I don’t know about you but every time I hear about the possibility of using my iPhone or android device as a game controller for a game that plays on TV, I get really excited. The concept is not new. In fact, I’m quite sure that you already thought about it yourself even before it had a name. It’s just so intuitive.
One might ask himself how is it possible that we don’t see many games like that given the huge potential. Well, there are still a few challenges that make it a bit harder then it seems initially. Just to pick a few, designing a game for the big screen requires more work compared to designing for a phone. The chances of a given house hold to have both a smartphone and a SmartTV is not that big at the moment. In addition, the development tools are not there yet especially given the cross platform requirement.
This is why I got really excited when I saw Unity is making a big move in the right direction with the new 4.1 version. Unity is in the perfect position to move this market forward. They are the leader in cross platform game development so game developers can use a single platform to develop a game that will be compatible with a large number of TV sets and devices. While Unity is already one of the quickest ways to design great games for mobile, the new feature extends the same capabilities into games that use an iPhone or iPad as a controller.
The market for TV games is far bigger compared to mobile games or iPad games but until recently the barriers to enter the market were very high. Google and Apple are reducing the entry barriers on the hardware side and If unity will keep this line and commit to this market, the opportunities for quick game developers could be significant.
Another question that will be interesting to see is the monetization model. Given the dominance of In-App Purchase in recent years for both social, online and mobile games, it’s safe to assume that it will stay dominant in this market as well. How does an In-App Purchase store looks like on two screens? That is still something developers will have to figure out.