The Looming Living Room Wars: Apple’s Quiet Threat to Console Gaming
Imagine: Your ultra-chic future iPhone isn’t just a sometime mobile game machine, it’s also a wireless vehicle for hardcore gaming on your big screen television. Maybe it works with a wireless gamepad, maybe it uses ultra-low electrical current that lets your fingertips “feel” the edges of control surfaces along your iPad or iPhone’s perfectly flat glass screen. Either way, imagine that it’s the future of serious and casual gaming, a future in which dedicated set-top boxes, cables and marathon life cycles shuffle grudgingly into that good night.
For years I’ve made the argument that Apple‘s iOS platform is just a wireless gamepad and HDTV-hookup away from squaring off against Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo in the living room. Take the iPhone 5 with its 1.3 GHz A6 processor and triple-core PowerVR SGX 543MP3 GPU, outputting console-quality visuals to a virtually 720p screen. No one’s run meaningful comparison benchmarks between the iPhone 5 and, say, the Xbox 360, but we’ve seen actual game developers suggest that the iPhone 5 is on par, performance-wise, with Microsoft’s seven-year-old console (to say nothing of the tricked-out A6X processor in the fourth-generation iPad, which probably surpasses it).