How Apple Can Become the Next Gaming Giant

Apple has proven itself in the technology industry. It delivers some of the best computers in the world, it has the top smartphone, and its tablet is setting the benchmark by which all other devices are judged. All that has combined to make the company one of the most financially successful firms in the world.

A key component in the success of Apple's mobile products has been games. The company's App Store is filled with outstanding titles, including Angry Birds and Tiny Wings, that captivate audiences across the globe. But there's another important result of the success of those games: Apple's iPhone and iPad are stealing mobile gaming market share from companies like Sony and Nintendo.

Although some might not want to put Apple on the same level as Nintendo and Sony in the gaming market, I think it's impossible not to do so. Apple is a provider of products that millions are playing games on. And the time has come for everyone to stop ignoring that fact.

The only issue is, those critics can't necessarily believe that fact until Apple does as well. The company has acknowledged that games are popular on iOS, but it hasn't gone much further. It seemingly believes that games are a key component in its App Store strategy — nothing more.

But perhaps the time has come for Apple to do more than just offer an App Store. As a hardware company that has witnessed its many products take out the competition with ease, it's now time for Apple to double down on gaming, and become a key player in the living room gaming space.

Luckily for the company, it can do so with ease, thanks to the Apple TV. The only issue is, it can't use the Apple TV in its current form. The company would need to deliver a new version of the device that delivers more capability (especially storage) and perhaps most importantly, access to its App Store.

The future of the gaming business is in downloads. People don't want to head down to GameStop to buy a game when they can get a title for cheaper by downloading it to their respective device. Apple can appeal to that desire now, thanks to its App Store. It's a major advantage.

The device itself can be one of two things: it can be designed for the casual gamer, or Apple can make a device that appeals to both the casual and hard-core gamers among us. In either case, I think the console would be a hit.

As I wrote on these pages recently, I believe the PlayStation 3 is the best entertainment device in the living room. But it didn't earn that by simply offering games. It boasts a Blu-ray player, online-gaming functionality, streaming content, and more. It's a full-fledged entertainment platform.

I believe Apple can deliver the same experience. And the best part is, it's practically there already. It has the streaming content, it offers movies, and it has a digital-delivery system in the App Store. The only major element it's missing is gaming.

Given Apple's history of developing hardware, I think the company could come up with something special. And if it can follow the same path it has in the past, there's no reason to think its console won't top Sony's as the best in the business.