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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Gaming

Apple TV will be Apple's new games console

By developing Vortex and using the iTunes Store to distribute iPod games -- such as parts of Sonic The Hedgehog and The Sims -- Apple isn't ignoring its potential with the casual gamer market

Is Apple TV to become a games console?

Word is on the street that Apple is going to get into the videogames business, after reports stated it was extending its trademark to cover "handheld units for playing electronic games", "handheld units for playing videogames", "stand-alone videogame machines", "LCD game machines" and "electronic games other than those adapted for use with television receivers only". Apple also advertised for a "game producer/designer" to "develop consumer entertainment software".

But I think assumptions of a dedicated console are a little far from the truth.

Apple developed the excellent game Vortex for the new iPod classic, and it developed the game in-house. It was a huge leap from previous games, the "highlight" of which was the uninspiring Brick title that quite frankly made me want to swallow my own tongue as it was a slightly more engaging experience.

Vortex however, was 3D, engaging, beautifully designed and a joy to play. Apple clearly has a potential future for these sorts of titles, and the iPods are ideal little "handheld units for playing electronic games".

The iPod isn't the only one, though.

Apple TV could lend itself to being something of a console, albeit in a slightly unusual fashion. Like all consoles it spends its time hooked up to a TV, it has plenty of storage and processing power to run similar games to the iPod, and the ease of using a simple handheld remote as a controller is an obvious benefit for people who aren't typically hardcore gamers. By developing Vortex and using the iTunes Store to distribute iPod games -- such as parts of Sonic The Hedgehog and The Sims -- Apple isn't ignoring its potential with the casual gamer market. But not consoles.

Now if the Cupertino camp started hiring entire crowds of developers and play testers, I might think differently. But right now I think it's most likely that Apple TV and iPods will get all the gaming attention from Jobs.