Is Apple entering the videogame market?

Is Steve Jobs going to take on Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft in the games console market? Ben does some speculating...

The Apple store in New York: soon to be selling a games console?

The games industry is crowded enough as it is at the moment. Nintendo is sitting pretty with its enormous market of people who aren’t capable of using gamepads and prefer just to point at stuff, but Sony and Microsoft are slugging it out for the hardcore-gamer market and it’s bloodier than it’s ever been. So who might be coming to interrupt the party? Why, Steve Jobs of course – he’s not going to let Bill gates have all the fun. Ars Technica have come across a recent trademark filing for Apple which makes for some interesting reading, and the favourite hobby of all tech pundits, ridiculous speculation reported as fact. The cappuccino-computing company has applied for its trademark to be extended to areas including “hand-held units for playing electronic games” and “stand alone video game machines”. The former could well just refer to the games you can currently play on iPods (ah, Peggle) but it’s the latter that’s made bloggers sit up and take notice. There’s not many existing Apple products that could refer to, and if you are prone to daydreaming it could mean one of two things. One: Apple is releasing a console. This seems extremely unlikely. Apple has the PMP (Portable Media Player) player market sewn up, but it surely wouldn’t stand a chance in hell against the big three. The type of person who pre-orders a Mac Book Air just-because-it-fits-in-an-envelope-sort-of isn’t going to rush out for a console to go head to head against 15 year olds online. Indeed, anyone who can remember as far back as the mid-90s will remember Apple’s previous, brief and disastrous foray into the industry.

The Pippin wasn’t solely a games console, but it was meant to be an inexpensive computer of sorts that would plug into your TV. The only problem was of course that it was shit. The Playstation was already out and Nintendo dropped the N64 soon after and that was that. It bombed, and it’s since gone down as one of the worst gadgets of all time. Which leads us onto possibility number two: Apple is planning to use Apple TV for games somehow. How this would work, no one’s sure, but the most realistic option seems to be that you could use it or a future model to play iPod games on your TV. Not a reason to buy one itself for sure (although seriously, Peggle comes close), but it makes it that little bit more attractive. Solitaire on a 50″ widescreen? That’s got to appeal to someone out there…