Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Apple in the game industry? Yeah, that'll go over well.

So, I saw this piece about how Apple should get into the gaming industry, and the whole thing is juts one giant collage of dumbfuckery. Apple does some things well. The iPod was great. Not because it's better hardware, but because it capitalized on its simple interface. When people want to listen to music in their car or while jogging, they don't want to navigate a lot of menus and stuff. They want to find their music quickly, easily, and be done with it.

Anyways, here's a direct rebuttal and reasons why Apple should not get into the gaming industry. I really do love this shit, playing the devil's advocate against those that really don't know what the fuck they're talking about when it comes ot game development.

Reports are swirling that Apple is considering a move into the gaming market via an acquisition of Electronic Arts (EA). And while those are currently just rumors, what is confirmed is that Apple has recently poached Microsoft's former head of Xbox strategy, Richard Teversham.

Okay, let's look at what Taversham did.

The exiting Microsoft executive, Richard Teversham, most recently ran Microsoft's Xbox business unit in Europe. He worked at Microsoft for 15 years and was senior director of business, insights and strategy for the Xbox business group. Teversham told MCV he will work in some type of "education-related role" at the Apple European office.
- Source

Wow, that's fucking awesome. If I was going to start up a games division I would totally be looking for bean counters first and foremost. Forget that Taversham said he was going into some educational area for Apple's EU division. Even if he were working on a gaming-related division at Apple, he would most likely be pushed into Apple's iPhone department. Considering he's a business guy, aka number crunching, he'd be a good person to look at pricing and sales volume. Not for, you know, the actually important shit like hardware and development-related issues.

1. Apple Is Due: Some of the Cupertino crew's competitors are already well established in the gaming market with their own consoles. Microsoft has the Xbox and Sony has the PlayStation. While Apple has spent much of the last decade remaking the mobile music industry, the time could now be right for a foray into gaming. The brand has exploded in popularity since the release of the iPod in October 2001 (the Microsoft Xbox, as a point of reference, was released in November 2001), and it's not hard to imagine fanboys lining up to purchase an Apple-branded gaming device.

Good fucking grief this is stupid. Okay, let's look at Apple's market share in the PC market. It's between 10%-13%. That's it. Now, if you look at Apple's MP3 market share, it's somewhere in the 40% range, which is good. However, a game console isn't a fucking MP3 player and people aren't going to buy a several hundred dollar console just because. There has to be games and there has to be decent hardware. No one wants to invest in a fucking paperweight console. Ask Atari how well jumping into the game console industry with their Jaguar did. Oh wait, Atari is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

2. iTunes Store: Apple already has a well-established and viable way of distributing games to customers via the Internet. Downloading a song or movie through the iTunes Store is becoming a standard skill for many people. An Apple gaming console, then, could function similarly to the Apple TV or Xbox Live store. Droves of people already have accounts, so if Apple can distribute games directly to the console via iTunes, customers wouldn't even need to leave the house to get their game on.

Are you fucking retarded? Do you have any fucking clue as to how big games are? And I don't mean "big" as in popularity, but as in filesize. Try 3-6 GB. To understand that, in "music" size, you're talking 1,000 to 2,000 songs. For one game. Not to mention that people would need to have the proper bandwidth for that, which most do not. The average connection in the USA is about 512 Kb. Which is not KB (KiloyBytes). It's less than that. (one KiloByte = 8 Kilobits)

Also, how well has Apple TV done? Oh, that's right, it fucking tanked because it sucked shit. It was horribly inferior to other products out there and it lacked numerous crucial features. Face it, the only thing Apple has going for it is its iPod.

3. The iPhone And iPod Touch: Apple's mainstay portable devices are already beginning to establish themselves as gaming platforms. A quick look through the Apple App Store reveals a plethora of games that range in price from free to a few dollars. EA, for example, just released "Need For Speed Undercover" for the iPhone, retailing at $10. Apple customers are already playing games on the iPhone and iPod Touch, so why not tie those devices to a gaming console?

Because shitty iPhone games do not equal real games? How well has N4S:U done on the iPhone? Because it got horrible reviews and was widely panned by gaming critics. Most of the Apple iPhone games are pure shit. They are half-assed, bullshit clones of games from the 80's. If you really think playing games on an iPhone is at all comparable to playing on a console, then you're absolutely insane and don't have a clue what you're talking about.

4. Synching Between Console And iPhone: This seems like a no-brainer. iPhone users already sync their smartphones to a laptop for updates and purchases, so why not do the same with a gaming console? Games could be developed with special add-ons designed specifically for the iPhone or iPod touch. That way when a gamer has to leave the house, these side missions can be synched onto the iPhone, expanding Apple's gaming reach. Instead of riding the subway and listening to music or surfing the Web, users could continue to play the game they started back at home.

WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE iPHONE NOT BEING A FUCKING GAMING CONSOLE!? Do you have any idea how shitty an iPhone game would look on a regular 480x720 resolution TV screen, let alone a 720p one? It would look horrible! The hardware and control limitations between a console and a portable device like the iPhone are so vast that making the assumption that the two could in any way be linked is more than just asinine, it is borderline brain dead. Even if you try to make the link between the iPhone's motion control sand the Wii, it still doesn't fit. The Wii has a much richer control set feature than the iPhone.

This is seriously one of the most idiotic things I've ever heard. It would be like saying that an Etch-A-Sketch could potentially be used to write programming languages. It is so far fetched and unrealistic that it's baffling that anyone would even come up with it, let alone publish an article saying this.

5. Better Talent: An Apple-branded console would attract top-notch talent to develop games for the platform. Just look at the success the company has had with independent developers creating applications for the App Store. Face it, not every game needs to be another installment of the "Call Of Duty" series. Assuming the iTunes Store is used to distribute the games, the process of getting a product listed there should be similar to the existing policy -- perhaps even a little less draconian. For bigger releases, companies such as EA would be facing a tough crowd of Apple fans who would expect nothing but the highest quality in the games on the platform. That would challenge publishers to bring on smarter talent and create better games, further enriching the gaming community.

Holy fucking... Okay, how much money does Apple have? Not much. Really, not much. It's true, whether you want to believe it or not. They don't have shit compared to Microsoft or Sony. Even Microsoft has decided to stop having in-house developers. Sony has an incredibly small handful. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Polyphony Digital, the makers of Gran Turismo. I don't think this writer understands how much money it takes to make a game, let alone start a whole new development softhouse. Here's a hint: AAA titles typically have budgets between $10-$30 million. That's just for the games. That doesn't include starting up the studios and everything else.

The process that developers go through with the iPhone app store is nothing like what goes on with major developers. The app store process works like this. Some guys makes something, submits it to Apple, Aple approves it or not, and then it's placed for sale or rejected. Major developers require licensing, SDKs, marketing, contractual obligations that actually mean something, and they don't want to sign on for some normalized bullshit that's the same with everyone. Do you think EA gets the same kind of contract that Atari gets? Hell no they don't!

The best part is the complete about-face this article does. So, not every game needs be Call Of Duty (I'm assuming they're referring to CoD4:MW, and not CoD:W@W, which sucked shit), but then says that Apple would require "top talent" that would "further enrich" the gaming industry. So, which one is it? Has he even bothered to look at most of the apps that sell on the iPhone? They're fart apps and stupid bullshit like that. Wow, talk about enrichment. Maybe I can get a "Pull My Finger" game on a console. That's be fucking sweet.

Really, all of this is just pure bullshit. This article has no idea what the fuck goes into gaming, and I didn't even start to bring out a lot of the other hurdles, namely development costs. The PS3 is still losing money on every console sold. MS is just now breaking into the black, and their console is already starting to age. If Apple were to try to get into the game console market, they'd have to be prepared to throw in a few billion dollars and be willing to lose it all.

Not only is the market already highly competitive, but where would Apple carve their niche? The kids market? Yeah fucking right. Nintendo has that on lockdown. The hardcore market? Sony and MS are already very aggressively waging a war in that market, good look trying to topple either one of them.

Finally, Apple would need to develop an SDK, get hardware manufacturers to work on specialty chipsets, amd be able to court third party developers to actually develop for their system. It's not as easy as "build it and they will come" which this article seems to think is the case. Developers already have a hard enough time trying to develop modern games for 4 systems (360, Wii, PS3, and PC), and adding a fifth isn't going to make things any easier. Not only that, but what kind of middleware will Apple sue? OpenGL like OSX? Because OPenGL vs DirectX is why you already see so few games for Mac.

This entire piece is nothing more than a pipe-dream, and not even a well though out one, at that. It has no basis in reality and doesn't even offer up a plan to the slightest bit of scrutiny. If Apple really thinks any of these reasons are why they should get into the gaming business, Apple better be prepared to go bankrupt, again, and pray that Microsoft will bail them out of such bankruptcy, again.

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