Xbox founder says App Store on Apple TV would ‘kill’ gaming consoles

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Earlier today, Jeffries analyst Peter Misek told investors that Apple will hold a TV-related media event in March. And he suspects that the focus of the event will be the unveiling of a software development kit that will allow developers to finally make third-party apps for the Apple TV.

Well if that’s really the case, major gaming consoles better watch out. In a recent blogpost rant entitled ‘Stupid, Stupid xBox!!’ Xbox founder Nat Brown says that if Apple opens up an App Store on the Apple TV, the platform would “simply kill” the Playstation, Xbox and the WiiU…

Brown’s post has been getting a lot of attention over the past few days, so the whole thing’s worth a read. But here’s the money quote:

“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.”

He’s certainly right about that. During his talk yesterday at Goldman Sachs, Tim Cook announced that Apple has paid out over $8 billion to developers since 2008. Not only is this an insane number, but it’s also $1 billion more than it announced in January, which shows serious growth.

So Apple certainly has the developers—EA, Sega, Activision, all of the big names—to make a go af a gaming console, but what about the hardware? Well, it has a set-top box out right now that is selling particularly well. And it has Bluetooth and AirPlay capabilities for connecting controllers.


What controllers you ask? Well that’s easy. Why not use the 500 million+ iOS devices that are out in the wild as controllers? They all have built-in accelerometers and other sensors, making them perfect Wii-like motion controllers. Or Apple could have a physical gamepad in the wings.

But you get the point. Most of the pieces are already in place for Apple to turn its $99 accessory into a full-on gaming console. All it has to do is ‘flip the switch’ so to speak, and give game developers a platform to do their thing. So it’s understandable why Brown sees Apple as such a threat.

And he’s not the only person with clout from the gaming community to suggest such a thing. Last month, Valve’s CEO Gabe Newell said that Apple remains the biggest threat to the success of their upcoming Steam Box console, noting “I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily.”

Of course, Apple has to actually do something first. And outside of Misek’s magic 8-ball predictions, there’s no evidence that an App Store for Apple TV is on the way. But it can’t be too far off, right? I mean, there’s only so many times Tim Cook can answer Gene Munster’s TV questions with ‘we’re going to keep pulling at strings to see where it takes us.’ The ATV can’t remain a hobby forever.

What do you think, would Apple really be able to take out gaming consoles with apps on the Apple TV?