Apple TV Gaming Hinted at in iOS 4.3 Beta Code
The iPhone Game Center was just the beginning, apparently. Code from the iOS 4.3 beta indicates Apple plans to focus on online gaming through Apple TV as well.
The iOS 4.3 code refers to "ATVGames" and "ATVThunder," both of which point to some kind of controller similar to those used by game consoles. These references also hint at the same kind of leaderboards and multiplayer game scheduling seen in Game Center for the iPhone and iPad. Even a store front, presumably for games, is referenced in relation to the game code.
It's quite possible that Apple wants to use the Apple TV as a hub for online gaming, similar to how OnLive uses a microconsole and an army of servers to feed console games to people who don't own a console. The Apple TV has only 8GB of storage, so it's unlikely Apple would expect users to house the games on their devices .
Another clue that Apple would stream games through the Apple TV device is the OpenGL standard, which Apple has implemented thoroughly in its devices. OpenGL would allow for streaming game data to and from server farms that actually run the game, while Apple TV users see the video feed and are able to play it with a controller.
This development would add significant value to the Apple TV as a media device. In many ways, this would bring the Apple TV into closer competition with the Xbox and other consoles, which already provide online multiplayer gaming and downloadable single-player games while also functioning as a media device for watching Netflix movies and using social media on a TV. Apple TV has the TV/movie part down, so adding online gaming would make it a much bigger contender in the market.