Does the console market need any more competitors? We’ve seen record sales in the game industry for titles like Halo 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV along with huge expectations for Resistance 2 and some new Sony PlayStation 3 projects. Yet, the tiny little Wii product holds best sales records around the world as the heavy hitter, Microsoft and Sony, compete for the most awesome spectacle show of graphics.
Competition is a great way to drive down costs, drive up expectations and give consumers new innovative products with better quality. Imagine if Apple got into console development and produced a new highly sexy product with the hype and consumer desire of the iPhone or iPod.
“Apple has the infrastructure in place through iTunes to create a real value proposition for those that want to extend the capability of their console beyond gaming and has the cash — about $20 billion — to not only invest in the best components on the market, but in an online gaming experience that could rival Xbox Live.” (kotaku)
Apple’s showing a huge surge in recognition and sales thanks to the iPod and growing desire for Apple hardware competing against Microsoft’s Vista operating system. As more consumers turn to Apple for their music and mobile gaming needs, Apple must see windows of exploiting the gaming market further.
More importantly, nobody can pull off digital rights management (DRM) and locking consumers into a product line like Apple all while they beg for more. Consoles are little boxes of DRM waiting for happy consumers to buy into the concept all while avoiding the hacking and bittorrenting like you’ve been seeing on Spore in the last few weeks. Had Spore been released on a console this DRM fiasco would have been avoided because gamers don’t even realize (or care) that a console locks them into playing and, more importantly, buying the game for the hardware.
Apple knows the in’s and the out’s to producing software to work with their hardware as a primary means of making fast money. While Microsoft has built the jack-of-all operating systems and struggles to make every printer, modem and mouse work perfectly with their platform, Apple only has to support a small handful of accessories for their sleek little desktop and laptop boxes (complete with OS).
Realistically, Apple could produce a game console with very little change to how they do business; a large investment, for sure, but the company has already been wiggling their way into mobile gaming on the iPod and iPhone product lines. What’s another step into greatness than jumping into a growing industry and out playing and out selling your competitors?
Apple would have to invest cash into the hardware and, most importantly, into buying game companies to produce high quality game titles like Microsoft Game Studios has done, Sony has done and Nintendo has mastered. A console produced by Apple wouldn’t have to be the best in the industry (we all know Wii has several shortcomings), they just have to build the hype and consumer loyalty as they have done with their current mobile products.
Apple’s iPod isn’t the best audio player on the market, iTunes isn’t the most robust form of music distribution and sales but both have tied together nicely and have market share in an industry with many players (including Microsoft).
Would Apple be able to pull off a console system? Although nobody is saying they will, there are always possibilities in the future.