The humble TV set-top box is finally emerging as a genuine challenger to Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony.
The team behind Freeview successor YouView have told MCV that the new platform – co-funded by UK broadcasters BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Five plus the likes of BT – will use an app store model that pumps interactive content into TVs.
So no need for consoles, discs or extra games hardware.
YouView is an open standard for next-gen TV, and its tech specs are designed for Flash or HTML apps – perfect for casual and social games that have found a new lease of life in browsers, mobiles and console download services.
The beauty of what we are doing is that there will be lots of YouView boxes, but each will run the basic app store and be able to play games with 2D graphics – more high-end boxes will have 3D graphics,” YouView CTO Anthony Rose explained to MCV.
The next generation of TV set-top boxes are ideal for those experiences. I think you'll find more and more that gaming will move onto devices that aren't consoles.”
YouView is now busy building bridges with games developers and publishers.
We expect to be inundated with content, games and apps proposals,” said Rose.
There is huge scope for games or other interactive apps to even be overlaid over programming on TV. We can do things that have never been done before by combining live TV, apps and games.”
YouView is also courting peripherals firms to make dedicated hardware.
The spec for YouView boxes includes USB and WiFi – so we expect manufacturers like Logitech to make wands, controllers and keyboards.
Over 40 companies have said they want to make hardware – we've had huge industry support. There's great market potential for peripheral manufacturers.
We will also see a huge range of apps arriving that take advantage of the mobile as controller.”
Although YouView is a non-profit endeavour from the UK's broadcasting elite, Rose acknowledged the competition with consoles.
We're headed for a convergence.
YouView can sit alongside Wii or PS3. But it's likely that consumers will decide that ultimately that just one of them suits their content needs.”