Most of the people I encounter these days with a tech startup are focusing on the web or mobile. They either have an idea that they want to push out to the app store, or a web service which may or may not have a mobile companion. The tech world as the startup scene sees it is made up of mobile phones and computers. Who could blame them? Every major headline in the tech news is about IPOs, acquisitions, and user growth in iPhone apps and websites.
What is particularly interesting about this is a seemingly willful ignorance of the entire game console world. The app store has set a new standard for digital distribution, and consoles are following that new standard. Open the channel up to indies, make it easy to get distribution, and watch the next Angry Birds come out of nowhere. In particular Nintendo and Sony seem to be opening up their next gen consoles to indie game developers, and incidentally, to app developers.
If you sort through the offering on the PS3 and Wii U, you’ll see almost exclusively games, and then a few apps to accompany video and music services. There seems to be a major lack of thought going in to modern app development targeting these set-top boxes for television, and I think it’s just a matter of time before someone takes advantage of that. That’s when the whole world will follow suit and the TV/App industry will appear.
It’s easier than ever to become a licenses developer with Nintendo or Sony. So the question we need to be asking is, what can we do on those devices that is unique to the fact that they are in the living room?