Is it possible that your iPhone or iPad could replace your Xbox One or PS4? Despite all the predictions about Apple’s 2013 WWDC announcements, industry insiders didn’t foresee Apple’s clever entry into the gaming market. When Apple CEO, Tim Cook, ceded the stage to Anki’s founders, he did so for a reason. Some people feel that it was Apple’s way of saying, “Guess what, we’re going to make your i-devices a whole lot more fun than our competitors’ devices.” Those “some people” may not be wrong about that.
Video Games Brought to Life
Anki Drive offers a physical element that other video games have not matched yet. Sure, it’s cool to play Reckless Racing 2 on your iPhone, but how much cooler would it be if the car you’re controlling existed in the real world instead of on screen? Add in the fact that the car is an artificially intelligent miniature robot that can sense its surroundings and now you’re really talking cool. That is exactly what Anki Drive offers consumers; video games that exist in the real world. And, if you don’t want to take control, Anki’s cars race around the track on their own.
The one hitch in Anki and Apple’s plans is the price tag. As of this writing, a set of Anki Drive cars and the optical sensor track are projected at $200. That’s a lot of money to pay for one game. Anki’s plans to bring robotics and artificial intelligence to the masses are ambitious, but the cost of their innovative technology may be more than the average consumer is willing to spend. Although Apple has released specifications for other developers to create their own AI apps, cost could be a big factor in whether or not future games are marketable.
What About Other Companies?
Traditionally, when Apple presents a new innovation, their competitors aren’t far behind. Just like the iPhone helped open up the market for smart phones, it is conceivable that other companies such as Sony or Google could come up with their own competitive products. Since Google has already developed an actual driverless smart car, it only stands to reason that they could easily adapt that technology to a physical racing game without involving Anki. The big question is will consumers want to buy these new types of games?
In recent years there has been a shift in consumer attitudes about video games. Many gaming systems are moving towards becoming less virtual and more physical like Nintendo’s Wii. On the other hand, the current state of the economy has led many people to cut back on their spending. Anki Drive has the potential to be the start of the “next big thing” in the gaming industry, and you can read about it here, but unless the market becomes competitive enough to bring prices down, most people may not be willing to spend that much money on robotic games.