Apple CEO Tim Cook has poured cold water on continuing rumours that the company is plotting an entry into the console gaming market, saying he is "not interested in being in the console business in what is thought of as traditional gaming."
Speaking during the D: All Things Digital conference, Cook was asked if, following Apple's huge role in the rapid growth of mobile gaming, he wanted the company to repeat that success on big living-room screens.
"I view that we are in gaming now in a fairly big way," Cook said in response. "One of the reasons people buy an iPod Touch is gaming [but] I realise that is not the big screen you are talking about. Most people play on portable devices. Where we might go in the future, we'll see. Customers love games.
"I'm not interested in being in the console business in what is thought of as traditional gaming. But Apple is a big player today, and things in the future will only make that bigger."
Cook chose his words carefully, of course, and clearly left the door open for expansion into the living room in future. Given his responses to other questions - where he was far less equivocal, either giving a full, honest answer or batting the question away without comment - it's easy to infer that Apple is, at the very least, contemplating taking on Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo head-on.
Yet it would only do so on its own terms. It's hard to see Apple launching a loss-making games console, running around doing exclusivity deals with big developers and publishers as Microsoft did to forcibly gain a foothold in the market. Any move into big-screen gaming appears some way off, with the rumour currently focused on Apple entering the TV market - though an Apple TV, with an integrated App Store, would provide the company with a stealth route into living room gaming.
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