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Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 02:14 pm PT (05:14 pm ET)

Xbox project cofounder: Game-enabled Apple TV would "simply kill Playstation, Wii-U, and Xbox"

A game-enabled Apple TV would quickly attract developers and likely kill off traditional consoles like the Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii, one of the original developers of the Xbox said on Wednesday.

Writing on his personal blog, Nat Brown — founder and self-proclaimed namer of Microsoft's original Xbox project — said Apple could quickly come to dominate the gaming sector, should the company decide to add gaming capabilities to its Apple TV set top box or the continually rumored Apple HDTV.

Apple TV

Apple's set-top box could turn the company into a gaming powerhouse.


Brown took Microsoft and other traditional console makers like Sony to task for failing to understand and capitalize on the potential for living room connected devices.

"xBox's primary critical problem," Brown wrote," is the lack of a functional and growing platform ecosystem for small developers to sell digitally-/network-distributed (non-disc) content through to the installed base of xBox customers, period. 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... like I can for Android or iPhone, or for iPad?"

He goes on to point out that Microsoft's developer program for its console requires for membership "$10,000/year and a ton of paperwork, with Microsoft holding veto power over your game."

Brown feels that Apple is perfectly positioned to shake up the gaming sector if it decides to bring games to its Apple TV device. Apple's existing developer framework would make it easy to attract small developers, among whom Brown says he would be the first in line.

"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 will be the first to write apps for Apple-TV when I can, and I know I'll make money. I would for xBox if I could and I knew I would make money."

Brown isn't the first established name in gaming to opine on the potential impact of a larger move by Apple into the market. In late January, Valve cofounder and software engineer Gabe Newell called Apple the biggest challenge to the future of gaming.

"The biggest challenge, I don't think is from the consoles," Newell said. "I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together."

Like Brown, Newell was less than optimistic on the chances of the current console leaders standing up against Apple.

"I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily," he said. "The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room?"

Apple's Apple TV set-top box has moved from a hobby to an area of intense interest for the company, and CEO Tim Cook believes the television sector could be an area where Apple can contribute.