References to gaming and a possible controller for the Apple TV have been discovered in the iOS 4.3 beta code, suggesting Apple may have learned a thing or two from Xbox Live and PSN, and is looking to take Game Center's offerings to the next level. According to Engadget, the latest iOS beta code contains references to "ATVGames" and "ATVThunder" that point to a controller of some sort, leaderboards, a way to schedule games, and a storefront.
There's not much more in the code to provide a firm idea of the company's plans, but the site speculates that the Apple TV could be used as a streaming gaming platform, similar to OnLive's service, where games are streamed rather than stored locally -- with the device's minimal internal storage perhaps used for video buffering.
The popularity of games on iOS has contributed to the huge success of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Bringing games to the Apple TV could help create inroads for Apple into consumers' living rooms and mark a first step into competition with the likes of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo -- even if it's a small one. Many expect the Apple TV to get apps like the other iOS devices, and putting some emphasis on games could be a good fit for the "hobby" set-top box.