Tommytomtom

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 28, 2020
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An a12x chip (2018) is roughly on par with the performance from an Xbox one S, when considering raw CPU and GPU benchmarks. And, the a12z is no doubt an improvement on that.

The PS5 is sporting 8core AMD CPU at 3.5Ghz and claims 10TFLOPS from the GPU (10x what was in the XBox one S)

Given
* apple’s need to really improve GPU performance to relieve the Mac Pro on ARM
* the increasingly undeniable CPU performance advantage the a series already has over x86
* the size of the mobile gaming market
* the slow speed of major console refresh vs apple’s ability to release new hardware annually (iPhone schedule)

it’s fairly safe to assume that apple will be technically capable of releasing an AppleTV with more power than a PS5 well within the lifecycle of Sony and MS’s upcoming consoles.

And, then release a few subsequent versions, each more and more powerful, well before the next gen of the big consoles comes along.

What are the missing pieces of a strategy which puts Apple wiping the floor with the PS6 generation?

I expect some better gaming engines would be needed. Is there a mindset to shift at the AAA game studios? Would the size of the mobile gaming space will help here; along with Xcode as a dev environment.

I’m making a big assumption that Apple can deliver a MacPro with phenomenal GPU performance. Will they??

Finally, the PS3 was RISC based and used custom(ish) silicon... could a PS6 generation console be ARM based anyway? I wouldn’t want to be holding intel stock today.
 

mnsportsgeek

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2009
3,121
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You need far more than AAA titles to compete with PlayStation, and we might as well throw Nintendo in there too. You need 1st party exclusive titles. Like Game of the Year 1st party exclusive titles.

Computing power has little to do with it. Nintendo and Sony are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to power and both are wildly successful.

It’s all about the games, and Apple (like TV streaming) is starting from ground zero as the gaming they’ve historically focused on is a completely different market segment.
 

Tommytomtom

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 28, 2020
7
3
excellent point. the Halo And Breath of the Wild titles.

Might success (Grammy for The morning show, if not necessarily commercial success yet) of Apple TV + encourage them to expand their original content towards games? If they were to try to put the Apple TV and Apple Arcade into a competing position
 
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Dustman

macrumors 65816
Apr 17, 2007
1,341
161
When I bought my 4th gen AppleTV years ago, I ran out when it launched and purchased it, alongside two game controllers fully expecting that this is where the device was headed. What I wasn't expecting was Apple coming in a couple weeks later and essentially killing ATV gaming by requiring games to be fully playable on the terrible Siri remote.

I'm aware that this restriction is now gone, and games can now require a controller to work. But the damage was already done and I fear without some kind of incentive to developers, the ATV is always going to be limited to "jetpack joyride" style games where it's just mindless clicking.

It was really disappointing to watch Apple blow it like this. It'll be hard to get a second chance in the gaming market now.
 

Tommytomtom

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 28, 2020
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You’re right there and I think it’s way beyond asking game devs for a second chance! Apple has done this to them often.

The appeal of a huge user base might sway them; but there is an element of the “remote problem” you describe in that assumption too. Devs only benefit from the huge installed base if it’s built to work on an iPhone - not an Xbox controller hooked into an ATV

But, who knows. If someone had described the switch and it’s dual setup I’d never have believed the success. Maybe it takes something innovative like that - and Breath of the Wild (to speak to mnsportsgeek’s point again) - to make a success of it.
[automerge]1593536699[/automerge]
While we’re talking about Nintendo - the switch is arm based; so if devs are building for switch, it’s not a huge jumpy to also build for apple.
[automerge]1593536823[/automerge]
If only they had the cash to get a port of Cyberpunk 2077 and have it look the same as the PS5...

current iPads are already technically as capable as PS4 and I’m sure apple have the cash.

maybe that’s what they need to cover this and mnsportsgeeks point about exclusive titles - just buy a studio!

MS bought Halo for the original Xbox, when it was all set to be a Mac first release; maybe time for payback! 😀
 
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Deliro

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2011
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I’m in the gaming industry. And Apple won’t be considered a major player in the AAA space any time soon for too many reasons for me to list while replying on my iPhone. But I can label just a couple.

Several AAA companies, including mine, abandoned development for Nintendo due to hardware restraints and ROI for development wasn’t there. Some studios never recouped costs on Wii titles. Look at the list of dev houses on Wii and compare it to the switch during its first year. Nintendo lives off their own homegrown exclusive IPs.

Considering the exorbitant premium Apple currently places on storage coupled with the increasingly space hungry AAA titles they’d have to look at shrinking their margin considerably and almost regard the TV unit as a lost leader and recoup their profits on distribution. 1TB is about the de facto standard for consoles.

There are several other technical hurdles they’d have to remedy to appeal to developers. And that leads me into the next point. Having a large iOS base doesn’t equate users for a gaming console. Why develop for the ATV? Why dedicate already limited resources to port a game to ATV? Microsoft committed all the way to Xbox. From purchasing studios to relentless courting of dev houses to altering public perception that this isn’t just another PC/widows device. It was a substantial investment in the Xbox play. Something that I don’t think Apple currently has the appetite to do.

Apple may become a bigger player once hosted content streaming becomes more mainstream and hardware isn’t as big of a factor. I’d be curious to see the latest Apple Arcade conversion is from active iOS users across all devices.

But with that said, Apple has a vast amount of resources and a mature distribution platform built already. Who knows in a few years. But simply slapping on a high processor A processor is only a tiny step to competing with Sony and Microsoft.
 

JCCL

macrumors 65816
Apr 3, 2010
1,044
1,311
I don't think there is any appetite for AAA game developers to really target Apple Devices. Mac has never been particularly notable for gaming, and that will diminish when it moves to ARM (it might get more low quality mobile games). Real quality games are done for PS, Xbox and PC. And with them being so similar to one another in terms of architecture, it makes sense to continue targeting those 3 as they are the leading platforms. All of them based on x86 hw and is easy to develop for the 3 at once.

On the other end we have Nintendo, with technically weak Hardware, but still has a huge user name. Technically based on an ARM CPU, it would make more sense those could be more easily ported to other Apple Devices. But much of the successful games are first party titles, which are also the main reason to get the console. Nintendo will never make those available for other platforms, and while there are third party games, they have been few and very compromised compared to their counterparts in other consoles. And with PS5 and xbox Series X arriving, I see ports being less and less.

Bottomline, I don't think Apple has either the user-base, technology, or even appetite to play in the AAA gaming scene. Apple users will be relegated to mobile quality games, but no AAA console level experiences in their devices.
 
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gnomeisland

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Jul 30, 2008
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I think Apple has the technology if they want to use it. As the OP pointed out Apple silicon is faster, CPU-wise, than the next-gen consoles and probably at a much better cost. The GPU is unknown but on a per-core basis it seems competitive, if lacking some contemporary features. For example, the A12X achieves comparable performance to the Xbox One S with seven instead of twelve compute units. The A14 will undoubtably be faster per CU, and Apple could conceivably add 30+ CUs to be competitive with the PS5/Xbox. Since I don't see Apple making a custom AppleTV chip, that probably depends on what they create for the new Macs since a GPU that size would be too much for a mobile processor. Apple does charge a high markup for RAM and storage, but if MS and Sony are selling hardware at a loss (a game Apple doesn't play) then anything will seem high.

So they could compete hardware-wise, and they certainly are spending money/attention on Apple Arcade, but it doesn't seem to be growing like they'd hoped or expand beyond mobile-first play. I think Apple Arcade is likely the only way Apple will make the jump off mobile other Mac & TV gaming because there isn't enough incentive for other developers to take the risk. So unless Apple Arcade scores a breakout hit, I don't see Apple breaking out of this chicken-vs-egg stalemate.

If recent rumors are true, they are getting more serious about curating Apple Arcade content, which is good. I wonder if the bigger issue is that they just don't have the appetite for the violent, FPS style of many popular console/PC games. Apple Arcade needs a Witcher, or GTA, or at least a Fortnite that they can guarantee will run on all their recent hardware. If Apple bought EA, and said Fortnite will now run on AppleTV think of how many more units they'd sell—and that's without pulling it from other platforms (which they'd prob do).

You know. I wonder if they should actually make Mythic Quest. But make it good. Funny, self-aware, but a legit MMORPG.
 

diamond.g

macrumors 604
Mar 20, 2007
7,376
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I think Apple has the technology if they want to use it. As the OP pointed out Apple silicon is faster, CPU-wise, than the next-gen consoles and probably at a much better cost. The GPU is unknown but on a per-core basis it seems competitive, if lacking some contemporary features. For example, the A12X achieves comparable performance to the Xbox One S with seven instead of twelve compute units. The A14 will undoubtably be faster per CU, and Apple could conceivably add 30+ CUs to be competitive with the PS5/Xbox. Since I don't see Apple making a custom AppleTV chip, that probably depends on what they create for the new Macs since a GPU that size would be too much for a mobile processor. Apple does charge a high markup for RAM and storage, but if MS and Sony are selling hardware at a loss (a game Apple doesn't play) then anything will seem high.

So they could compete hardware-wise, and they certainly are spending money/attention on Apple Arcade, but it doesn't seem to be growing like they'd hoped or expand beyond mobile-first play. I think Apple Arcade is likely the only way Apple will make the jump off mobile other Mac & TV gaming because there isn't enough incentive for other developers to take the risk. So unless Apple Arcade scores a breakout hit, I don't see Apple breaking out of this chicken-vs-egg stalemate.

If recent rumors are true, they are getting more serious about curating Apple Arcade content, which is good. I wonder if the bigger issue is that they just don't have the appetite for the violent, FPS style of many popular console/PC games. Apple Arcade needs a Witcher, or GTA, or at least a Fortnite that they can guarantee will run on all their recent hardware. If Apple bought EA, and said Fortnite will now run on AppleTV think of how many more units they'd sell—and that's without pulling it from other platforms (which they'd prob do).

You know. I wonder if they should actually make Mythic Quest. But make it good. Funny, self-aware, but a legit MMORPG.
Has Apple detailed how their gpu cores are configured versus the rest of the industry?
 

diamond.g

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What do you mean? They give the core count and some 3rd-parties, like Anandtech, delve into some detail but I don't think they break things down into shaders, etc. Although perhaps there are resources for developers out there with more specifics.
I was wondering if they (cores versus compute units) are able to be evenly compared. GCN 4 (Polaris) is layed out differently than GCN 5 (Vega) which is also different than RDNA 1/2. As far as we know the current generation consoles are based on GCN 2. So the performance uplift with the "same number of compute units" can be misleading. Which is something Mark Cerny brought up in Sony's talk about the PS5 hardware.
 

blesscheese

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2010
698
178
Central CA
Several AAA companies, including mine, abandoned development for Nintendo due to hardware restraints and ROI for development wasn’t there. Some studios never recouped costs on Wii titles. Look at the list of dev houses on Wii and compare it to the switch during its first year. Nintendo lives off their own homegrown exclusive IPs.
On top of this ^ for a gaming company it isn't even about "breaking even" on your ROI, it is about making a certain amount of profit...if they can't make a big profit, then they don't even want to think about it. And if they have to figure out how to make the game run on a different chip architecture / different GPU, or even a different controller, well, there goes their profit expectation.

TL;DR --> keep expecting the same the same 2D Indie titles.
 
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Bustermd

macrumors member
Apr 21, 2020
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I think its quite a bit premature to say that Apple currently has the technology in "Apple Silicon" form to compete with the GPU power of the PS5, X Box Series X, and gaming PCs with state of the art GPUs. They very well might but it hasn't been demonstrated yet, nor do we know how many watts of power this hypothetical solution will require, and the associated cooling requirements. The PS5 and Series X are HUGE devices with massive cooling systems. It would be extraordinarily impressive if Apple could produce a comparable device in the same form factor as an Apple TV.

The gaming community is fickle, and they are generally anti-Apple. The only way you would get a AAA Apple-exclusive game is if Apple buys out the developer/studio and why would they do that knowing their user base is not comprised of "gamers" other than consumers of the mobile/casual game experience. Nintendo versus Apple for the casual gamer market is probably a better comparison. Nintendo survives because of its name and history, and their knack to be able to use technically obsolete hardware to produce fun niche gaming experiences that appeal to a broader audience (e.g. the Wii). If Apple worked on that sort of thing through Arcade or whatever they may have more success than facing Sony or Microsoft in the console wars.
 
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konqerror

macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
2,298
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What are the missing pieces of a strategy which puts Apple wiping the floor with the PS6 generation?

A social network.

Gaming is as much social these days as it is actually playing games. People who play games chat about their day and their problems as much as they talk about the actual game itself. There's a whole industry about watching other people chat about their day in streaming.

That's why Apple did the whole Game Center business way back when, but they gave up on it and let it die.
 

Bustermd

macrumors member
Apr 21, 2020
93
218
A social network.

Gaming is as much social these days as it is actually playing games. People who play games chat about their day and their problems as much as they talk about the actual game itself. There's a whole industry about watching other people chat about their day in streaming.

That's why Apple did the whole Game Center business way back when, but they gave up on it and let it die.

An Online Gaming platform (like PSN, Xbox Live) is a must for multiplayer gaming so Apple would have to develop one, and the issue of cross-platform play can become problematic. E.g. if your buddies all use PC or Playstation why would you buy an Apple TV for gaming?
 

gnomeisland

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2008
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New York, NY
I was wondering if they (cores versus compute units) are able to be evenly compared. GCN 4 (Polaris) is layed out differently than GCN 5 (Vega) which is also different than RDNA 1/2. As far as we know the current generation consoles are based on GCN 2. So the performance uplift with the "same number of compute units" can be misleading. Which is something Mark Cerny brought up in Sony's talk about the PS5 hardware.
Good point, and I don't think we really know that. Since Apple doesn't make discrete graphics they just give us the breakdown of "cores" and overall performance comparisons. For example, the A13 GPU runs faster core-for-core than the A12 (although there was no A13X) and presumably the A14 and future variants will as well.

I was just making a crude comparison to suggest how whatever Apple means by "core" might need to scale to compete with the APUs in the upcoming consoles.
 

diamond.g

macrumors 604
Mar 20, 2007
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Virginia
Good point, and I don't think we really know that. Since Apple doesn't make discrete graphics they just give us the breakdown of "cores" and overall performance comparisons. For example, the A13 GPU runs faster core-for-core than the A12 (although there was no A13X) and presumably the A14 and future variants will as well.

I was just making a crude comparison to suggest how whatever Apple means by "core" might need to scale to compete with the APUs in the upcoming consoles.
Yeah.. now that I am looking it appears the PS4Pro and Xbox One X are both using GCN4 (Polaris) tech for the GPU. The next gen consoles have at least twice the graphical performance as current gen. Both the original systems had about 1.5 TFLOPS of performance when they came out, Apple matching that while drawing less power is awesome, but it isn’t clear if it is easy to scale by just adding more cores or how high the GPU can be clocked.
 
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