It looks like Apple’s upcoming gaming-focused Apple TV revamp won’t allow developers to require players to use a third-party game controller. This means that a title can’t be built from the ground up with only an input device like the Steel Series Nimbus Controller in mind.
There are two ways this decision can be looked at, one that views this restriction in a positive light, and another that could indicate this is a nail in the coffin of Apple’s gaming ambitions, essentially sabotaging the device’s video game capacity before it’s even released.
According to the new mandate, Apple is requiring developers to ensure their titles are compatible with its voice-activated Siri Remote, which makes sense from a hardware, as well as a development perspective, because it comes included with every Apple TV.
@austin_walker I think so? This paragraph on the dev docs suggested so. https://t.co/PH4Sa4gcm3 pic.twitter.com/fsY6UwiHBO
— Rusty Moyher (@rustym) September 9, 2015
Early Apple developer guidelines seemed to indicate it was fine to develop a game around the use of just a traditional gamepad, but that Apple “highly discourages” game creators from doing so.
While this low-key change in development restrictions is somewhat disappointing, there’s also a bright side to the situation. Requiring developers to use Siri Remote means they will be forced to come up with inventive ways to take advantage of the device, particularly when it comes to its touch-sensitive glass and Wii-like motion control capabilities.
The touch-sensitive glass portion of Siri Remote could be used for control purposes (or in a way that’s similar to the PS4 Dualshock 4’s touchpad) and the controller could also be turned on its side and be used almost like a WiiMote. This control scheme would work great with a game like Transistor, which was unofficially revealed as an upcoming Apple TV title during the company’s keynote last week.
Requiring all developers to use Siri Remote in their titles also ensures every title in the App Store will be playable by any new Apple TV owner, and not just those who own a third-party gamepad.
Also, just because Apple is requiring the use of Siri Remote it doesn’t mean developers won’t also include the option to use a traditional gamepad to play games as well.
Related link: Apple TV now poses a legitimate threat to Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft