TV out: the REAL game-changer

The Maemo Guru demonstrates gaming over the N900 TV-out cable and asks if this will impact the iPhone.  Forget other handhelds– what might this do to larger gaming platforms?

Imagine as these devices get a little more powerful how they could play games on television screens that are now restricted to Xboxes, Playstations and Wiis.  Then imagine how they could leverage that power along with high connectivity to internet cloud and home computing ecosystems to gain access to players and content.  Expand that vision to propose a small video multiplexing device that allows 2 or more mobile computer users in the same room to partition the playing screen just as conventional game machines do now.

Suddenly the N900 portends a greater potential, and greater threat, for gaming.  This platform may well be the first to truly bridge the world of Gameboys and immobile gaming devices.

Nokia took a beating for its N-Gage hardware, especially for not getting version 2 quite right.  Maybe the company wizards did learn from that experience, and thanks to legendary corporate conservatism we are just now seeing the benefit of that lesson learned.

The N900 and its descendents may well show the world that Nokia does indeed get gaming, after all… I’m cautiously excited by the prospect and cannot wait to see where this goes.  Arguments welcome.  ;)

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12 responses to “TV out: the REAL game-changer

  1. what i want to see is a charging dock that also have AV out and KM in.

    two of those and you have your home and office desktops ;)

  2. The key problems for gaming are
    1) Getting publishers to support the platform
    2) Attract independent developers to develop for the platform

    The main problems for both are distribution and revenue.

    Apple did this (mainly) right with their App Store, where both problems are solved – even with basic DRM to prevent you from sharing applications with your buddies.

    So to get this running, Nokia has to integrate OVI with the repositories/packaging system somehow.

    Probably the easiest solution would be to just offer direct downloads to “deb” files after payment – which would probably only be a viable solution for independent developers, as publishers tend to be a bit more restrictive about their IP. Well you could register against an IMEI or some other means online… so there probably are some solutions.

    Yet this is something Nokia has to really push to make it happen – not sure how their stand is there.

    Of course the installation base is they key point for revenue. We have to see how Nokia really does. I highly doubt it will come anywhere near the iPhone, but it can still be a successful device! So will it break the threshold to attract serious/commercial developers? Only time will tell.

    Other than that, it’s obviously also only a pure casual gaming device like the iPhone without any D-Pad or proper Buttons. But the missing Multitouch is a real deal breaker for any serious interaction as it limits the controls even more. (Yes you could use the keyboard for some control – but it’s not really made for that either – speaking from N810 experience at least).

    And FWIW the iPhone 3.0 OS has a network (gaming) stack ready to use. So there are still some gaps to fill to make end user friendly network games on the Maemo Software side to solve (at least to support and encourage developers to make use of it and bring consistency to the user interfaces).

    So in the end much of this is about how Nokia interacts with the corresponding industries. And if THEY want it to happen.

    • I agree with your observations as things stand now– I was thinking more along the lines of potential when I wrote this.

      But yeah, it all comes down to desire and execution on Nokia’s part. That’s where I’m doubtful.

  3. This is really exciting. And, as having used it, I can definitely support the fact that it is _really_ cool. But, gaming is only half of the cool factor. Being able to see everything that’s on the N900′s screen on a large monitor is just amazing. From letting thr device be an onscreen media player to an actual productivity tool, because of TV-Out, the N900 becomes even better in its class — and many others!

  4. I’m a bit worried about the slight freezing that can be seen in the video, on both the TV-output and the N900′s own screen. However I’m sure that’ll be ironed out.

    If the price is right for the quality, it’ll sell. What’s more there’s greater incentive to develop for N900 because of the iPhone using OMAP too.

    It needs to be a simple process, all through the one store front. It encourages impulse purchasing. You’re right in that sense that the integration is key.

    • I’m not sure if the freezing can be “ironed out” in this iteration… that might require more powerful hardware. Next year maybe? Meanwhile the focus could be on games with less demanding frame requirements.

  5. Without convenient on-line market system the only thing TV-Out will change is he game in your emulator :)

      • allnameswereout

        Fully agree with Tim!

        It has potential, but it will need developers to port their games. Else you stick to emulators, for nostalgic purposes. Then it won’t dent XBox360 and PS3. Maybe not even Wii. People will also need to download those ROMs and that is just a lot of hassle.

        Honestly I’m not so sure its only cool for games. It is also neat for presentations and playing a video from NIT to TV.

        If combined with BlueTooth keyboard and mouse you have a really nice portable system (with “XFce4 mode” :D). Because the cable has to be attached the NIT is not anymore a wireless remote control to control ‘the TV’.

  6. Naturally native games require development. But there’s already a HUGE ecosystem being overlooked here: Flash games. They’re ready, they run, and people are addicted to them.

    But of course games unique to the platform would be highly attractive. I would hope developers would recognize the potential as word gets out (ie, this article) and start the ball rolling. It wouldn’t hurt for Nokia to prime the pump though.

    Also, there was no intent here to suggest gaming was the only viable use for TV out– I’m simply recognizing that this is a highly compelling use based on current trends and just plain human nature. ;)

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