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Ex-PlayStation head: Apple may own gaming in a decade

updated 03:25 pm EDT, Mon June 20, 2011

Ex-SCEA Harrison sees Apple leading games in years

Former SCEA head Phil Harrison predicted in a recent interview that Apple could dictate gaming within a decade. Asked where he saw Apple in ten years, the PlayStation pioneer told Edge there was a "pretty good chance" iOS could "be the games industry." Its sales rates were very rapid, and Apple wasn't tied down by a need to please game retailers that have threatened retaliation should companies like Nintendo and Sony drop physical game sales.

"You see something on the App Store, you click a button, the product delivers to your device," Harrison explained. "That end-to-end shopping experience, if you want to call it that, has been so elegantly built by Apple and they will continue to refine it... console companies run the risk of becoming a little antiquated unless they change their business model."

Microsoft and Sony could move to digital-first on their new systems, he suspected. Nintendo might be behind, in part because of the timing of the Wii U as the first next-generation TV console. Most of the "smart silicon innovation" would still be going into mobile.

The statement would contradict the view of Harrison's former employer, which has been counting on the PSVita as a return to form in the mobile world. SCEA's current president Jack Tretton wants Vita to be important enough that it could be considered as important as a phone to some gamers. Apple's advantage has been widely credited to making multi-role devices where gaming is just one of several roles.

Regardless of the category, Harrison saw the industry moving increasingly to cloud storage and the web, to the point where the idea of centralized local storage would be "a joke" in two decades and the browser would be near-invisible. He saw displays moving more towards fast refresh rates for things like 3D than Retina Display-level resolutions. Biometrics could play a large role in measuring even subtle conditions of a user, and companies like Nintendo or Sony could turn into pure services as local hardware becomes less important.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Makes sense

    Makes sense iOS keeps coming out with useful features for games. (Though still no buttons) The PSVita is a non starter. It's not a phone, so you don't NEED it with you at all time. Sure it replaces an iPod touch, but that just means you've only replaced a third of the market for iPhone and iPod touch, and haven't even thought of replacing the iPad.

    Not to mention I think the Apple TV mirroring is just the first step. Soon you're gonna see games coming out for the next gen Apple TV.

  1. BigMac2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple doesn't care about gaming industry.

    Apple has everything in its sleeves to shake the whole gaming industry. Most of the time every new gaming console is sold under cost to gain market share and make their money with licensed game. Apple could come out with an Apple TV with iPad 2 hardware, sale it for 99$ and still make money. Any current iOS device could bring Onplay gaming on TV screen and proven to have enough power for bigger game like Dead space, Real Racing et Infinity Blade.

    The only piece is missing from Apple in this puzzle is a good wireless game controller. But again beside the failed Pippin, Apple never showed any interest into gaming industry.

  1. DannyMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Pippin 2

    Hooray! Hopefully, the Pippin will finally get a successor! ;P

  1. imNat-imadouche

    Joined: Dec 1969



    keep dreaming

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple TV + Apple TV App Store = Game Over.

    Apple is already on the fast track to dominate hand-held gaming. iPhone/iPod touch and iPad are great game development platforms, and developers are the crucial to the success of a platform (right, Ballmer?)

    The one glaring weakness in Apple's iOS product lineup is native apps for Apple TV. When Apple TV rolls out an App Store for 1920x1080 native HDTV resolution iOS apps, there will be nothing left for Apple to conquer. Their OSes and App Stores will cover all screens from pocket-sized to living room-sized HDTV. (And, conveniently, 1920 is exactly 2x the iPhone 4's pixel width of 960...)

    Game developers: port your games to iOS. Your competitors certainly will.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't think so, unless

    I don't see Apple really taking over the gaming scene, portable or console. While there are a number of games on iOS, only a few are really anything more than short, time wasters. Really deep gaming is hardly on iOS. If things stay the same as they are now, not a change...but

    IF Apple were to seriously court the major game designers, then things might be different. If we were to see a number of games from Square-Enix (already showing a few games - FF1, FF2, FF3), etc. then iOS might have a chance.

    Still the biggest problem is the hardware limitations - no physical buttons. The games just don't play as well with virtual controls.

    Both Sony and Nintendo have a large collection of IP that iOS just cannot touch. For my handheld gaming I will use my PSP 1000 and DS Lite. Later this year I will pick up a PSV and Nintendo 3DS. The only games on my iPhone are FF3, Plants vs. Zombies, and Samurai Bloodshow (Japanese App Store).

  1. samirsshah

    Joined: Dec 1969



    needs to be one step ahead in putting graphics on chips.

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