Is Apple’s Living Room Gaming Strategy Already Here?

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Many have speculated that Apple could make a move into the console gaming market. I’ve always been skeptical of such an idea, even though it isn’t without precedent. But what if Apple’s already made its living-room play, and we just have to wait for all the pieces to come together?

Apple’s gaming strategy is currently focused on the mobile space, but it could easily transition into the living room. Here’s why:

1. iOS Is a Robust Gaming Platform

It’s hard to overstate the success of gaming on the iPhone and iPod touch. There are an estimated 125 million iOS devices in users’ hands and more than 40,000 gaming titles in the App Store. Games continue to be among the top-selling apps on the iOS charts.

With iOS, Apple has the most important part of the gaming equation down: a solid software library for users to choose from. Though every title won’t translate well to a big-screen gaming experience, many would, including Galaxy on Fire 2, Reckless Racing and Age of Zombies. Upcoming titles like Infinity Blade, with its rich, Unreal 3 engine graphics, immersive gameplay, show that iOS titles could potentially compete with even the most ambitious console games.

2. No New Hardware Required

Apple doesn’t need to make a game console for the living room, because it already has all the components readily available to consumers. The Apple TV, the iPad, and the iPhone/iPod touch are all the home console many people could ever want.

Third-party developers are painting a picture of how this might work. The Incident, one of my favorite iOS games, recently introduced an update that allows you to use the iPhone as a controller for the iPad. A user figured out that, using Apple’s own dock connector-to-VGA adapter, he could run the game on his TV and control it with his iPhone. Here’s a video of the system in action:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wkRtztB7OA&feature=player_embedded]

This is a bit cumbersome, but once Apple introduces app support on the Apple TV, or at the very least, extends AirPlay beyond just movies and videos to streaming applications, it could be a more viable option.

3. Extra Investment From Apple Is Minimal

The only thing Apple has to do to move gaming from its mobile platform and onto users’ TVs is introduce an API. In fact, the company might only have to bundle existing APIs together and push the concept on developers.

Apple could just let people use the VGA connector to transmit iOS games to their televisions. However, the idea holds so much profit potential that Cupertino could easily introduce iOS gaming to the Apple TV. That would provide a major differentiator for Apple’s streaming media box versus its Google competition.

What do you think? Is Apple working toward becoming a major player in the home console gaming market?

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