Apple finds itself in an extremely enviable position. For years now, the company has been the envy of companies that wish they could generate billions of dollars each quarter on products that make customers drool. Apple is a special case. And it seems that every market it enters, it’s successful in.
That’s precisely why I’m confused by Apple’s seeming unwillingness to jump into the gaming space.
Apple’s iOS platform is rather interesting. Although Apple didn’t really plan it this way, its mobile operating system has become one of the most popular gaming platforms in the world. For years, customers have been turning to their iPhones, iPads, and iPods to play titles. And with each new hardware improvement, developers have been jumping at the chance to increase the playability (and beauty) of their games.
And yet, Apple has done little to acknowledge that. Each year at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple invites game companies on stage to show off their new creations for the latest version of iOS, but Apple has balked at portraying itself as a gaming leader. Instead, it simply wants to allow game developers to succeed on its products without truly mentioning its important involvement.
I think that’s a mistake. Apple has become a gaming company, whether the firm wants to admit it or not. And Apple’s success in mobile gaming could very easily translate to success in the console market.
Think about it: whenever Apple launches hardware, customers flock to buy it. When the company unveiled a new iPad Mini recently, it took only hours before the white version’s initial supply was sold out. The iPhone 5 is still on backorder for some models.
Right now, the gaming space is ripe for Apple’s involvement. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are coasting without focusing too much on dramatic improvement. Instead, the companies are content with iterative updates that might be appealing to customers now, but won’t be able to hold up over the long-term. After all, the Wii U can match the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but can it really be expected to compete with the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4?
Apple, meanwhile, has the cash and the know-how to do something special in gaming. The company could deliver a console that bests anything Microsoft and Sony might offer in the coming years. And with the billions in cash it has on hand, it wouldn’t take much for Apple to acquire a developer or two and get quality first-party titles onto store shelves.
And yet, Apple ignores gaming. The company seems content to deliver tablets, computers, smartphones, and music players, and couldn’t care less about consoles.
Hopefully things will change. Apple has all of the ingredients to become a leader in the console market. And its brand recognition is second to none. The company should jump into gaming and start putting pressure on the current competitors. After all, why wouldn’t it want to control another multibillion dollar market?