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Gaming reaffirmed as central tentpole of Apple TV revamp - report

Apple TV's existing gaming capabilities are limited to AirPlay streams of iOS games.

When Apple executives take the stage on Wednesday to unveil the latest rendition of the company's set-top streamer, the pitch will reportedly revolve around the device's capabilities for living room gaming and could put Apple in direct competition with traditional industry powers like Nintendo.

Games will be "a primary selling point" of the new Apple TV, according to the New York Times. Apple's foray into the console market is believed to focus on casual gamers —  rather than those who prefer AAA titles like Call of Duty —  making the company's entry somewhat more worrying for Nintendo than for Microsoft or Sony.

Apple's iOS platform has become the de facto standard for casual mobile gaming, spawning a multi-billion dollar gaming sub genre of its own. Shifting that momentum toward the Apple TV will encroach on turf recently dominated by Nintendo with its Wii and Wii U consoles.

Electronic Arts and 3DO founder Trip Hawkins implied that Apple's ability to make new technology useable for every consumer could be a major competitive advantage.

"No company has done more for the digital man-machine interface than Apple," Hawkins said. "They've warmed up to games and are a worthy candidate to win the family room in the next decade, though the competition and inertia are epic."

Gaming aside, previous reports have indicated that Apple also plans to address content discovery in the updated Apple TV with a new "universal search" feature. Using Siri, consumers would be able to enter the name of a program and find out where they can watch it, from a number of providers like Netflix and iTunes.

The new Apple TV is expected to carry beefed-up internals that include a more powerful A-series processor, possibly the A8X found in the iPad Air 2. That and other changes —  including the addition of a new remote control with a built-in microphone and touch pad —  could bump the retail price as high as $150.

Apple will likely announce the Apple TV refresh this coming Wednesday, when the company is expected to unveil its next-generation iPhone lineup. AppleInsider will be on hand at the venue in San Francisco and will bring live coverage from the event beginning at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern in San Francisco.