I blogged in June about how Apple TV, combined with the iPad 2, made for a console gaming experience. Time for an update.
Firemint recently published an update to Real Racing 2 which adds four player multiplay mode, on the TV. As long as you have at least one iPad 2 or a new iPhone 4S & an Apple TV 2 unit, you can use that device to host a four-way racing game on your HDTV. The rest of the devices can be old iPhones or iPod Touches, only one of the devices actually has to have the streaming capability.
This is pretty awesome. I’m expecting the next gen of iPod Touch will also gain the full mirroring ability, at which point Apple will have a competitive offering to multiplayer gaming compared to the console manufacturers.
Further, I think people working on Wii U at Nintendo ought to be worried. Apple’s solution will be competitive in pricing once the mirror-capable iPod lands, they have a massive existing games ecosystem and the iPod is hugely desirable as a piece of electronics compared to the fugly Wii U controller Nintendo has been showing in public.
This does make me sad given I think Nintendo gets games on a much deeper level than Apple, but is losing to Apple due to having been reluctant in building a platform that enables gaming like App Store. And obviously Apple is currently way ahead in designing and manufacturing hardware.
The next interesting piece of this puzzle is, what will the next Apple TV be like, and are the Apple HDTV set rumors true. If Apple TV had the same graphic processing internals as the iPhone, you could just run the game on the set top box, and purchase a couple iPod touches as controllers. Interesting times!
(If someone at Apple really wanted to push this forwards, they’d create a simple sample multiplayer game shows the board on a TV. Doing this is not hugely complicated, but removing friction in getting started with this would be good for developers.)