Apple TV Needs the PS5 and Xbox Series X

Apple TV Needs the PS5 and Xbox Series X
Photo: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

Apple TV will be available on the next-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles at launch. This is a big deal.

Microsoft today announced that Apple TV would be available for the Xbox Series X and S models right out of the gate, with its older generation Xbox One also getting support on Nov. 10. Just weeks before, Sony also shared that Apple TV would be included at launch on its forthcoming PS5 console as well as the PS4. That will give next-gen console owners the opportunity to access purchased content, Apple TV+ originals, and subscription channels directly from their gaming console. Sony and Microsoft don’t necessarily need Apple, but Apple does need the PlayStation and Xbox.

Apple has managed in the last year to pad its streaming product with newer titles and offers like the subscription bundle to Showtime and CBS All Access to lure users to its service. It’s also been snapping up films old and new to help beef up the lineup of content offered by Apple TV+. At launch, the service was primarily limited to Apple products with a few exceptions, creating semi-exclusive access to the service before expanding to more devices like TVs over this year. But exclusivity and limited support outside of Apple’s own ecosystem doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a skinny service, given that there are so many content services out there also competing for viewers’ eyes and wallets.

Instead, it makes sense that Apple would want Apple TV on as many platforms and devices as possible to keep viewers engaged — especially on next-generation gaming consoles that could very well wind up doubling as set-top boxes. Sony has touted the PS5’s “lightning-fast loading,” and Microsoft has called its Series X release the “fastest, most powerful Xbox ever.” Considerably faster game consoles could, if they’re able to boot up quickly, replace whatever other system someone is currently using if they know they can get their same apps and services on a next-generation console. And that’s a tremendous benefit to Apple, for which the primary concern right now is likely holding on to subscribers when their free trials run out. (It recently extended some free subscriptions to Apple TV+ that were ending in November through the beginning of next year.)

There are too many services to name now — most of them just OK compared to a smaller number that are actually good. The thing is, though, those services are only as good as viewers’ ability to actually access them. And if Apple doesn’t meet people on the screens and devices they get their content from, it’s only hurting itself.