The argument involving mobile gaming versus dedicated consoles is heating up, with no sign of dying down. First CEO John Riccitiello praised iPad as Electronic Arts’ fastest-growing platform, then founder Trip Hawkins bashed Apple, saying the company is up for a decline on the grounds of irreplaceability of Steve Jobs, and yesterday Epic Games president Mike Capps challenged the purpose of next-generation console hardware with all the momentum and credibility Apple’s iOS gadgets have been accumulating in the gaming space. He told IndustryGamers (via CNET)

Before the problem was between the consoles and PC where they had very different levels. The power of your PC could be 100 times the power of somebody else’s PC. This time the problem could be mobile. If you look at the ridiculous acceleration of iPhone hardware and technology, trying to find a sweet spot for tech to make your mobile game… I mean, what would your mobile game look like in 2015? Who knows how fast that’s going to operate, but you can bet it’s going to be faster than an Xbox 360.

And then this about iPhone 8 (not a typo):

So I think that’s the real challenge for us now, rather than worrying about the difference between a couple consoles and some order of magnitude, whether 3X or 4X. It’s about how do we deal with iPhone 8… if you watch where the gamers are going that’s where they are. Your iPhone 8 will probably plug into your TV, or better yet, wirelessly connect to your television set to give you that big screen gaming experience with good sound. So really, what’s the point of those next-gen consoles? It’s a very interesting situation to be looking at. That’s what we’re starting to think about more… not how do we scale from some Nintendo platform to some other future console.

That major game developers and publishers are even getting drawn into the Apple versus console makers argument in the first place is a telling sign of the Cupertino, California gadget maker’s growing influence in the gaming industry. Many people think Apple should launch a dedicated gaming console. Frankly, Apple may not even need a dedicated gaming hardware. iPad 2 and iPhone 4 already have capable GPUs that will only get better when the A6 chip comes out (some say it’s in test production now). The AirPlay technology can already wirelessly beam some games from your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to the big screen TV. And if Apple ever makes that rumored television set, they will have in place an end-to-end entertainment system, most likely cloud-based, that will be second to none. How do you rival that with a dedicated gaming hardware and decades-old business model that boils down to overpriced games distributed (mostly) exclusively on physical media? Of course Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony will introduce new consoles or refresh existing ones, but it’s hard to resist the feeling that the current model is past its peak, giving Apple a shot at becoming the accidental gaming giant.

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