Should Apple create a dedicated gaming device with physical controls?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: February 28, 2012

Not all that long ago, I asked you your thoughts on whether or not Sony’s new handheld gaming console, the PlayStation Vita, would be able to spice up the dedicated mobile gaming market. After all, unlike Nintendo’s 3DS device, the PS Vita is a hardcore gaming and media unit, and that’s exactly where Sony is positioning it. But, let’s take it from a different angle, shall we? Let’s talk about something that’s been mentioned in the past, but take it a bit more seriously.

Specifically, let’s talk about Apple and mobile gaming. We all know that Apple has a handle on the experience, based entirely on the App Store. Of course, the power of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S, the iPad 2, and the latest generation iPod Touch devices helps quite a bit. So that’s great, these devices are top of the line and they have a plethora of games to choose from.

But Apple’s main focus isn’t gaming, not even close. Apple isn’t in the gaming industry, they are just an outlet for developers to create and release their games and make a bunch of money. Apple creates software and hardware, and that’s it. But, what if? What if they actually took a focus on the gaming market, and went right after Sony and Nintendo?

As it stands right now, Sony and Nintendo are definitely not only aware of Apple’s presence in the mobile market, but trying to outpace them. It may not be a race that they can win, of course, as the smartphone market is almost completely out of hand. Not in a bad way, mind you. The fact that we have so many different smartphones to choose from, all of which can do (almost) whatever we want them to is nothing short of amazing.

But I think if Apple wanted to branch out, to actually really embrace the gaming industry, they could do that with a dedicated device. And, in truth, it wouldn’t actually be all that out of the realm of their present library of hardware. Yes, they’ve got the media player, the phone and the tablet, so a new dedicated gaming device would seem to fit in there pretty nicely.

Some folks will point out that the iPod Touch is marketed as a gaming device, but that’s not the same thing. The iPhone is marketed the same way, because the same games can be played on the same devices. The iPod Touch is as much a gaming device as the iPhone is, and vice versa. I want Apple to create a device that has physical controls, a quad-core processor, and a display with a Retina Display.

Yeah, that sounds like it would actually be a magical device. The PS Vita is great, it really is. The display rocks, but you know what? The OS lags a bit. Sure, it could probably work on a smartphone at some point in the future, but right now even with a quad-core processor under the hood, the Vita lags a bit and it’s annoying. I don’t think a dedicated gaming device with iOS, physical controls, and created solely to play video games would lag, and therefore it would be completely worth it.

But, considering how dedicated Apple is to staying away from physical controls, I don’t think that will ever happen. Additionally, Apple probably won’t go out of their comfort zone anytime soon. What they’re doing is working for them, and so creating a new device in a market that is rumored to be dead probably won’t happen.

But, I can dream.

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