The PocketGamer.biz Mobile Mavens is our panel of experts drawn from all sectors of the mobile gaming industry.
Last week, Apple announced it will be spending $45 billion of its $98 billion cash pile over the next three years on dividends and share repurchases. Despite this, it's still generating over $30 billion a year so has plenty of available funds.
We asked the Mavens:
What do you think Apple should spend its money on in terms of projects - big or small - that would make life better for game developers?
Product R&D. Products made Apple and I want it to continue to be the market leader, which it can only do with innovation in terms of what it makes - especially input mechanisms and software.
As a game marketer, there needs to be some innovation in game discovery - iTunes is creaking at the seams and I don't see it as the right way to merchandise so many apps. Apple bought Chomp recently, so let's see what it comes up with.
How about some branded oven-gloves for new iPad owners?
Awesome idea! As someone who has just inherited Pac-Man oven gloves, this is especially timely...
Simple. Pour those pennies into new fuel cells and power cells.
To have a device like the iPad relying on the current generation of batteries is like powering the space shuttle with coal or gerbil wheels. That way we can all enjoy games and wifi and music for more than an hour at a time...
Apple needs to use its money to keep accelerating the pace of innovation. Battery tech would not be a bad thing to invest in.
I love my iPad 3, and yes, the battery lasts 3 hours, but it doesn't feel like it because it takes so much longer to charge. With my iPad 2, I could plug it in whenever and because it charges so fast, it would only be plugged in for a couple hours and it would be ready for another 10 hours.
Haptic feedback would be awesome. That tech probably needs a couple of billion to bring it to market. I knew that rumour wasnt true but it definitely seemed like a cool idea.
Other than that, I think Apple should sponsor a new $10 million X-Prize for the first person to convince Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis that they dropped the ball with RIM.
However, the condition is that they need to demonstrate that they understand and then demonstrate once more that they still understand two weeks later. Actually they could probably find an insurance company to cover this prize for a fairly small premium.
Apple and Microsoft need to work together to unify the world's hardware, software and peripherals to bring us to a world of compatibility. Best way Apple can help software developers is to stop our software from commercial death due to hardware changes.
Beyond games, the social impact is massive. In the UK £11 billion was spent on a computer network for hospitals and it still wasn't finished, so to this day health records for patients cannot be transferred between all hospitals and doctors.
Similarly, the UK government wanted to taper the amount of child benefit paid based on income; however, due to computer file incompatibilities this was impossible to achieve, so they have set a flat level of income where the benefit is turned in or off.
This will create political outrage and cries of unfairness all because of deliberately incompatible computer systems, made for the short term material gains of a few hardware and software companies.
It is obvious to most of us now that Apple and Microsoft are ultimately going to be the worldwide winners in the tech war, so let's demand that they take on this worldwide social responsibility too. And, in return, our international governments can show them some long term commitment to a joint venture between them to a future of forwards - and backwards - compatibility.
(Making Flash compatible with iOS would also help. This lack of technical cooperation for the sake of it is a hyper-capitalist stance which in my mind should now be seen as outdated and regressive.)
Under Sandy’s leadership, YoYo Games has built an active GameMaker community 250,000-members strong while building partnerships with Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, and Valve that have helped it achieve 200 percent YOY growth in 2012.
Sandy’s previous experience includes a 17-year stint at Microsoft.
My thought is that Apple is already well on its way to spending some of its cash on stimulating the games industry.
I expect it'll launch 'iTV' this year and it will have the same stimulating effect on gaming that the iPhone and iPad did. Does anyone remember how stagnant handheld gaming was less than five years ago?
Over the next two years I don't think there will be a 'games console' as we know it today. Even 'NeXtbox' is an "entertainment centre" - take a look at the Xbox profit and loss accounts, and you'll see the Microsoft makes most, if not all, of its profits from Xbox Live subscriptions!
If Apple spends only a fraction of its cash on creating a home media revolution then it will have the same impact on home gaming that it had on smartphones.
If I were Tim Cook I'd probably push my hand down the back of the corporate sofa and use my loose change to buy Nintendo. That would be a great way to get some great games franchises on your TV platform for launch.
It won't just be Apple - itwill stimulate the entire TV and console business. Google already has significant relationships in place with TV vendors like Samsung and Sony, so I expect a wave of TV based, games ready platforms in the next two years.
The money Apple will spend on TV will create many new opportunities for innovative games companies .and probably kill off a few old ones in the process.
I'm almost certain that the next three years will see the end of games consoles as we know them as the hardware will just be part of the overall home media/entertainment experience. I also have a feeling that Apple will be dominating it because it can outspend most of the other guys put together.
I agree with John that some investment in discovery and curating would be welcome; more avenues could be explored for showcasing original, popular, and high quality games.
Maybe integrating Metacritic reviews into a pane or tab alongside the customer reviews would help. Theres also a huge opportunity for Apple to introduce a Major Nelson-like voice and a genuine community around games.
It is very simple: Apple should reduce its cut of app sales to 10 percent from the current 30 percent.
Yeah, agree! I would also like to see the thriving of iTV through which people may directly play iOS games on TV in the living room with their iPad iPhone or iPod Touch as the controller. When that happens, the console era is really going to end.
Sorry to sound ignorant, but doesn't AirPlay let you do pretty much exactly already that if you have an Apple TV box?
Yes, but it's rubbish.
Real Racing 2 is pretty good. Plus it's now been upped to 1080p. I just got the new Apple TV so will shout back when I've checked out a few more games. I think it's got real potential to be another disruptive element - but it all depends on the games.
It will be interesting to see if consumers want to play iPad and iPhone games in the same way as they play a console or PC game: I find myself often playing games on my iPad while watching TV. Maybe this kind of game 'snacking' is what's preferable to the millions of people who play games but don't consider themselves to be 'gamers'?
I think AirPlay has all the potential to do long form gaming well and disrupt console, but the tech needs to improve and become ubiquitous, which it's doing, but all too slowly.
I'd like Airplay - or an equivalent - to become a certification, like docks, built inside of TVs. But I suspect Apple wants to own the TV market too.
I agree with John - the games people will play won't be second screen casual games, but longer sessioned deep narrative or party games. Similar to console, but with much wider appeal and range.
Yeah, AirPlay is already there but doesn't work perfectly. I think most of us haven't played iOS games through AirPlay very often. It still needs several years until it becomes mature and people get used to play touchscreen-based games on the bigger screen in the living room.
I think Apple knows about the shortcomings of AirPlay. I thought it would implement AirPlay over Bluetooth 4.0 in order to get around the lag issue. If Apple wanted other companies to adopt AirPlay Mirroring it would have been done already.
A lot of manufacturers already have support for AirPlay audio, so Apple must want to keep video for itself.
There also might be content right issues, because most of the video content is licensed for portable devices and if TV manufacturers started implementing airplay video into their TVs then there would be less of a need for cable.
I think a new power source would be great and an important patent for Apple to own. I have heard rumours of Google privately investing in new fuel cells and power sources.
Education would be interesting for Apple to put its spin on. Education that is entertaining and full of discovery would help more people turn out like Mr. Luton.
I also wish my iPhone LED was also a sanitizer for door handles and toilet seats. I think it would definitely help reduce the after GDC plague that hit a bunch of developers last week!
And an on the phone breathalyser to keep drunks from driving or calling their ex-partners while intoxicated...