Rather than directly competing with the Xbox One and PS4 in terms of power, Apple will reportedly take an approach akin to Nintendo’s Wii line-up; focusing on ease-of-use and casual players.
Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch have already revolutionised the portable gaming industry but now the company is hoping to have similar success in the home entertainment market.
According to the New York Times, gaming will be the primary selling point for Apple’s new TV set-top box, which is likely to be announced on Wednesday at an event in San Francisco.
Several rumours surrounding the device have come to fruition in recent days and it was always expected to receive gaming content through a new App Store – although there was no confirmation as to whether gaming would be a big feature.
Speaking to the New York Times, Jan Dawson, chief analyst at the technology research firm Jackdaw Research, said: “I think Apple’s going to create a big new category in gaming, one that others have tried and failed to create before.
“What the Apple TV has the potential to do is to bring casual gaming to the living room and make it a much more social activity.”
It is likely that games console sales won’t be affected by Apple’s entry into the market, after all big-budget games like Call of Duty, Destiny or Battlefield won’t run on the rumoured hardware.
Apple’s TV is also unlikely to be able to match the performance of the Xbox One and PS4, although Nintendo’s command of the casual market may be under threat.
Rather worrying for Sony and Microsoft however, will be Apple’s marriage of streaming services and casual gaming – which could threaten the media options available on both of the consoles.
Microsoft heavily focused on utilising the Xbox One as a TV viewing device, enabling users to connect their cable or satellite boxes to the Xbox through the use of an HDMI input.
Apple’s rumoured launch of a cable-cutting service that will stream live TV, as well as on demand content, could threaten Microsoft’s position.
Of course, this isn’t Apple’s first entry into the gaming market – in 1995 the company revealed the Pippin, a gaming platform based on the MacIntosh.
Unfortunately for the Pippin, it didn’t do all too well, leading Apple to cancel the project upon Steve Jobs’ return.
The Apple TV is set to be unveiled on Wednesday.