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Epic Games thinks Apple could take on game consoles with iPad, Apple TV & controller

Epic Games, one of the top game developers for the iOS platform, believes that Apple could directly take on game consoles like Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3 if it were to develop a Bluetooth controller for the iPad.

With this Friday's launch of the new iPad, Mike Capps, president of Epic Games, has been touting the power of Apple's third-generation tablet. Capps was onstage at last week's iPad unveiling, where he showed off a new title, "Infinity Blade: Dungeons," which takes advantage of the graphics processing and Retina display of the new iPad.

Capps also took part in an interview with Reuters that was published on Monday, in which he spoke of the possibility of a Bluetooth controller being developed for the iPad. With a hypothetical controller combined with AirPlay and an Apple TV, he believes Apple could challenge Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation platforms for the home console gaming market.

"It's quite easy to imagine a world where an iPad is more powerful than a home console, where it wirelessly talks to your TV and wirelessly talks to your controller and becomes your new console," Capps said.

His comments are particularly interesting as Capps, on behalf of Epic Games, has appeared onstage at all three of Apple's iPad media events. At last week's unveiling, Apple also featured Namco Bandai to show off the graphics processing capabilities of the new iPad and its A5X chip, which features a quad-core graphics processor.

Capps boasted at last week's event that the new iPad has a greater screen resolution than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, thanks to Apple's new high-resolution Retina display. The new iPad also has more memory on its custom processor, which is believed to feature a gigabyte of RAM.

Capps said the unveiling of the new iPad last week shows that Apple cares about the game market that has flourished on iOS devices thanks to the App Store. He said Apple is interested in bringing "triple-A," high-quality games to its mobile devices.

Epic Games isn't alone in seeing Apple potentially entering the home console game market with the iPad and a Bluetooth controller accessory. Executives at Electronic Arts also told Reuters that they are closely watching Apple's moves.

"When the iPad gets to the processing power that's equal to an Xbox 360 and it connects to a television, that's no big deal to us — we'll put the game through the iPad and have it display through the television," said Frank Gibeau, president of Electronic Arts' Labels.

Another piece to Apple's potential entrance into the home console market could be the company's rumored television set. Numerous reports have indicated that Apple is working on a full-fledged television that could be unveiled as soon as later this year.

If Apple were to release a television set with an App Store like it offers for iOS devices and the Mac, or update its Apple TV set-top box with App Store access, some believe it could have an affect on sales of game consoles from companies like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.

The prospect of console-style gaming from Apple first became a reality last year with the launch of the iPad 2. "Real Racing 2 HD" was one of the first titles that allowed users to output video from their iPad 2 to an HDTV to control the game, and AirPlay support was later added to make the feature wireless.

One survey of game developers conducted last year found most believe Apple and its late co-founder, Steve Jobs, have had the greatest impact on the gaming industry of late. A survey of 1,000 people at the London Games Conference found that 26 percent of respondents said Jobs was the most influential person in the industry, while 46 percent included Jobs in their top five.