TV failed to gain much traction is that there was very little compelling exclusive content to entice audiences. Unless of course Apple decides to take its efforts in the gaming space seriously.
In the past, we’ve seen great games like Infinity Blade and Vainglory motivate people to upgrade to Apple’s latest and greatest hardware. That doesn’t seem to be the case here.
So why would you buy an Apple TV? For the same reasons you bought a Wii. It’s (relatively) cheap, has loads of content, and sports controls that feel interesting (or familiar if you’ve used a Wii long enough).
Will it gather dust once the novelty wears off, much like most Wiis after a few games of Wii Sports? Unlikely, thanks to its strong multimedia capabilities. Although it probably won’t get much use for gaming.
Check out the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360, in our CES 2023 hub.
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