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Newell: Apple Will Redefine & Replace Console Gaming

Jonathan Lester
apple, Gabe Newell, Steam, Valve

Newell: Apple Will Redefine & Replace Console Gaming

But It's The "Wrong Philosophical Approach"

Apple have made great strides into low-cost gaming thanks to the overwhelming success of the App Store, and many pundits believe that they're perfectly placed to make a foray into the mainstream. Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve (and utter legend of the highest order) is among them - and he "suspects" that they will launch a living room-centric product that will oust the notions of dedicated consoles. However, he also believes that closed platforms are the "wrong approach" to gaming that will backfire in the long run... and that a hypothetical Steam console would let its games release on competing services. We've got the full quotes and story below.

During a technology conference (reported by the Seattle Times), Newell stated that Apple have the potential to revolutionise and oust traditional consoles from the living room.

I suspect Apple will launch a living-room product that redefines people's expectations really strongly and the notion of a separate console platform will disappear.

It's certainly plausible, though Apple's closed business model will mean that many companies will be shut out of this hypothetical venture. Newell believes that it's a "wrong philosophical approach"... but that the success of Xbox Live and other digital distribution platforms (Steam?) means that companies will attempt to keep their competitors out of the loop.

I'm worried that the things that traditionally have been the source of a lot of innovation are going - there's going to be an attempt to close those off so somebody will say 'I'm tired of competing with Google, I'm tired of compeitng with Facebook, I'll apply a console model and exclude the competitors I don't like from my world.'

I consider Apple to be very closed. Let's say you have a book business and you are charging 5 to 7 percent gross margins. You can't exist in an Apple world because they want 30 percent and they don't care that you only have 7 percent to play with.

When challenged about Steam and whether it would operate in the same way should Valve release a hardware platform, Newell categorically stated that they would allow games to release on multiple platforms while making their own tools and services freely available. Because he's a legend.

The Mac Mini and Apple TV are already in place, so it will be interesting to see if Apple pursues this route. We'll keep our eyes on them.

Add a comment5 comments
gunnx  Oct. 12, 2011 at 11:27

Apple console? I really struggle to imagine that. They've had a long time to enter the market but serious gaming on Apple has never been of interest. Is this one of the first post Jobs changes?

JonLester  Oct. 12, 2011 at 11:57

I think that Newell is suggesting that Apple's device won't be a traditional console - rather a living room media centre that delivers multimedia content and a massive range of games. Like Apple TV, but with a games store as well.

I can see it happening to be honest - but much like OnLive, its success will come down to how willing major publishers are to work with the new venture.

Last edited by JonLester, Oct. 12, 2011 at 12:09
phil16  Oct. 12, 2011 at 12:12

Is this the same as the people predicting the demise of PC gaming. Don't make me laugh!

JonLester  Oct. 12, 2011 at 14:28

@phil16: Not quite - if anything, Newell is foretelling a console/media centre convergence in the near future. It's almost already happening (as consoles are constantly adding new multimedia features) - but whether Apple will be the company to successfully oust traditional consoles is highly debatable.

Last edited by JonLester, Oct. 12, 2011 at 14:31
MrPanda  Mar. 3, 2012 at 16:59

With the changing world of gaming and the power of the devices we use over the past 10-15 years has been quite dramatic.

There is no real reason why apple can't do this but it's a matter of if they would be interested in entering this market and creating something that has a universal price point to make it affordable to the masses.

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