Category

Apple and games: reflecting on the company’s relationship (its devices and systems) with games

The first console to be marketed in history was Odyssey, from Magnavox, back in 1972. It has been almost 45 years and the technology has evolved in such a way that today we can enjoy games with the most incredible graphics on small devices that fit in our pockets!

In addition to everything being very portable, the creation, development and distribution of games for platforms like computers and smartphones. This path ends up taking the monopoly of the market from the big producers, giving greater opportunities to independent developers – which is great.

In this sense, the Apple it ends up having a very large participation for encouraging more and more developers to create applications for their systems and always separate part of events to show the capacity of their devices when running games that demand ever better specifications.

If, on the one hand, Nintendo surrendered to the mobile world by launching several titles for smartphones and also invested in a hybrid that makes it possible to play both on a dock connected to the TV and on a tablet, Apple seems to have done the opposite way to break new game paths for Apple TV.

Still, there are some decisions by Apple that seem to clash with the support it has given to gamers. Of course, the company never said that its focus would be games, but in this article we will reflect on the paths traced by Apple and what it could do to improve the experience of users who use their devices to play games.

Let’s go!

Apple and games

Category

There are more than 2 million applications on the App Store, and the largest category remains the Games (Games), with approximately 20% of the total.

In addition to generating fat profits – see the success of Pokémon GO – within the category you can find titles for all ages, ranging from the best produced to the simplest, passing through those that require more attention, those that serve more as a hobby … that is, it has something for every taste.

Exactly because it has become a great power in the mobile games industry (most of the values ​​- we need to recognize – go to developers), Apple has even placed a greater focus on games, always demonstrating the potential of its iOS devices in its keynotes, whether in the presentation of the OSs or the hardware itself. A clear example of this was last year’s big surprise at one of Apple’s special events, in which Super Mario Run was presented.

However, the same reality is not reflected in the Mac App Store. If we look at the titles available on macOS, we might be a little disappointed. It is no secret that the Mac app store itself is not there at its best, but if we pay attention to the presentations of Apple’s Macs, games have never been highlighted.

In the Steam game catalog, for example, you can see that many of the main titles are available for Windows, but not for macOS. Obviously, we cannot ignore the fact that many gamers prefer PCs for the ease of assembling as they want more powerful machines, capable of withstanding the heaviest games. We know that the company’s focus is not this, but as we are reflecting, we can say that, if Apple wanted, it would have already facilitated this part long time – nor would it need to exactly allow the user to assemble his machine, but at least improve and create new software / hardware suitable for this audience.

It would be a dream, really.

The potential of a social gaming network

Game Center Mockup

In 2010, when Apple brought the idea of ​​a social gaming network to its operating systems, the Game Center it seemed to have great potential. The idea was wonderful: to gather all the achievements, challenges, leaderboards with the best scores in one app, in addition to being able to add friends and invite them to play. However, it seems that, over the years, the company forgot to improve it, leaving everything to the mark. Several people still used that plant to see their achievements, but the “social” nature did not seem to have achieved it.

Finally, with the arrival of iOS 10 and macOS Sierra 10.12, Apple announced that it would get rid of the application instead. The system of achievements, challenges and everything else still works, but within the respective games – no longer in a central. So, when we run a game, it appears at the top that we are entering the Game Center, but the company now encourages developers to create interactions within the games themselves.

It is true that, as it was, I couldn’t stay. The app was not really popular – so much that many liked the change – but several users expressed dissatisfaction with this decision by Apple. Within these was the Victor Pellanda, reader MacMagazine, who “recreated” the Game Center in mockups superbacanas.

The concept brings to the late app some ideas that would really take advantage of the full potential of a social gaming network. In the bottom menu, we would have “Players” (Players), “Feed”, “Games” (Games) and “Search” (Search). In the first tab it would be possible to “follow” friends (as it happened), but the difference is the possibility of following celebrities in the area, such as YouTubers Leon (Nerd stuff ?), Malena, Damiani, etc., as well as famous people who would also be registered in the Game Center (ironically, the example is “Bill Gates”). ?

New Game Center Mockup

At the Feed, we would have a view of all updates from users (people we’re following) with “Play Cards” referring to the games and their due scores, challenges, achievements, etc. The updates would be automatic, but you could also share them using the options you already know.

When Apple introduced what would be the new GC (eliminating the app), they argued that it would no longer be necessary to have the list of games and research in a specific app, but that these options would be available on the App Store itself.

However, there are those who miss something more targeted, so Vitor brought back both the tab “Search” to search for users and / or games (highlighting “Recent” and “Most Searched”) and also the tab “Games”, where we would have, in addition to a list with the user’s games, a very special profile for each app with the original art and the main updates of your friends in that game. It would also be great if there was a world score in each game.

New Game Center Mockup

The concept was very interesting, seeming to be a combination of what is now Google Play Games, Android (which does a great job), with the design of Apple Music. Unfortunately it is only an idea, but it would be very good if Apple thought again about this game center left so much aside.

Apple TV and games

Playing on an Apple TV

When the first Apple TV was launched, it got its name for a purpose. Until its third generation, there were no games on the device because its focus was audio, video and photos. Of course, it was possible to mirror the screen of any Apple device and, thus, it would be possible to view your iPhone / iPad game on a much larger screen. But AirPlay was not always (is it?) Reliable enough to have a good experience doing this.

From the moment that the rumors of the fourth generation Apple TV emerged, game fans began to have a hint of hope of seeing something dedicated in the new set-top box.

The buzz was great when it came and, in relation to that, we can think of three moments in the “timeline” of the new Apple TV and its relationship with games: before to be announced soon after to be announced and currently.

Apple TV - Games

Before the new Apple TV was announced, expectations for it were so high that many even thought that Apple would invest even more in this area – and possibly conquer a beautiful place in the console market.

During the keynote in which it was announced, the hype continued, mainly because they point out that “the future of TV is in apps”, opening the door for developers to create games that are both universal – to run on iPhones, iPads and the new Apple TV – and their own / exclusive titles for set-top box – taking advantage of Siri Remote control features, such as accelerometer and gyroscope.

Another interesting and presented fact was the possibility of using gamepads with MFi certificate, connected via Bluetooth, for games. In addition, they would also receive the resource multiplayer (despite specifying that only two would work at a time).

A priori, this made us think that “the sky was the limit”, but soon after revealed two limitations that developers did not like at all: the first was that, to be on the new Apple TV, the application / game could have a maximum of 200MB (the rest, if it exceeds this limit, should be downloaded on demand, by iCloud ).

SteelSeries Nimbus control for Apple TV

The second limitation has to do with Siri Remote, for which Apple required native support in all games. This rule may have caused many developers to abort their ideas of making games available on Apple TV because Siri Remote is not as complete as one. gamepad itself.

Despite this, it seems that the Apple heard the plea of ​​many and, currently, it proved to be a company open to changes along the way. This is because it removed, last year, the obligation to create games natively with support for Siri Remote and, early this year, we received the news that the size limitation for applications would go from 200MB to 4GB.

Does this indicate that Apple is paying attention to this scenario? This (even if small) progress shows that it is. However, we still cannot say that it will focus on games as much as we expect, allowing developers to take flight in addition to casual games. But it would be beautiful to see on Apple TV, for example, support for virtual reality glasses and – why not? – an adapted Game Center (just as they did with the “TV” application), it would certainly be.

· · ·

The games market does not decrease; it just grows – and I’m not just talking about mobile games, since consoles are getting steadier and stronger. For this reason, it is peculiar to know that, if Apple wanted, it could enjoy many things still in this area. Want an example? With the increase in gameplays being made available on services like Twitch and YouTube itself, how incredible would it be if it created a native option for users to record their game matches or even broadcast them live? I would certainly be able to earn a lot with resources of this type.

Regarding their devices, it is undeniable that they are capable of supporting quite elaborate games. Even so, unfortunately, there is and never has been Apple’s position on games. That is, it has never openly commented that the games market would be a path that they are deeply committed to following.

As far as we can analyze, she has only given support (which she normally gives to all developers) and the “hard work” who does it, are the developers. In this, there are no problems, but there are a multitude of opportunities in the market that are just waiting to be embraced by Apple.

And you, what do you think of Apple’s relationship with games? Can we expect more from her in this scenario? ?