Looking Back And Forward On The Backlog

When I was a kid in the 80s and Nintendo became a thing, I knew I wanted to be part of that. Video games were cool. I first had an Atari 2600 and a small set of games that my Dad bought at a yard sale. I think the Atari cartridges sold for $0.25 each. They were arcade-style games — mostly without any real stories — and relied on quick reflexes. I didn’t play them to beat the game or finish a story. I played just to play. And show off a high score in Pac-Man.

One day, I got a Nintendo Entertainment System. Now I was playing with power! The games were a bit more advanced than Atari’s, but I still played for the gameplay experience and not so much to beat a game or finish one. That said, thanks to the Konami code, I managed to totally beat Contra. I think that was my first game I ever beat.

Since video games cost a lot of money and, as a kid, I had the opposite of a lot of money, I didn’t have many games. Back then, I would get one or two a year for Christmas or my birthday. The other games I had were temporary, rented from the local video store. Sometimes I’d play my friends’ games. True story: I pretended to be sick one day in middle school so I could stay home and play my friend’s GameBoy that I had borrowed. I played Tetris for hours.

In those days, there was no backlog. I had few games and a lot of time to play them several times over. I don’t know that backlogs were a thing for anyone back then, but I could be wrong.

Over the years, consoles and games grew in complexity. I got into RPGs with Final Fantasy III (SNES), finding for the first time a game that would last me months to play through. Having a huge story be front and center made finishing the game not just a cool way to brag to my buddies, but it was essential. You can’t NOT finish a sprawling narrative arc and leave the entire game’s world and characters hanging onto life by a thread. I had to save the world. So I did. Besides, those Espers were so dang cool. And Kefka was so bad.

Now that I’m an adult with full-time income (so grateful now after recently being furloughed), I can afford to buy my own video games for myself (and my kids). So these days, yes, I do have a backlog. It’s not huge, but it has hefty sized RPGs on it. In terms of gameplay hours, it’s…epic. I’ll likely be building up the backlog with new unplayed games indefinitely.

Before, there was no backlog. Now, there is always a backlog.

I don’t mind. There’s much gaming to eagerly anticipate. That’s fine as long as I don’t let it distract me from staying immersed in whatever game(s) I’m currently playing. On that note, I finally finished Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch on Sunday. Final clock time was 71:11. I’m now also closer to completing Fantasian. I want to finish some other ongoing games too, like Link’s Awakening and Octopath Traveler. But I’ve got a new epic RPG to dive into soon, Tales of Vesperia.

I would feel better about my backlog since I’m moving the Tales game out of it, but yesterday I added yet another massive JRPG to it, Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition. The title alone is hours-long! Well, one game out, one game in. Fun times.

Why Make Apple TV Pro And Mini

Apple TV hardware has languished. Apple is in the hardware business and could do better with Apple TV. Here are some ideas.


The naming, pricing, and marketing should all be refreshed.

Naming

To help differentiate Apple’s TV products and services, I suggest two new Apple TV hardware models called: Apple TV Pro and “Apple TV Mini.”

These names would better distinguish the hardware from the software app, “Apple TV” and the service, “Apple TV+.”

Pricing

Apple TV Mini

It should hit the magical $99 price point. It would match the HomePod Mini at the same price and be more competitive with other TV boxes. And even if Apple TV Mini had the least market share, more people would buy it than the current Apple TV box because it would be more affordable. That’s more revenue for Apple.

To hit $99, Apple TV Mini would be like a small streaming stick with one feature: 4K resolution. So no Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio, or HDR. And it would have only 32GB of storage since it would be for streaming not storing content.

Apple TV Pro

This one should start at $199 and be marketed towards the gotta-have-it-all crowd and…gamers. It would feature 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio, and start with 64GB up to 1TB.

And throw in a free trial subscription of Apple Arcade.

It would be a small box like the current Apple TV hardware and be for storing loads of games or videos.

GamePad

Apple TV Pro would pair with an all-new Apple GamePad.” This new device would sell for $99 and would have physical buttons, be shaped more like a modern game controller with analog sticks, and also serve as the remote control.

The GamePad would utilize the W-series and ultra-wide band chips from Apple for auto-magically pairing (like AirPods) with Apple TV Pro and for finding with Apple’s upcoming (rumored) AirTags product. It would, of course, work with games on iPad and iPhone too.

Marketing

Marketing for Apple TV Pro and Mini would draw both consumers and developers. For the Pro, “Casual Console” gaming would attract more buyers and also compel game developers to…step up their game.

If Apple really wanted to lean into gaming, they could call their Apple TV Pro device the all-new, “GamePod.”

An Apple TV Pro (GamePod) with Apple GamePad and Apple Arcade would, like Nintendo, differentiate from hardcore gamers (Xbox and PlayStation) and lean towards more casual gaming. And of course, it would have the distinct advantage of a vast library of mobile games from iOS.

Apple could promote Apple TV Pro with Apple Watch and Fitness+ by pairing them together, like how Apple integrates Apple Watch, Fitness+ and Apple TV for video workouts.

It could also enable more interactive games, using Apple Watch, with its fitness and motion sensors, to track movement similar to the Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure.


Family Friendly

My wife and I have five sons, and we all play Nintendo. Owning two Switches, many 2DS devices, and a Wii U, we enjoy different types of gaming across several age brackets. Of course, Nintendo’s intellectual property, franchises like Mario and Zelda, are the “software that sells hardware.”

Apple can mirror Nintendo as a Family Friendly game distributor and leverage its Apple Arcade service along with a new Apple TV Pro device (GamePod) to sell more of its own TV boxes, peripherals, and third party and indie game apps. Apple is poised with the potential.

Think about it. An Apple TV Pro at $199 plus a GamePad at $99 would basically match the cost of a Nintendo Switch at $299.

Making Apple TV Pro would address the current languished state of Apple’s TV hardware. Pushing into home console gaming via Apple TV would do more for Apple’s overall gaming efforts than has its Augmented Reality gaming push.

If nothing else, a sub-$100 Apple TV Mini would revitalize the platform and be a strong complement to HomePod.


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!