New Apple Services Could Eventually Replace Game Consoles

Apple is hinting that it is developing bridges to connect devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops to televisions, avoiding the need for dedicated game consoles. In a little noticed announcement at its annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference, Apple revealed that it is allowing third party manufacturers to produce game controllers for iOS devices. Apple will also begin to use new faster Wi-Fi standards to improve services such as AirPlay.

Apple is introducing a game controller standard. It is also inviting developers to create video games that will use this standard set of controls and inputs that will work on every game in the Apple App Store.

“Soon, you are going to be able to play a console-quality game on your iPhone or iPad with a game controller, and you’re going to be able to see it on your bigscreen television without any effort,” explains Variety. “This is literally a game-changer.”

Apple is also introducing a new Wi-Fi network protocol called 802.11ac. The company claims that this wireless networking standard will support data speeds up to 1.3Gbps, and will allow high-resolution streaming between devices (including 4K video).

Consumers can currently use Apple’s AirPlay to play content from an iOS device to an Apple TV device, although there are some complaints regarding AirPlay’s stability and data speeds. The new Wi-Fi standard or Wi-Fi Direct (a direct wireless connection between devices that bypasses a typical Wi-Fi network) may address these issues.

“Why buy a $400-$500 box that is going to be obsolete within a couple of years when we have desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones all over the place?” asks Variety. “All we need is a gateway between our smart devices and our televisions.”

“What makes this more troubling for Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 is that these big, heavy, bulky, hot and loud devices have to last for an extremely long time to be profitable. We have been on a seven- to eight-year life cycle for game consoles for the past couple decades, and that model isn’t going to be sustainable.”

Apple is betting that consumers will prefer smartphones and tablets when they function like game consoles.