Apple TV no longer requires Siri Remote for games

WWDC is the time of year when Apple gets everyone’s attention with their announcements of major updates to their software platforms, like iOS, OS X (now macOS), and more recently tvOS and watchOS. But there’s always a few new features that don’t get mentioned at the keynote that have a major impact on customers…this is one of them.

When the fourth-generation Apple TV was announced, it was partially advertised as a gaming platform for the home. And while it certainly has a strong developer community behind it, there was one thing that had the potential to prevent it from being a major disruptor to console gaming—and Apple just did away with it.

Before, when developers were making games for Apple TV, Apple required game developers to design their games with the Siri Remote as the primary controller. It stated, “Your game must support the Apple TV remote”—a statement that is actually still live on their tvOS Developer Library site. This makes it challenging for developers to make games that require multiple actions at the same time—like sports games, first-person shooters, and more. In fact, we did a comparison between the Siri Remote and a wireless game controller on our Enjoy Blog, which you can see here. And toucharcade also has an article that shows how challenging playing a more complex game can be with the Siri Remote, too. But Apple seems to have heard the pleas of gamers and developers, alike, and made a change for the better.

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A recent update to the Game Controller Programming Guide on their Developer site now states, “ When designing a tvOS game, you may require the use of an MFi [Made for iOS] game controller, but where possible you should also support the Siri Remote”. Which means game developers can now demand the use of a full game controller—something that is made clear on the tvOS App Store before buying a game. So you’ll have a better experience when playing games since the options are now in your favor.

What does that mean in terms of games? Well, nothing immediately. But it may persuade developers to start bringing popular console games to the Apple TV. While the graphics won’t be as good, they’ll definitely be good enough—especially for kids—and at a much cheaper cost than console games.

And it’s also reported that the new tvOS update is capable of handling four MFi game controllers to be used at the same time—up from the previous two. This strengthens multiplayer game options on Apple TV, and better allows for groups of friends or families to play all at the same time.

For more on announcements from WWDC, check out our other blogs on iOS 10, watchOS 3, and more.


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