Gaming could be making its way to the Apple TV.
According to Engadget, which received iOS 4.3 beta 3 code snippets from an anonymous tipster, two strings of code, dubbed "com.apple.appletv.play.live.thunder" and "com.apple.appletv.play.archive.thunder," provide the best evidence that video game support could be coming to the Apple TV. Other areas of the code mentioned "ATVThunder" and "ATVGames," Engadget is reporting.
All told, "several references" to gaming on the Apple TV were found throughout the code that Engadget obtained.
Apple released an updated version of its set-top box in September. The new Apple TV, which the company says isn't the "hobby" that its predecessor was, lacks internal storage and requires users to stream multimedia content to the device. It includes access to iTunes video content, as well as Netflix and Flickr. According to Apple, it hit the 1 million units sold mark in December.
Prior to the launch of the latest Apple TV, some industry watchers thought that the device would feature some kind of gaming component. In 2009, an Apple patent was discovered that seemed to indicate that the company was thinking about allowing Apple TV owners to play casual games on the device. But companies file a slew of patents, and many of the products described in those filings never make it to store shelves.
The discovery by Engadget's tipster is by no means a smoking gun. And as with any other Apple product, rumors about the Apple TV's upcoming features should be taken with a grain of salt. But if Apple is looking for other ways to improve its set-top box, games might just be the next logical space for the company to jump on. If that happens, just don't expect Xbox 360- or PlayStation 3-quality games. The Apple TV lacks the graphical prowess to match those consoles, which means it would probably only accommodate casual, online games.
Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment.