Is Apple Going Gaming with HDTVs, iTunes Video Game Store?

Nothing goes better with our lunch than a good Apple rumor and beer, and today we have both.

This one comes from Apple Insider, who’s sources say that Cupertino is wading into the already-crowded gaming market. And it’s not just speculation, an analyst for Prudential, Jesse Tortora, has evidence that Apple has been hiring game designers.

Sure, they might be for the already established iPod gaming services, to come up with more stuff like “Bejeweled.” Or, conversely, these workers might be there to expand iPod gaming from the cell phone class it’s at now to something else.

Or they could be there to start something totally new, as with the iPod back in 2001. What’s really interesting is that we know that Apple is intent on owning your living room, there were rumors not long ago about forthcoming HDTVs with built-in wireless to work with the iTunes movie store.

But what if these TVs had game consoles inside as well?

Think about it; you could download a game from the iTunes Game Store to your Mac (or PeeCee, Hodgman-lovers), browse to it via the FrontRow interface, send it to the HDTV, and play as if it were a regular console. Apple owns a number of patents for graphics that make it totally feasible.

This combo setup actually makes the games more important than the hardware: Console makers generally take a loss on the hardware, and make it up on the game licensing. Apple hardly seems the type to take this road, so combining the gaming and display hardware saves costs, and changes the market dynamic to boot.

Is this what Apple’s got in mind? We know there are HDTVs and something to do with video games coming up, and coupled with iTV, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched at all.

Apple rumored to be eyeing video game market [Apple Insider]