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AppleTV has games potential, but its limitations disappoint

Technical limits create headaches for developers as lack of service offering could prevent new platform finding a big market early on

As has so often been the case with announcements from Apple, a company once famed for its strict secrecy, the rumour mills had the right of it; Wednesday morning's event in California saw the unveiling of a new Apple TV device with a motion-sensitive controller and the ability to run third-party applications. If not exactly centre-stage, games were certainly a major part of the presentation and appear to be a significant part of the offering on the new device; yet even with the new system now unveiled, significant questions about Apple's TV strategy remain, and the firm's relationship with videogames and their creators remains uneasy and awkward.

There are two questions that matter to a game developer when it comes to a new platform; can it play games, and will there be a decent market. The first of those questions was answered at yesterday's event, more or less. The new Apple TV is based on the A8 chip which powers the current generation of iPhones, and it's actually something of an upgrade over those devices, as it sports 2GB of RAM (as is also the case in the new iPhone 6S models). That means it's more than capable of running some pretty graphically impressive games, perhaps even some titles that wouldn't have looked out of place on the PS3 or Xbox 360.

"...games on Apple TV will live or die by how well people can make them work with the bundled remote, regardless of what third-party controllers may or may not be on the market."

There are two very severe limits on the potential for that kind of "console-AAA" style game on the Apple TV, though. The first is that apps on the system are limited to 200mb in size; they can access assets much larger than that, but must be prepared to stream them over the Internet, as they are not allocated any asset storage space on the system (which has only 32GB of storage in total, or 64GB on the larger version; this is very much a streaming box). That's a sufficiently strict limit to have some developers rolling their eyes and declaring the device uninteresting as a game system, but others are no doubt thinking hard about what kind of experiences are possible within that limit. It's worth noting just how rich and complex some browser-based games, which operate within much stricter limitations, can be. 200MB size plus streamed assets is a tough challenge, but not insurmountable; it needs to be considered alongside the arguably tougher challenge of figuring out what people are actually going to want to play on this device.

Which leads us to the second limitation - how, physically, people are going to play games on Apple TV. The system is controlled, as expected, with a new remote that has few physical buttons but sports a very sensitive trackpad, a motion sensing chip and a microphone. There are certainly some interesting things you could do to control a game with that - although I don't doubt the skeptical mind which says that the first thing that's going to happen is a clone of every piece of Wii shovelware ever released - but it does almost entirely preclude simple porting of retro classics, and even of many indie titles. Creators are going to have think hard about how their game will work with that control setup, which may be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the results of their cogitation.

There are other control options; almost every report on the device has pointed out that it works with any MFi compliant Bluetooth game pad, but this feels like little more than an exercise in specification box-ticking. No developer can release a game that relies upon these gamepads, because realistically, the kind of consumer who is willing to buy a gamepad and keep it in his living room in order to play games on his TV is exactly the kind of consumer who buys an actual games console. The old adage that standalone peripherals for game consoles are not worth developing games for holds equally true in this brave new world; games on Apple TV will live or die by how well people can make them work with the bundled remote, regardless of what third-party controllers may or may not be on the market. Of more interest, I think, is the potential for controlling games on the Apple TV using iPhones as controllers; I'm not sold on the idea of an iPhone as a gamepad, but given the ubiquity of iPhones (and perhaps even the potential for companion apps on Android, which may or may not be technically possible), multiplayer games in which each player has a "personal screen" as well as a view of the "main shared screen" have some serious potential.

Despite these limitations, what Apple announced was interesting, as expected; it's arguably the best of the streaming boxes on the market (though it is a little pricey) and certainly the one with the most potential for success as a games platform. Before it succeeds as a games platform, though, Apple needs to ensure its success as a TV platform - and on this front, the company disappointed somewhat. The company is already well out in front of the competition in terms of streaming boxes; the previous Apple TV was the market leader by a huge margin, and this device will no doubt extend that success. The problem for developers is that the market which Apple TV leads is not an entirely impressive one. Certainly, more of our media than ever before is being consumer through streaming devices, but almost any device can stream music and movies; Apple TV may do it more slickly than some others, but for the vast majority of consumers, the solution they have right now probably works fine. Although tvOS (a tasteful and well-designed reskin of iOS) looks nice and the ability to run apps will intrigue some people, the burning question of why a critical mass of consumers would choose to buy something like an Apple TV remains unanswered.

"...with Apple's own service (and perhaps content) offerings seemingly delayed, this feels right now like a device without a killer app."

Answers may be forthcoming later. The self-same rumour mills which so deftly predicted the general shape of the Apple TV announcement also suggest that Apple is set to make further announcements about its TV strategy over the coming months; that the company had hoped to announce the Apple TV box alongside a comprehensive and deeply disruptive streaming TV service which would give the firm top billing among the options for US consumers opting to "cut the cable" and subsist entirely on streamed media. There's also talk of Apple copying Netflix and Amazon by getting into the funding of original content creation - a move which makes even more sense when you consider that the company has for years been buying up an impressive library of independent movies for iTunes. Should those ventures come to pass, and Apple TV sales soar as a consequence, the device will become very, very hard for game developers to ignore.

One can only hope, should that be the case, that Apple will also find game developers hard to ignore. The company has often been accused of being "snobby" about games, as though their presence on its devices is to be tolerated but not celebrated; this is absolutely an attitude which has changed hugely in recent years, but one can't help but look at the game-unfriendly aspects of the Apple TV outlined above and wonder if the upper echelons of the company have really come that far. The firm's management are no doubt aware of just how important games are to the iOS ecosystem, and to their credit they have built very impressive GPU power into their chipsets over the years; but compared to the love-in the company has with the music, movie and TV industries, their engagement with games feels brusque and disconnected. This won't matter terribly in the long run; if Apple TV is an enormous success, games will go there as a matter of course, but there's a lot to be said from Apple's point of view for the device getting some big, eye-catching games that fit its audience profile early in its lifetime, and one would hope that the slightly afterthought-like nature of its public engagement with games does not imply that encouragement of the development of those titles is not going on behind the scenes.

Before any of that becomes truly relevant, though, Apple TV needs to be a major success. The device is interesting and has clearly created some buzz with users who are, not unreasonably, sick of the poor interfaces most TV devices presently sport; but with Apple's own service (and perhaps content) offerings seemingly delayed, this feels right now like a device without a killer app. Developers will undoubtedly be keen to get their teeth into it, but it may be next year before we find out if Apple TV is a straight-up success - or if Apple, and its prodigious wallet, is going to have to get out and push.

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Latest comments (37)

Julian Williams Founder, WIZDISH Ltd.2 years ago
A good summary Rob. Something I find curious is that Apple can propose an 'always connected to the internet gaming device' without comment while Microsoft were damned for suggesting it. What are the possibilities raised by that?

Another thing that didn't quite make the news on this site is this:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2898175/nvidias-next-gen-pascal-gpu-will-offer-10x-the-performance-of-titan-x-8-way-sli.html

In about 9 months time nVidia will start to sell graphics cards which are a full 10 X the power of current ones. That could be disruptive.
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Christopher Garratty Associate Counsel, Activision Blizzard2 years ago
@Juan Personally I think nobody is complaining because nobody cares. Console gamers don't care about console gaming on Apple hardware. Apple purchasers don't care about using that hardware to play console games.

If Braun announced a toothbrush that did always online console gaming, I would expect a similar number of complaints.
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Julian Williams Founder, WIZDISH Ltd.2 years ago
True but it seemed to me that a small but vocal number of core-gamers created a situation that could hold back consoles. Seeing that the number of consoles gamers is a fraction of mobile gamers Apple are probably thinking "you have your bun fights and we'll just clean up". This is what Apple did with the iPod, following lots of confusion regarding DRM, compatibility, UI etc.
The next Apple TV will likely be 10x more powerful than this one, and they can get away with upgrading it every 6 months.
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Show all comments (37)
Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 2 years ago
The next Apple TV will likely be 10x more powerful than this one, and they can get away with upgrading it every 6 months.
I think it gets kind-of dangerous ascribing phone-buying habits to things that are larger (both physically, and mentally). If something costs money and gets placed on the TV stand, then the inclination would be to treat it like everything else on the TV stand - console, BluRay player, DVR, TV. That is to say, upgrade only when it breaks or becomes obviously outdated. The Apple Watch is the same in the sense of, who actually "upgrades" their watch even every year or 2? The only time to do it is when it breaks, or you want to become more ostentatious/stylish.
There's also talk of Apple copying Netflix and Amazon by getting into the funding of original content creation - a move which makes even more sense when you consider that the company has for years been buying up an impressive library of independent movies for iTunes.
I cannot see quality products coming out of this, unless Apple change their image. Whilst sex/violence are not guarantees of quality, I don't think today's Apple would greenlight Hannibal, Game of Thrones, Dexter, Californication, Mr Robot... even Mozart in the Jungle would be pushing it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 11th September 2015 11:19am

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James Coote Independent Game Developer 2 years ago
Wii U devs like me aren't complaining. Got one game in development that uses Wiimotes and another that uses second screens, so both should port quite nicely to Apple TV. My concern is more, as a little indie developer, whether those games will subsequently get drowned in an ocean of shovelware and the equivalent of "virtual-dpad" games. Ones that blatantly weren't designed for the remote control but are on AppleTV because they managed to pass Apple's approvals process.
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James Coote Independent Game Developer 2 years ago
Apple also runs the risk of "outdated hardware" issues with the focus on gaming. Phones are phones - I've got a crappy Sony Xperia that's on Android 3.something, but it does everything I need it to. But with a focus on gaming, hardware limitations on older products becomes more obvious... Sure, Apple consumers don't mind spending metric tons of money on new products, but that's a choice. Once it becomes a requirement to play a newer game, it may be a different issue.
Do Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans run on your Xperia? I don't anticipate the bulk of AppleTV users will care about having the latest game or needing the latest hardware to run it. If you pick the right art style, you can make a game that will look impressive enough and still hit lower devices performance wise.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd2 years ago
Something I find curious is that Apple can propose an 'always connected to the internet gaming device' without comment while Microsoft were damned for suggesting it.
Because tvOS/iOS apps you've bought don't (necessarily) have to phone home to keep working.
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Julian Williams Founder, WIZDISH Ltd.2 years ago
I think it gets kind-of dangerous ascribing phone-buying habits to things that are larger (both physically, and mentally).
That's a very god point and you may be right. On the other hand were your phone buying habits partly created by Apple?
A lot of people seem content to upgrade all the family's devices every two years. It'll be interesting to see what happens if in two year's time Apple TV is far more powerful than consoles. e.g will consoles have to upgrade every year to compete?

Robin. Yes, I overstated that. My point is that Apple seem less susceptible to consumer pressure.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Julian Williams on 11th September 2015 11:46am

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 2 years ago
On the other hand were your phone buying habits partly created by Apple?
Hahah, no, they were not... I see your point. :) It'll definitely be interesting seeing how consumers act/react with AppleTV. :D
Do Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans run on your Xperia? I don't anticipate the bulk of AppleTV users will care about having the latest game or needing the latest hardware to run it. If you pick the right art style, you can make a game that will look impressive enough and still hit lower devices performance wise.
This is true, and is mostly why I deleted that paragraph literally one minute after posting. :D

(And to answer your question, I don't think either CCR or CoC run on it. I've never tried them, but I did try Desert Golfing, and it struggled with even that. I reallllllly need a new phone. :p )

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 11th September 2015 12:35pm

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Keldon Alleyne Developer, leader, writer, Avasopht Ltd2 years ago
Like others have said, you can get away with these limitations.

Just think back to the days of the Videotron cable games. They only need to target casual gaming.
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Anthony Gowland Consulting F2P Game Designer, Ant Workshop2 years ago
On the other hand were your phone buying habits partly created by Apple?
No, they were created by mobile phone companies offering new hardware upgrades "for free" as an incentive to renewing my 24 month contract with them. This has been standard practice since at least the late 90's.

The genius of course being that the upgrade isn't free, the cost of the hardware's just rolled in to your monthly payments, but customers are now used to getting a $600 piece of kit for what they perceive as $100 or less. Nobody upgrades their AV equipment on this kind of schedule because there's no incentive to. Now if Apple and some of their content providers teamed up to offer ATV subscription packages that come with a free box, I could see that nudging people in to the same habit.
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Julian Williams Founder, WIZDISH Ltd.2 years ago
Set top boxes are normally owned by the provider. Apple aren't just going after consoles with this, they're going after cable and satellite companies as well as Netflix, Amazon etc. Gaming is just a feature that ensures you want to upgrade regularly. You could say Microsoft tried to meld TV and gaming but came at it from the wrong angle. TV is the major market so Apple decided to posit that first?
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee2 years ago
You could say Microsoft tried to meld TV and gaming but came at it from the wrong angle. TV is the major market so Apple decided to posit that first?
Bingo.
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Steve Peterson Marketing Consultant 2 years ago
Developers will find ways around the game limitations, if motivated to do so -- and that motivation depends on how many boxes Apple can sell. If (as rumored) a reasonably priced TV bundle is introduced early next year, it's not inconceivable Apple could move 100 million of these boxes in a year. Apple TV would definitely attract game development at that scale. The limitations of the hardware will make it hard to get near the immersion of dedicated consoles, but for the more casual audience Apple is likely to attract that won't matter. I don't see Apple TV as taking away from Xbox or PlayStation (not much, anyway), but adding to the audience of living-room game players.
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments2 years ago
@Steve - it does also depend on what the size of the gaming market on it is - that might be the same as the total sold, or it might be that people are less interested in ios-scale games on a big screen.
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises2 years ago
So... that Xbox style remote in the story's picture DOESN'T come with the Apple TV? That's no fun...
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
@julian

It's the usual double/triple standard. Everything Microsoft does is evil

Amazon builds the Echo, using many of the same people, who built Kinect, and it does precisely what Kinect was supposed to, and likely will with the addition of Cortana still do. But it's not evil

Apple refuses to allow many things, like third party secure programs such as Blu-Ray and DVD playback software. Microsoft was forced by court action to license out those keys and rightfully so. But Apple isn't evil.

Steam holds a virtual monopoly over PC gaming, refusing to provide even basic customer service that your local lawn service does like a phone number, but they're not evil.

This xnsole is all about the Asian smart TV market, China and Korea and the former eastern bloc where all of this are very desirable features. It's also about replacing your cable box

All of which the Xbox One was doing two years ago because Sony sabotaged them to protect their own lack of imagination and hard nose DRM choices (abandoned). It's really funny how many things Microsoft comes up with that are bombs, and made successful by others five years later, half the time by virtue of it not being MS. There a reason why Amazon poached the 360 crew.
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James Coote Independent Game Developer 2 years ago
The limitations of the hardware will make it hard to get near the immersion of dedicated consoles..
I don't think that's true at all. It's about designing with the interface in mind, so the player isn't pulled out of the experience by say, inaccurate controls or holding the controller in a way that gets uncomfortable after a while. Plus also having gameplay that encourages longer sessions.

However, most designers tend to be quite closed-minded about new interfaces. So you're right in that without the incentive of a 100mil customer market, you get the sort of developer apathy that's afflicted the likes of Wii U and Kinect

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Coote on 12th September 2015 12:11pm

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Tom Keresztes Programmer 2 years ago
Apple refuses to allow many things, like third party secure programs such as Blu-Ray and DVD playback software. Microsoft was forced by court action to license out those keys and rightfully so. But Apple isn't evil.
Considering that Macs did not have a built in physical drive for the last couple years thats not surprising. You can get third party players if you need one, as Apple never prohibited DVD players, but you will need an external drive. Neither Microsoft. Microsoft was forced to offer a version of Windows without internet explorer and the media player, and the dvd player became optional in windows 8, but its free with the pro and ultimate editions, but there are plenty of free and commercial variations. DVD player software was commonly bundled with graphics cards.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee2 years ago
I agree with James, the experience is what you make of it. High immersion games are possible on any platform if approached in the right way. Its easy to default to the idea that a new control mechanism or size limitations mean that a reduced port or experience is going to end up on the platform.

Like with the Wii, its so much better when the experience and interfaces are tailored to its strengths and weaknesses. The result in many cases is something as amazing as you can expect on any system. We just need to be inventive with design.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
@robin

The entire purpose of the check-in was to give value to digital games. Explain to me how else the games you sell, trade, or borrow can be de authorized if you pull the plug? And, yes, there were mechanisms in place if your internet was out, and no, not giving you the money until a phone home doesn't work in a retail setting.

And you obviously forget the paranoia surrounding akinect at the time because it was required to be connected. All the big brother accusations. I remember one moron going nuts because, as it turned out after a half dozen back and forth so, he was convinced that the Kinect would provide proof if a lawsuit was filed he was home and the one pirating music and movies. Apple, Amazon, and now Google face NONE of the paranoia, but Sony's slime campaign and stupid paranoids killed features that were ready to go for launch, two years ago. Kinect was required to be connected so that app makers would develop for it. This is not about the camera, it's about doing he same stuff echo does and orderin pizza.

Lithe only stupidity was that MS should have done whatever it took to clear those announcements and he,d another press conference to explain it.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
@tom

You don't understand, they prohibited it back when having a DVD drive was a highly valued feature. You can't make the playback software, not the physical drive, because Apple will not allow anyone the keys to the secure data pathways. Microsoft was required to license these keys to anyone who wants them, by the courts. Again, rightfully so. So why isn't Apple being sued? Because they're not Microsoft. Keep in mind this is a block on many many secure kinds of programs, not just video playback.

The only Blu-Ray playback software on Mac is unlicensed by either Apple or the BDA, and uses the cloud to manually deliver decryption keys they've ripped. I'm personally not real comfortable with letting software pirates allegedly tied to organized crime have that kind of connection to my system. There are no licensed DVD players. Oh and Apple's DVD software is terrible, it hasn't been updated in an eon and causes a lot of problems for DVD authors due to its never will be fixed bugs.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeff Kleist on 13th September 2015 8:26pm

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Tom Keresztes Programmer 2 years ago
@Jeff

I don't get what you mean. What protected pathways? What lawsuit are you talking about ?

I used to play DVDs with mplayer on Windows and OSX, and never had problems with that. For blu-ray players, you need a license from BDA, not Apple, but that's an entirely different issue. Neither Apple nor Microsoft (W10) supports blu-ray out of the box. And *I* prefer it to stay that way, considering the invasive nature of the DRM required for blu-ray.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
Mplayer is not licensed by the DVD forum, it was riding whatever other DVD software you had installed. You must have a license to play commercial DVDs the exact same way

The point is you CAN'T write Blu-Ray software without those keys. Just as you couldn't write DVD software. Just ask InterActual, who attempted to port their enhanced experience software to Mac for years:

"
"Apple provides limited support of external DVD playback control. … The only way to play back DVD-Video within the Mac OS is by using the Apple-supplied DVD Player controlled via AppleScript. Not all versions of the Apple DVD player support AppleScript consistently, and therefore do not provide the advanced control required for many DVD-ROM features.

"These and other limitations prevent even basic integration and control of DVD Video on MAC OS systems, which is needed to provide an interactive experience. While a Mac is often used in the development of enhanced ROM content, these playback limitations remain. InterActual and its customers have requested Mac support from Apple, and we hope to include features for the Mac audience in future InterActual-enhanced DVD products."

Apple hates Blu-Ray because it competes with iTunes. Period. The same reason Microsoft handed Toshiba their checkbook to try to sabotage it,

All the DRM Blu-Ray uses is already present in your video card and it's drivers. And it doesn't bother you or anything else

The lawsuit summary is from the wiki article on MS litigation, what I could find fast on Google.

On February 27, 2008 the European Union (EU) competitions commission announced its decision to fine the Microsoft Corporation €899 million (US$1.35 billion), approximately 1/10 of the company's net yearly earnings, for failing to comply with the 2004 antitrust order.[22]

The first decision in this antitrust case was given in 2004 citing that Microsoft withheld needed interoperability information from rival software companies which prevented them from making software compatible with Windows. The commission ordered Microsoft to provide this information. Microsoft agreed to this, providing the information for royalty fees of 6.85% of the licensee's revenues for the product on grounds of innovation (specifically, 3.87% for the patent license and of 2.98% for the information license). The EU found these royalty fees unreasonable and Microsoft was ordered to lower them. Microsoft complied with this, adjusting the royalty rates to 1.2% (changing the rates for the licenses to 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively) in the European Union, while keeping the rate the same for the rest of the world. The EU still saw this as an unreasonable rate, and Microsoft, two months after lowering the rates, reduced the rates yet again to a flat rate of €10000 or a royalty of 0.4% applicable worldwide. Microsoft's royalty rates, which were deemed unreasonable for the period of 15 months between June 21, 2006 and October 21, 2007 are the cause for the fine. So far, the EU has fined Microsoft €1.68 billion in 3 separate fines in this case. This fine will go towards the European Union annual budget.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeff Kleist on 14th September 2015 1:25am

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Tom Keresztes Programmer 2 years ago
The Microsoft lawsuit had nothing to do with bluray. I understand yout frustration, if playing bluray movies on your Apple hardware is such a big issue - but Apple did not ship a Mac with a physical (optical) drive in years. They dont block, just dont provide the functionality you need.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
Tom, you really don't understand the issue here, and for the record, I do not, nor will I ever own a Macintosh. and yes, I have many years experience supporting them.

Microsoft had proprietary APIs that allowed access to the metal of the operating system.which they were first forced to license access to, and then to reduce the cost of said license on by legal action

Apple has had these exact same kind of APIs locked down for over fifteen years, yet no legal action has been taken against them. Why are they permitted to do this? Because they're not Microsoft. The whole point has been pointing out extreme double standards, as in my aforementioned Kinect/Amazon Echo example. The latter is literally made by the same people, and does the same things, yet there is no slam pieces, and near universal praise. Because it's not Microsoft.

Apple had a long policy of blocking "replication of functionality" on iOS devices,, something that has been quietly dropped precisely to avoid the kinds of antitrust issues that will do things like force them to give their customers options that aren't iTunes. It wasn't a new policy, as Interactuals issues from fifteen years ago capably demonstrate.
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up2 years ago
A little bit of everyones pie is how they will get traction and make friends in this space. Once established they can build in higher specs, the old chesnut of more storage and ultimately more content, just like the iOS device business model that's been before it. There is a whole revenue stream of hardware and software upgrades to be implemented long before you see a device comparable to a console. Why would you come into the space with an all singing and dancing machine, and then be left at the mercy of the content alone? It'll pay for apple whether it's an addition to owning another console or not. In future Im sure they will turn on the tap with a more high spec machine, but itll be tech generations away.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 2 years ago
You are spreading FUD. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Corp_v_Commission . The secret technical API was about SMB, which is a network protocol, and this was in 2004, even before Vista. This is far from being a hardware level API.
Apple has had these exact same kind of APIs locked down for over fifteen years
Evidence ?
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
Tom, you've already been given it in my previous posts. Apple will not give e keys to make DVD or Blu-Ray playback software. Just as Microsoft in this case eouldnt release their networking interface. It's exactly the same thing, clocking competition through proprietary control. It's red delicious to Granny Smith apples to apples.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 2 years ago
Jeff., you are talking nonsense. . There are at least 2 opensource ones i know that shows how it can be done, and it does not even require elevated privileges to do so. Surely they use black magic, and not APIS available on OSX. Look at VLC, Mplayer.

The Bluray keys have nothing to do with Apple, the maker of the player has to provide them. Apple does not make bluray players, neither Microsoft. They probably dont want the trouble that can come out of bluray issues. All BluRay player, devices, and drives contain a key that unlocks the encryption and DRM present on BluRay discs. Since 2007, the consortium responsible for this DRM scheme has been pushing updates and revocation lists on individual BluRay releases. Putting one of these discs in your drive will brick your device.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
And those open source players should bed died I to oblivion

Lif you do not have a license from the Zdvd Forum/BDA, and do not implement AACS/CSS and other DRM systems properly, you are asking to get sued into the next dimension. The Apple Blu-Ray player is not licensed, and stores ripped keys on a server in Asia voc was recently hit for their illegal decoding of MLP streams, and does not play copy protected blu-Ray. .

Please be very specific about the "trouble that can come from Blu-Ray"

Both Microsoft and Apple have patents in Blu-Ray, and the Xbox One contains Microsoft Blu-Ray player software and a drive.

You really have no idea what you're talking about. There are no Blu-Ray movies that will brick any device. Please name the specific titles you believe will do this.

The closest to this there is is Cinavia, which stops playback when it detects inaudible audio flags from illegally theatre recorded or screener copiesmovies. It does not brick your device. You have no comprehension of what revoked keys mean in reality. Every video card made the last 7-8 years for the most part supports Blu-Ray DRM. Its completely transparent to the end user. Apple deliberately blocks their users from being able to purchase third party playback software. Fact. But they are required to support all the same DRM standards for iTunes. Also fact.

You have zero understanding of the technology or the movie business, it's paranoia, plain and simple. The only "bag of hurt" for Apple is that people will buy a Blu-Ray instead of buying from iTunes.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 2 years ago
You really have no idea what you're talking about. There are no Blu-Ray movies that will brick any device. Please name the specific titles you believe will do this.
Essentially all with BD+.
Blu Ray discs are encrypted, and to read one the player (or ripper) software has to pass a key to the drive. The drive then uses the key to decrypt the data. However, these decryption keys can be revoked, and once they’ve been revoked the drives will refuse to use them to decrypt any data, even data from old discs that they’ve been happily decoding in the past.

http://www.aacsla.com/specifications/specs091/AACS_Spec_Common_0.91.pdf

And check
“Updating Host Revocation List in Non-volatile Memory of Drive” and “Host Revocation List Record” and “Host Revocation List Entry”

(source)
http://hacks.esar.org.uk/un-bricking-a-blu-ray-drive/

More:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5693/cinavia-drm-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-blurays-selfdestruction/2

And just for facts : There are bluray players for OSX that have BD licence.
http://blog.macblurayplayer.com/macgo-has-signed-bd-rom2-flla-with-bda/
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
Glad they're paying their bills. It still has to use online servers because Apple blocks them.

This guy is using piracy software whose keys had been revoked. Boo hoo on him. The drive was blocking the software, which was the "player" from interacting with the drive. That's the host, not the player. Because this guy insisted on ripping the disc, he was blocked because his piracy program didn't have the latest unblocked key. It was not bricked.

I don't think you know what BD+ is. You're describing AACS functions. BD+ is mostly finance by, and until recently exclusively used by Fox. It's a Java runtime that again does not brick devices, nor could it if it wanted to. It acts in a digital way similar to Macrovision, adding addition decryption layers and distorting the flow to screw up rippers. One of your link pieces mentions using BD plus module to identify hardware being used in Rips uploaded to the Internet. I have no sympathy. Don't be a pirate, and you won't get console banned, and only banned on that particular DRM, Your hardware is not bricked.

If he tried a real licensed player like PowerDVD he'd be fine
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 2 years ago
You are dismissing his needs based on your personal opinion. He merely wanted to watch to store the movies on his custom set top box. Bluray DRM does not allow this. Blueray DRM is simply not a good fit for computers. Nor for users living in this decade.
Glad they're paying their bills. It still has to use online servers because Apple blocks them.
Prove it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tom Keresztes on 17th September 2015 4:21pm

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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
Please admit your claims about Blu-Ray bricking devices were false,and that the format is transparent to the end user using the product as directed.

I'm not dismissing anything. He's got a reference fully supported by legitimate solutions, including but not limited to UltraViolet, a Kaleidescape system, and of course,managed copy,

http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/10/video-frist-working-blu-ray-managed-copy-demo/

Given that my name is on the first disc to support it, I know a little about it. You'll see it featured prominently in the new UHD players in a new version.

His news are irrelevant. A person who whines about homebrew, "backups" or whatever is the popular justification and euphemism for piracy at the moment is just that 99% of the time. The fact you're stooping to the "not modern" line means you know you're beat and just trying not to lose. Pressed discs are the most stable, efficient,and cost effective method of storage there is. 50GB of hard ride costs about $4. I'd need to drop a grand on hard drives alone, not counting the host to actually move the data from them.
Thousands of people who run home theater PC's, using physical Blu-ray drives would disagree with you

I already proved Apple blocks it, the mere fact that Macko requires Internet connection for playback proves it. No other Blu-ray player software does. If you're so desperate to prove me wrong, go ahead and contact them yourself

http://www.macworld.com/article/1160977/blu_ray_movie_playback_comes_to_the_mac.html
This piece is from 2011, they were not licensed until 2012, yet they were selling it at the time of writing.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeff Kleist on 17th September 2015 7:51pm

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Tom Keresztes Programmer 2 years ago
You are just giving me your opinion, not facts. You claim to be the reason for not having bluray on Mac is the proof for Apple blocking it? That no no mac shipped since 2012 had a built in physical drive, the 15-30k license fee (for independent devs) is not even a contributing factor?

BLuray are not quite the most cost effective media. you can get a 64gb flash (sd, usb, etc) for less than £10, far less fragile and much easier to manage (random access). Purely as a storage medium, not as a distribution medium, of course.

My claims about bluray bricking devices were fairly accurate. It can and will brick devices which are deemed unsecure. Sure, its not a problem as long as the player is regularly updated. You seem to be very quick to swipe the argument under the piracy blanket, but the article i linked was quite clearly stated it was using a genuine disc. If he would be pirating, he would not have had that it issue :)
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
Since there were six years before that where Mac could have shipped with a BD-ROM, it's irrelevant.

ARe you talking bout BDA fees or about Apple fees? Since Cyberlink or Arcsoft already has those licenses, porting their software over would be trivial if Apple didn't block them. I've a.ready cut and pasted you direct statements from developers of DVD software. Apple does not allow access to these parts of the OS. Why is this so hard to believe, given a core segment of their business is in direct competition to physical media? Why are Apple and Amazon the only digital media retailers refusing to go ultraviolet? Because they want you trapped in their ecosystem. While the latter may be folding later this year, Apple definitely feels that they don't have to. Interoperability isn't important to them. Keeping you only giving them money is. Amazon can afford to be more flexible, as they sell the physical movies, Apple only collect royalties on every Blu-ray player made, and they arent huge royalties it's mostly in the MPEG-4 implementation

Since Movies are a linear experience, and a 64GB flash drive is 20x more expensive, and is a far more volatile format, it's not what collectors want. Ask any archivist. It's why there's still one plant cranking out 35mm prints, they're archival backups. After that, there's tapes with hard drives a distant third in preference. There are already digital movies and TV whose original primary masters who have been discovered corrupt. The only way slash is really a viable medium for distribution, is reusable transportation from a store kiosk to the home system for those with low bandwidth Internet.

There has not been one piece of hardware that has been bricked. If your master key gets out, your key can be changed via updates. My eight year old HTPC plays Blu-Ray just fine. How many eight year old Apple devices are updated at all?

The guy was using software whose sole purpose is piracy,which was using pilfered keys that had been expired. He could have fired up a legitimate piece of software like PowerDVD and played his disc with no issue. It's not anyone's fault but his own. If someone JTAGS their X360, and gets console banned, are you going to cry for them? Sony and Microsoft have banned hundreds of thousands for exactly the same thing, legitimately bricking their consoles. In this case all they're doing is blocking a a piracy program that while this individual may not be going to Redbox and ripping them, rest assured he's part of the 1% who isn't. I challenge you to take 100 people whose videogame emulators, and find me more than three of them that have every single game in their collection in a legitimate commercial version. I challenge you to find 10 that even have 50%. I challenge you to take 100 people who use video game emulators, mats and find me more than three of them that have every single game in their collection in a legitimate commercial version system. I challenge you to find 10 that even have 50% as someone is been doing this for a long time, Hartsfield I would personally find it challenging to find fiVe.

There are legitimate solutions for what he desires. Ultraviolet rips me my catalog for a dollar a movie in bulk. Which is far cheaper than renting and ripping. ($2.50-5+rental depending on size).
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