We Want a Gaming Console from Apple

Palwasha is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

As 2013 dawned, hardcore gamers marked their calenders and began the long wait for two new gaming consoles that are launching after almost half a decade of speculation--Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Xbox 720 and Sony's (NYSE: SNE) Playstation 4.

The multi-billion dollar gaming industry suffered badly in the last 2-3 years as the trend towards social and online gaming strengthened. The dearth of new consoles, abundance of smartphones and tablets, and easy accessibility to downloadable content (DLC) all contributed to the demise of hardcore gaming. However, as the top half a dozen phone and tablet vendors (Apple, Samsung, Nokia, HTC, RIM and LG) choke the tech market with multitudes of devices in an effort to win the smartphone/tablet wars, the excess supply is now starting to shift consumer tastes. The lower-than-anticipated holiday season sales are just one of the many indicators of this. Whether you're an iDevice owner or a Droid owner, you defend your gadget with the same question: 'what is it that your phone/tablet has that mine doesn't?' In short, all these competing devices are pretty much the same. In order to win back consumer interest and blow some life into the fast-stagnating tech market, two companies have finally decided to do something new. Apparently both are aiming at gaming. 

Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) happens to be the first company to set the tech websites abuzz on Monday morning as it formally announced a gaming console that it had been working on for five years, complete with official photos and detailed specs. The Nvidia console has been codenamed Shield and is going to be the first of its kind. The console is going to run on the Tegra 4 processor, the fastest ever mobile processor announced to-date. The portable console looks more like a controller with a built-in multitouch screen and speakers, and will come with high speed wi-fi connectivity. It'll allow gamers to play games both on the console's screen, on the go, as well as on their larger tv screens at home. If you haven't yet checked it out, here's a glimpse of it;

<img src="/media/images/user_13250/multi-touch_display_large.png" />

Sick, isn't it?

Now, if you're an Apple-fan, there's something you want to particularly note here. Nvidia's Shield is going to cause a major set back to iUsers, as it's only going to be an Android and Windows-based gaming console. No Apple App store for you! 

The second company that's also likely launching a console of its own is Disney (NYSE: DIS). Speculations have been making rounds for quite some time now about a Disney console codenamed Toy Box. However, nothing was confirmed until Disney filed for a patent last week that somewhat validated the console rumors. Disney has filed for an 'Augmented Reality Device' that features a 3D augmented reality technique with which objects in your living room will appear as animations on the device. The pictures of the device that appear in the patent application have a striking resemblance to Nintendo's DS and 3DS hand-held consoles (below is a snippet of Fig. 4 from the application).

<img src="/media/images/user_13250/123_large.png" />

Now, techies are speculating that Disney may collaborate with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) for a joint venture into the gaming arena, but I doubt it will happen. Apple has a reputation of doing things on their own--their own devices, own media, own OS, own application ecosystem. However, that, by no means, means that Apple wouldn't or shouldn't enter this market. In fact, if some may remember, they did try their luck back in the '90s. Apple's first gaming console, Apple Pippin, launched in the mid-90s, was a massive failure. The console undersold, and so its production had to be permanently discontinued. Last year, the tech giant once again filed for a patent which hinted that another gaming console, or at least a controller, is underway. The patent included figures of a gaming controller that looked a lot like a PS3 controller. It also illustrated using an iPhone as a universal controller for all Apple products, implicitly indicating that you may be able to play games from the App Store directly on an (so far unreleased) Apple TV. Hence, rest assured, something gaming-related is definitely in the pipeline. 

Here are a few reasons why I would want Apple to launch an iConsole:

1. The company is known for its innovation. There's no denying the fact that Apple is a trendsetter. From the revolutionized media players (iPods) to smartphones to tablets, Apple devices have long remained the hottest products on any consumer's buying list. I'm sure that they can create something great for hardcore gamers. I want to see if they can add a unique Apple touch to gaming and surprise us. 

2. Apple has faced failure in the gaming industry before, and thus understands the risks. 

3. The company has millions of loyal customers who would be ready to get in line to get their hands on something new from Apple. 

4. As traditional rivals like Microsoft gear up for the launch of a new Xbox and Samsung starts to promote cloud gaming with Gaikai, and Nvidia's new revolutionary console inadvertently boosts only Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows, it is about time that Apple finds a way into this market too. Let's face it; iPods, iPhones, iPads are all facing mass commoditization at the moment.  

With billions of idle cash on hand and dozens of developers happy to work for the brand, Apple undoubtedly has the ability to make this happen. All they need now is willingness. 

Do you want Apple to launch a gaming console? All in favor, say aye!

PalwashaS has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, NVIDIA, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool is short Sony (ADR). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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