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.