Tech: Apple Patent Reveals Dedicated Video Game Controller

It’s no question Apple has done a lot to shake up the gaming industry already, bringing a great deal of success to the portable gaming market with their iOS devices.

But for all their success in this field, Apple has failed to really capture the more ‘core’ market. These are the gamers who are happy to stick with their Xbox’s and PlayStation’s – and to some extent their Wii’s.

But what if Apple were to shift perspective, not unlike what Nintendo are currently doing, and aim to target the ‘core’ gaming market? Many analysts and critics from the game industry have shared their opinions on what could happen if Apple actually did this, bringing them in direct competition with Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft (otherwise known as the ‘Big 3’).

Well a new wave of theories and opinions are about to wash across the Internet because a recently uncovered patent showing designs for a video game controller communicating with an iPhone suggests that Apple may very well be considering exactly that.

The image shown in the patent files displays a controller, which looks uncomfortably like a PlayStation Dual Shock controller, using NFC (Near Field Communication) to connect to an iPhone. Considering the iPhone doesn’t have this ability, it’s possible Near Field Communication technology might get included in the next iPhone? If so then it’s an opportunity for Apple to push this ‘AppleShock’ controller alongside its next phone.

Apple's patent allows controllers to connect with iPhone

But how would you actually play a game on the iPhone while using this controller? Well that is where Apple TV fits it. For anyone who’s entrenched in Apple’s Eco-System this spunky little box no doubt sits at the center of your iOS/OS X based life. The patent makes specific reference to Apple TV as a way of streaming the game from your iOS device onto your television via AirPlay.

AirPlay allows you to stream photos, music, videos and games straight onto your TV screen , and with the latest Apple TV it allows you to do it in full 1080p HD. So whenever you hear people talking about Apple entering the gaming market seriously, Apple TV and AirPlay are at the forefront of the discussion.

There’s no question Apple already have the right blocks set in place to pull this kind of thing off, only needing the controller to ‘glue’ it altogether, but would it even pay off? Would the droves of people currently spending big dollars on the App Store for games like ‘Cut the Rope’ and ‘Infinity Blade’ want to play them on their TV screen at home, and with a controller featuring buttons?

Probably, quite a few of them would. But it’s fair to say a large number wouldn’t. So what would Apple need to do to make this worth while? How can they ensure a chance to really go after the ‘core’ gaming market?

I’d take a guess and say Apple could look at releasing excellent, console worthy games on the App Store, selling them at a fraction of the cost of other console games? It could happen. After all, we’re seeing iOS devices becoming more and more powerful every year, with more games making use of high-end graphics engines such as Unreal 3.

With the integration of Game Center (more of less Apple’s answer to friend lists and achievements services like Xbox Live/PSN) and AirPlay to OS X in this weeks Mountain Lion update, Apple might look at integrating use of this controller to games downloaded from the OS X App Store or other platforms such as Steam (oh, please make that happen).

It’s all just speculation at the moment however, after all patents rarely, if ever, turn out to be something the company in question is working on. And it’s likely that Apple are merely patenting this technology before someone else does. But it does make you wonder… Apple is the only other tech-based company in the world profitable enough to actually consider entering in the gaming industry.

What about you guys? Do you think this Apple gaming controller would work with a iPhone/Apple TV combo? Would you play it? Or do you think it’s a horrible, terrible idea?

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  • Nivlak Bifreið

    Horrible, terrible idea, but sadly it will sale, and sale, and sale.