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Topic: Apple AirPlay - a preview and warning for Wii U?

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Bankai

1. Posted:

I’ve been playing around with Apple’s AirPlay feature via iPad and Apple TV, and it really does surprise me that more isn’t made of this feature. Put the two of them together and you get a console-quality experience, which you’re then able to pick up and seamlessly take on the road with you.

In fact, the experience that AirPlay offers is eerily close to the kind of experience that Nintendo is promising the Wii U will offer. And by playing with AirPlay, perhaps we’re getting both a sneak preview into Nintendo’s next console, and perhaps a warning siren about the Wii U’s future.

But first, AirPlay. There’s a range of games that have been optimied for AirPlay, and they’re all pretty incredible on the big HD TV screen. Real Racing 2 and Modern Combat 3 are the biggest highlights of this range of games. Both are not quite up to the standards of a PS3 or Xbox 360, but well beyond the output of the Nintendo Wii. Not bad for a handheld device.

Playing these games is also very comfortable – for anyone who is used to playing games on touch screens, that is. Once you’ve set up the virtual buttons in comfortable positions so that you no longer need to look down at the screen, it’s a short process of acclimatisation, and using the iPad as a controller starts to feel as intuitive as physical buttons. Now I’ve never really understood how people struggle with virtual controls though, so perhaps I’m just lucky here, but there’s so many different ways to play these games – including gyro controls, that most people should find a control set up that is comfortable for them.

Those games that are AirPlay optimised also use the iPad’s screen for maps and other supplementary information – much like what the Wii U will offer once Nintendo’s new console launches. While not every game is upscaled onto the big screen through the Apple TV (and it is disappointing there aren’t more games that support it), almost every other game is still playable through mirroring too. This simply replicates the iPad screen on the TV, allowing you to “blow up” everything that you’re doing.

So, for instance, I plugged in my 60beat controller and got into The Bard’s Tale through AirPlay. The experience was literally that of a console game. It’s a little unwieldy in that I needed three separate pieces of technology to make it happen, but it worked, and then I was able to continue playing the exact same game of The Bards Tale on the train.

And consider this – you’ll be able to use AirPlay and the OnLive app for full console games if you’re in America, and on top of that, Apple is potentially developing a controller of its own. With 20,000+ games on the app store, and with the inevitable scramble that would occur to support this controller, pairing an Apple TV with an iPad (or iPhone), is going to give gamers access to a very, very big library of games.

The reality is that I’ve spent more time messing around with AirPlay than playing my other consoles in the past few weeks. And yet, the versatility of AirPlay as a gaming device is something I read very little about.

That got me to thinking: why is it that such a neat feature is all but ignored? It’s not because Apple is a niche company (it being the largest company in the world and all), or that the iPad (or Apple TV) has performed poorly in the market. The consumer interest is there.

And yet developers haven’t really shown interest in AirPlay. One new release game in 100, if that, supports AirPlay. Is this because it’s hard to develop for (given Apple’s history, unlikely)? Or is there another, more worrying cause for the lack of interest?

The answer, regardless of what it is, is a bit of a worry when we get to looking at the Wii U. The feature that Nintendo is pushing most heavily on its upcoming console is a feature that is closest to being a failure in terms of gaming from Apple (it’s worth noting that the Apple TV + iPad combo is popular for presentations and the like in business settings). Given there’s been an underwhelming response to the Wii U amongst analysts, the market, and just about everyone else outside of the Nintendo faithful, here’s a bit of a worrying thought:

“Perhaps people just don’t care for this kind of gameplay.”

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FOREST_RANGER

2. Posted:

Don't forget the fact that you need at least $600 to make the Wii U-like experience possible on the iDevices when you can get the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 for a cheaper price. I'd think that will make developers inconsiderate of the platform. The Wii U comes with a tablet that should be simple to set up (I'd think that the Air Play setup is simple as well, but that's not the point), so you can get a similar experience out of the box, and for maybe less than $500. But interesting point nonetheless.

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Bankai

3. Posted:

FOREST_RANGER wrote:

Don't forget the fact that you need at least $600 to make the Wii U-like experience possible on the iDevices when you can get the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 for a cheaper price. I'd think that will make developers inconsiderate of the platform. The Wii U comes with a tablet that should be simple to set up (I'd think that the Air Play setup is simple as well, but that's not the point), so you can get a similar experience out of the box, and for maybe less than $500. But interesting point nonetheless.

Crap. I had completely forgotten about the price thing, because I've acquired all the technology over a course of a few years. Great point.

I wonder if that would have that much of an impact on the gaming bit, though. After all, people are always telling me that people buy Apple products for lots of reasons, and gaming is just an "extra."

If so, People buy the Apple TV for movies, the iPad for a few hundred things, and then AirPlay would still just be an "extra." As games have flourished as "extras" on Apple devices, I would have thought they could as AirPlay extras too.

Hmmm.

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Hokori

4. Posted:

Preview maybe, warning no

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Retro_on_theGo

5. Posted:

The best reason this hasn't been supported more probably is because of the money. Look at the price it would be to get the 3 different devices you say give you this pretty much console experience, and the price of an actual game console. Let's say PS3. The average consumer is going to go for the PS3 if they're primarily looking for video games. Like you said most people with an IPad just treat the good games on it as extras. So the odds of people seriously wanting this are low, and most likely not profitable.
As for your comment on this possibly indicating the future of Wii U. Seeing as even some of the Nintendo faithful, such as me, don't care for the Wii U I say it probably isn't too crazy to worry the Wii U won't be so hot. I hope it doesn't fail, but I'm not looking forward to the console right now.

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Bankai

6. Posted:

Retro_on_theGo wrote:

The best reason this hasn't been supported more probably is because of the money. Look at the price it would be to get the 3 different devices you say give you this pretty much console experience, and the price of an actual game console. Let's say PS3. The average consumer is going to go for the PS3 if they're primarily looking for video games. Like you said most people with an IPad just treat the good games on it as extras. So the odds of people seriously wanting this are low, and most likely not profitable.
As for your comment on this possibly indicating the future of Wii U. Seeing as even some of the Nintendo faithful, such as me, don't care for the Wii U I say it probably isn't too crazy to worry the Wii U won't be so hot. I hope it doesn't fail, but I'm not looking forward to the console right now.

My personal suspicion is that the reason developers aren't bothering with AirPlay is because it's not a feature that's going to help sell the game. In other words, no one is going to look at a game that says "now with AirPlay," and go "wow, I got to have this game now!"

And that, in turn, makes me wonder whether Nintendo is going to be able to convince the mass market that the "now-with-streaming-to-a-tablet-with-buttons!" is an essential feature.

Edited on by theblackdragon

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FOREST_RANGER

7. Posted:

You have an interesting insight with the fact that the iPad had sold a lot, and that it's a popular device. Now it's up to the Apple TV to help the realization of such an interesting control scheme. The little-box-that-could will have to compete with the Xbox 360, PS3, and even the Wii, and since Apple acknowledged that the Apple TV is more like a 'hobby' product than one with lots of potential, that's looking a little grim. Well, only time can tell.

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Aviator

8. Posted:

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@Chocobo Do a lot of games support AirPlay that is more than just putting the iPad/Phone onto the TV?

I know Sonic Racing does a Mario Kart type set up, but that's about it.

Edited on by Aviator

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Bankai

9. Posted:

@Chocobo Do a lot of games support AirPlay that is more than just putting the iPad/Phone onto the TV?

What do you mean? Maps on the bottom screen at the like? Modern Combat 3 and Real Racing are the two I'm playing at the moment, and Real Racing turns the bottom screen into a map.

Modern Combat is less interesting, but it's 1080... p? i? one or the other. On a big TV it looks even better than an iPad 3.

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Kagamine

10. Posted:

I will admit @Waltz when i saw you started this thread i almost left right away, but after reading you do make some excellent points. While i don't own an Apple TV or an Ipad (I personally prefer Android), the features you describe do sound alluring. Most of the main issues have already been addressed in the topic such as high entry fee and a lesser amount of games. However if i decided to go iOS instead of android, well i would be out buying an apple TV this very moment.

I quite enjoy many mobile games, and having airplay specialization could be a huge market. I think if apple started to make the apple TV more known this feature and setup could be a serious rival to the big three. However it would need larger scale games, and that controller you mentioned sounded interesting. It seems that there is all the potential for a great home to handheld gaming device here, if only apple pushed it more.

I only say that they need to push it more because many people i know, including ipad owners, have no idea what an apple TV is. And i dont just mean my old grandmother either. Friends and family ranging from 10 to 40 have no clue what it is. They say they have seen it, but it "looked uninteresting" and "useless." If apple took advantage of this clear situation, and started marketing the Ipad and apple TV as a gaming device (Do i smell a bundle in the air?) it could really take off. The only problem at that point would be the price. And as we all know, Apple isn't cheap, many would rather go with something more affordable, even if it cant do as much.

Also, I apologize for the horrible grammar and capitalization in that paragraph, it's 1 a.m. here, and i am exhausted so i rushed, and don't feel like editing...

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Sean_Aaron

11. Posted:

Given the installed base of the iPad, Apple might be able to push this more; it all depends on whether or not they really want to try. The iPad is definitely a personal device and the games for it don't support multiple profiles that I've seen which would suggest that single-player gaming would be the focus and that's not what Nintendo is doing with Wii/Wii U.

I think the Airplay idea is niche until Apple decides to stop making significant margin on the iPad and given they get a cut of all game sales on the iOS platforms anyway, unless that ecosystem starts to die they don't really have much incentive to take a risk on pursuing any kind of home console market that I can see.

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GameLord08

12. Posted:

You really couldn't just leave well enough alone, could you? Sorry, but this "AirPlay" business still proves to my perspective that it doesn't simulate even a microchip of what the Wii U offers to do, even from what you seem to have so vaguely stated. In fact, they're not even in the same market or consumerism base, let alone serving the same purpose.

From what I read, it's more or less something that could see itself competing with the likes and purposes of Ouya, except for quite a cost more (honestly, I need an iPad and an Apple TV?) - and really, nobody needs that.

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Bankai

13. Posted:

Sean_Aaron wrote:

Given the installed base of the iPad, Apple might be able to push this more; it all depends on whether or not they really want to try. The iPad is definitely a personal device and the games for it don't support multiple profiles that I've seen which would suggest that single-player gaming would be the focus and that's not what Nintendo is doing with Wii/Wii U.

I think the Airplay idea is niche until Apple decides to stop making significant margin on the iPad and given they get a cut of all game sales on the iOS platforms anyway, unless that ecosystem starts to die they don't really have much incentive to take a risk on pursuing any kind of home console market that I can see.

As I think on it more, the price is a really good point, but I'm not sure its relevant as to why people are not playing games over AirPlay.

The iPad sells incredibly well. The Apple TV has sold pretty well, and I would guess that most people with Apple TVs also have iPads or iPhones, since it's almost exclusively a product for the Apple fanatics.

So the install base with AirPlay is already significant. And yet game developers haven't shown much interest in it as a feature. It weirds me out because App store developers usually fall over themselves to support whatever Apple does (Game Center, for instance).

So let me clarify here - the issue isn't uptake. Uptake of AirPlay is good. The issue is the interest in supporting this feature (and by extension, what the Wii U is offering) on the developer side of things.

Or to put it in another way - once the initial interest in the Wii U dies away, are we going to be left with a console that, like the 3D in the 3DS, no one is that interested in supporting?

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Bankai

14. Posted:

GameLord08 wrote:

You really couldn't just leave well enough alone, could you? Sorry, but this "AirPlay" business still proves to my perspective that it doesn't simulate even a microchip of what the Wii U offers to do, even from what you seem to have so vaguely stated. In fact, they're not even in the same market or consumerism base, let alone serving the same purpose.

You haven't used AirPlay, clearly.

From what I read, it's more or less something that could see itself competing with the likes and purposes of Ouya, except for quite a cost more (honestly, I need an iPad and an Apple TV?) - and really, nobody needs that.

You haven't used AirPlay, Apple TV, or probably and iPad, for that matter.

Comparisons to Ouya are just silly.

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shingi_70

15. Posted:

Apple TV still is a pretty niche product t. Was hoping a more mainstream revision would be announced at WWDC. Good write up, does this happen to be a copy paste from your site.

Personally I'm more fond of Airplay and Smartglass due to the flexability that those two implemntaions give. But I also under stand the cost restraints of these compared to the wii U.

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Odnetnin

16. Posted:

LollipopChoSaw wrote:

Or to put it in another way - once the initial interest in the Wii U dies away, are we going to be left with a console that, like the 3D in the 3DS, no one is that interested in supporting?

But the 3D is just one aspect of the 3DS, so thankfully the system as a whole is still getting a fair amount of support (imo at least). Are you positing that the tablet aspect of the Wii U is its only (not just most-marketed and primary) selling point/worthwhile feature? Not necessarily disagreed, just interested.

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Bankai

17. Posted:

Dark_Oddy_Rises wrote:

LollipopChoSaw wrote:

Or to put it in another way - once the initial interest in the Wii U dies away, are we going to be left with a console that, like the 3D in the 3DS, no one is that interested in supporting?

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But the 3D is just one aspect of the 3DS, so thankfully the system as a whole is still getting a fair amount of support (imo at least). Are you positing that the tablet aspect of the Wii U is its only (not just most-marketed and primary) selling point/worthwhile feature? Not necessarily disagreed, just interested.

[/div]

Well, exactly. If the 3DS can survive (even thrive) after Nintendo effectively stopped selling the 3D as the console's main feature, then the Wii U can potentially get by once everyone realises that this tablet/ TV combo isn't all it's cracked up to be.

But I do think that Nintendo will stop pushing this feature through its marketing in the future. It's proving to be a difficult feature to promote.

Edited on by Bankai

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FOREST_RANGER

18. Posted:

LollipopChoSaw wrote:

So let me clarify here - the issue isn't uptake. Uptake of AirPlay is good. The issue is the interest in supporting this feature (and by extension, what the Wii U is offering) on the developer side of things.

The difference between the Wii U and iDevices is the distribution of games. There is so many games, that new apps could be struggling to be recognized and, therefore, drown in hundreds of thousands of apps that is the ocean we call App Store. They could be marketed, but then devs would have to resort to a publisher depending on the budget.

The Wii U, on the other hand, should have substantially less games released, not to mention the developers required to be licensed developers and order the development kits.

Edited on by FOREST_RANGER

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Bankai

19. Posted:

FOREST_RANGER wrote:

LollipopChoSaw wrote:

So let me clarify here - the issue isn't uptake. Uptake of AirPlay is good. The issue is the interest in supporting this feature (and by extension, what the Wii U is offering) on the developer side of things.

[/div]

The difference between the Wii U and iDevices is the distribution of games. There is so many games, that new apps could be struggling to be recognized and, therefore, drown in hundreds of thousands of apps that is the ocean we call App Store. They could be marketed, but then devs would have to resort to a publisher depending on the budget.

The Wii U, on the other hand, should have substantially less games released, not to mention the developers required to be licensed developers and order the development kits.

This is all very true, and I've got nothing to add/ debate with it. :P

Whether what you've outlined above is enough to encourage developers to work with the format remains to be seen!

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GameLord08

20. Posted:

LollipopChoSaw wrote:

GameLord08 wrote:

You really couldn't just leave well enough alone, could you? Sorry, but this "AirPlay" business still proves to my perspective that it doesn't simulate even a microchip of what the Wii U offers to do, even from what you seem to have so vaguely stated. In fact, they're not even in the same market or consumerism base, let alone serving the same purpose.

[/div]

[/div]

[/div]

[/div]

[/div]

You haven't used AirPlay, clearly.

From what I read, it's more or less something that could see itself competing with the likes and purposes of Ouya, except for quite a cost more (honestly, I need an iPad and an Apple TV?) - and really, nobody needs that.

You haven't used AirPlay, Apple TV, or probably and iPad, for that matter.

Comparisons to Ouya are just silly.

[/div]

[/div]

[/div]

[/div]

Stating the obvious, aren't we? It's rather blatant that I have no experience with any of the above; I'm going by what you've described - I'm amused that you thought I have had anything to do with AirPlay. The fact that I haven't is the whole point of why I'm rather aloof with this whole prospect. I'm not an Apple veteran consumer or anything, so if you want to convince me that AirPlay is something completely different, then you'll have to do a lot better. I don't know anything about this. From where I'm standing, comparisons to the Wii U are just shallow.

Basically, from what you've described, AirPlay is a gaming experience which you pair your tablet controller, an iPad, with an Apple TV, and you basically get access to the entire iOS library and the OnLive service to, giving you access to many current-gen games. That sounds just like what Ouya provides, only upscaled, more expensive, and with an extra screen. So unless you can somehow persuade or educate me that this is not the case, I'm unfortunately going to label you as an over-attached fan.

Edited on by GameLord08

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