Apple Limits Games for Apple TV by Requiring Compatibility with Siri Remote

Apple has backtracked on a statement made when the new Apple TV launched. Originally, it said that tvOS app developers could write games that required an otherwise optional controller, similar to those used on an Xbox or PlayStation. Now, Apple is going back on that, saying any third-party apps need to work with the new Apple Remote (with Siri button and trackpad) that ships with the new Apple TV.

Apple TV remote

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This is probably how it should be. Imagine getting an app (especially if you had to pay for it) and finding out it is unplayable on your Apple TV because you haven't paid $50 or so for an optional Bluetooth controller. Apple doesn't even make one of them, although it is promoting the SteelSeries Nimbus controller that is "MFi" i.e, Made For iPhone.

Nimbus

It shouldn't be too hard for app developers to accommodate the official Apple Remote. Instead of pressing up on a joystick, one could swipe up on the trackpad, etc. The gameplay might not be as smooth as it would be with a controller, but that's not what Apple is mandating. The game just has to work.

This is similar to the Xbox 360 and the Kinect. Even though the Kinect is from Microsoft, many units were shipped without it, at a lower price point. The result is that there are games that require Kinect, games that work "Better with Kinect" and games that ignore the Kinect. Customers have to be careful which ones they buy, and since such games are $30 or more it can be a bigger deal. Apple is ensuring that all tvOS apps will work at some level for all users, while many could be better with a controller.

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.