Late last month, Steam founder Gabe Newell expressed his view that Apple could take over living room gaming with the Apple TV. Now, Nat Brown, one of the first engineers to join the Xbox project back in 1999, has published a blog post expressing similar thoughts by saying that Microsoft is missing out on a major opportunity by not opening up the Xbox platform to small developers. He believes that’s an issue Apple could easily exploit to gain a foothold in the home gaming market.
Why can’t I write a game for Xbox tomorrow using $100 worth of tools and my existing Windows laptop and test it on my home Xbox or at my friends’ houses? Why can’t I then distribute it digitally in a decent online store, give up a 30% cut and strike it rich if it’s a great game, like I can for Android, for iPhone, or for iPad?
Brown says the terms of the Xbox developer program make it virtually impossible for an independent developer to succeed on the platform.
Brown says, “Apple, if it chooses to do so, will simply kill Playstation, Wii-U and xBox by introducing an open 30%-cut app/game ecosystem for Apple-TV. I already make a lot of money on iOS – I will be the first to write apps for Apple-TV when I can, and I know I’ll make money.”
He continued to say that sticking with the $99 price point of the current Apple TV might not be an issue. “Maybe a “console-capable” Apple-TV isn’t $99, maybe it’s $199, and add another $79 for a controller.”
He finished by saying the current numbers say a lot, that even the Apple TV in its current form sold 5.3 million units in 2012, for a 90% year-over-year growth rate. According to his numbers, the Xbox 360 sold about 9 million units in 2012, a 60% drop year-over-year.