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Mac Mini as Gaming Console?

Damien Barrett

Here's a blogger who speculates that perhaps Apple will create a Mac mini that will be the centerpiece of a media center product. Not a new idea. The difference between his speculation and that by dozens of others in the Mac Web is that he suggests this Mac mini media center product might also be a gaming console. His reasoning is that if Microsoft can make inroads into the media center market with the Xbox 360, then so can Apple with an updated Mac mini.

Interesting speculation, but I think it's just wrong. Apple hasn't been interested in being in the gaming console market for more than a decade. For the vast majority of game manufacturers, making their games run on Macs is an afterthought if ever at all. Already they must consider four versions of their games: Xbox, PS2, GameCube, and PC, and as most gamers know, some games never make even to the four major platforms. And now....if this speculation is correct, they'd have to consider a very small 5th platform? It's just not going to happen, even if the new Mac mini can run PC games natively (Wine-like execution layer, Windows-native OS, etc.). Furthermore, Microsoft has been buying their way into the gaming market for years, taking a loss on every Xbox ever sold (to the tune of $300 on each Xbox 360) and they're still not "killing" their competitors Sony and Nintendo.

Apple doesn't need to be in the gaming console market to succeed in creating a successful media center product. Simply creating a product that's attractive and easy-to-use--perhaps incorporating a nice programmable remote control--product to play media content from our PCs and from the iTunes Store will be enough to make it successful.

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