As the lines between console and mobile continue to blur, Apple’s eyes remain fixated on conquering the living room experience. Its introduction of AirPlay Mirroring could be a key blow to console makers like Sony and Microsoft who are still trying to gain traction on the mobile frontier. The plethora of content on Apple’s App Store combined with portable devices could be the reason why Apple will be the first to deliver a seamless gaming experience.
The recent update to Game Center could be the most important one as Apple continues to incrementally roll out improvements to its OS. Game Center’s latest updates have Xbox Live-style features and could attract developers on a more serious note. With the update Game Center becomes a lot more social and gives players a nice playground to show off, challenge others and discover new games. Such a platform will no doubt allow social games to thrive although many are wondering about the impact the game recommendation feature will yield in helping developers. It will increase user engagement, however, and keep them coming back.
The onset of a more engaging gaming network coupled with AirPlay Mirroring is the first step in mobile devices replacing the console. Apple will require users to have an Apple TV, however, to enable AirPlay Mirroring, and it will allow users to play their iOS games on their TV using their iPhone / iPad as controllers. Experts expect to see AirPlay certified TVs eventually come around, spelling doom for Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony in that department.
With the advent of iCloud, there will be other awesome features available to the community including asynchronous play, the primary form of playing in games such as Words With Friends. The integration of such a gaming system into AppleTV will trigger a kind of revolution that Wii triggered a few years back. Nonetheless it will take time for developers to figure out the best way of using iOS devices as controllers for the games on TV.
AirPlay Mirroring will need to become prevalent on a variety of TVs to enable cloud rendered, high-end gaming for as many consumers as possible, especially as 4G swings around. Apple will have to go beyond Mirroring also to enable true connectivity where everything is synced so you can play games on any iOS device, put the game down and pick up where you left off – the vision that iCloud is painting.
We can assume a similar approach to be heralded by Google with its Android and Chrome platforms. Microsoft is also continuing to build momentum for its Windows Phone, striking partnership with Rockstar for an upcoming GT title. Microsoft is in it for the long run and is going as far as giving money up front to its OEM partners for marketing their Windows-enabled phones.
The promise of anytime and anywhere is a big one. Imagine Wii-like experiences with titles as low as $0.99. With such competition we can definitely expect the end user to win.