We need an Apple TV with gesture control as well as Apple-made game controllers

Back in the old days (2015, which is old by Internet standards) analyst Rod Hall with the investment firm of J.P. Morgan predicted — in a note to clients obtained by AppleInsider — an Apple TV App Store that would offer traditional console-style videogames.

The app store did arrive that year, and with some changes, but Apple’s set-top box has yet to catch fire as a gaming platform. Of course, that could change.

If Apple really wanted to make things interesting, the next gen Apple TV could support gesture control. Apple has been granted a patent (number 8,908,277) for a “lens array projector” that involves a projection-based 3D mapping solution. The result could be gesture recognition on Macs, Apple TVs, and iOS devices akin to that of Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect.  (Shown is an image from the patent showing a schematic side view of a 3D mapping system.)

Apple TV patent.jpg

The patent ties into Apple’s 2013 purchase of PrimeSense, an Israeli gesture recognition company. The company’s sensing technology  was used to help power Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect. The 3D sensing technology purportedly gives digital devices the ability to observe a scene in three dimensions. 

It translates these observations into a synchronized image stream (depth and color) — just like humans do.  It then takes those synchronized images and translates them into information such as: identification of people their body properties, movements and gestures; classification of objects such as furniture; and location of walls and floors.

In 2013 Xbox founder Nat Brown said that if Apple opened an Apple TV App Store, the platform would “simply kill” the Playstation, Xbox and the Wii by introducing an open 30% cut app/game ecosystem.

Those deaths never happened. If we do get console-like games for the Apple TV, what will we use as controllers? Will it be our iPhones and iPads? Will it be controllers built especially for Apple TV games? 

I’d love to see the latter. Would you?