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Why Apple TV won’t see console quality games anytime soon

Apple TV Gaming

The new Apple TV may very well be the device to firmly cement Apple’s position as a dominant player in the living room. In addition to serving as a gateway to movies and TV shows, the revamped Apple TV, for the first time, will support gaming.

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The Apple TV, though, won’t be giving Microsoft and Sony a run for their money anytime soon. While the device may prove popular with casual gamers, the Apple TV comes with a limitation that will fundamentally prevent it from delivering console quality games.

According to Apple TV developer guidelines, developers must limit the size of their apps to 200MB.

Under a section appropriately labeled Resource Limitations, the document reads:

There is no persistent local storage for apps on Apple TV. This means that every app developed for the new Apple TV must be able to store data in iCloud and retrieve it in a way that provides a great customer experience.

Along with the lack of local storage, the maximum size of an Apple TV app is limited to 200MB. Anything beyond this size needs to be packaged and loaded using on-demand resources. Knowing how and when to load new assets while keeping your users engaged is critical to creating a successful app.

While staying under the 200MB limit might not be a problem for many casual apps, you can say goodbye to seeing console quality games hitting the Apple TV anytime soon.

It’s not uncommon to see some more intense iOS games have file sizes that check in at a full 1GB and above. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, for instance, checks in at 1.63GB. Even some iterations of Angry Birds, believe it or not, are over 200MB once you account for updates.

As a first-gen release, this is probably a limitation most users can live with. Indeed, Apple may not even be interested in courting hardcore gamers for the time being. Still, if Apple eventually wants to give consoles a run for their money and really own the living room, it’s going to have to increase the 200MB file size limit in the future.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

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