Apple TV Games Must Work With Apple TV Remote, May Not Require External Controller

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When creating games and apps for the new Apple TV, developers are required to build in support for the touch-based remote, making all content accessible to all users without the need for additional accessories like an MFi controller.

As noted by developer Dustin Westphal and shared by our sister site Touch Arcade, Apple's App Programming Guide for the tvOS says the following: "Your game must support the Apple TV remote. Your game may not require the use of a controller."

The new Apple TV works with third-party Bluetooth controllers, but because they are an optional accessory, they are not allowed to be the primary input method for a game. This requirement will force developers who want to build games around controller use to also include a touch or motion-based control scheme for use with the Apple TV remote.


As Touch Arcade points out, the requirement is bound to be a hassle for developers, especially those with games that have complicated control schemes.
There will be games that will have control schemes that are too complicated for the remote, for sure. What if Apple rejects apps that feature terrible controls for the remote, designed only to achieve the bare minimum functionality? Or developers with complicated controls decide to skip making their app compatible with the Apple TV because it won't be worth it? Ideally, we don't want to get to a point where games aren't coming to the Apple TV, or being actively rejected, because they won't fit the remote.
Apple appears to have originally planned to allow developers to require a game controller to play Apple TV games, but the company later nixed that policy and is now requiring all games to support the Apple TV remote in addition to a controller.

Apple's choice to require support for the Apple TV is not surprising, as it also has the same requirements for iOS devices. Developers can build controller support into their iPhone and iPad apps, but apps must also include touch-based control schemes for users who do not have a controller.

Article Link: Apple TV Games Must Work With Apple TV Remote, May Not Require External Controller
 

levitynyc

macrumors 65816
Aug 19, 2006
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Thus driving a nail in the coffin for any companies interested in making good games for it.

No one on earth is going to buy this for its gaming capabilities.

Why even bother if you need to be able to control it with that disaster of a remote?

The NES is 30+ years old and is a more capable gaming machine than the Apple TV.
 

infiniteentropy

macrumors regular
Sep 9, 2009
182
346
This is the first I've heard that the Apple TV supports third-party controllers. I own a SteelSeries remote and was wondering this. That is huge for me, to be able to use the Apple TV like a proper console. As a mostly-casual gamer, this will be one of my primary gaming devices. Very nice!

Edit: Hadn't thought that this new will pre-empt a whole genre of games because of having to support this terrible remote for gaming. Yeah this is bad news after all. Dang it.
 
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rorschach

macrumors 68020
Jul 27, 2003
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They probably don't want to have to deal with the inevitable onslaught of "I bought this game and I didn't know I needed to buy some accessory! I want a refund!" (even though the requirements were listed right on the app page).
 

thewebb

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Jul 22, 2014
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Thus driving a nail in the coffin for any companies interested in making good games for it.

No one on earth is going to buy this for its gaming capabilities.

Why even bother if you need to be able to control it with that disaster of a remote?
Why exactly is the remote a disaster? I'm guessing you're saying that based on how it looks and not its functionality since I'm 99% sure you haven't used it. I don't care if it looks a little strange as long as it works just like they demoed it.
 

brentsg

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Oct 15, 2008
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I'm not surprised, but that kills any interest I have in the gaming aspects.

After waiting for a new ATV for years, I'm planning to stick with my existing ones for now. The apps will have to be pretty good for me to upgrade b/c the gaming aspect isn't anything I'm interested in at all.
 

brentsg

macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
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Why exactly is the remote a disaster? I'm guessing you're saying that based on how it looks and not its functionality since I'm 99% sure you haven't used it. I don't care if it looks a little strange as long as it works just like they demoed it.
You don't need to use it to see that it's an ergonomic mess, just like the previous ATV remotes.
 

canesalato

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
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Oh...geez...how can you do something as simple as a jump forward on a 2d platform with that?
Come on! That's a remote, not a game controller!
It's an amazing remote, I guess.
It can ALSO be a great controller for A FEW games but requiring it...means that after all these years Apple still doesn't get games (except maybe the most casual and shallow ones).
Well...150 euros more in my pockets I guess :D
 

WestonHarvey1

macrumors 68020
Jan 9, 2007
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They probably don't want to have to deal with the inevitable onslaught of "I bought this game and I didn't know I needed to buy some accessory! I want a refund!" (even though the requirements were listed right on the app page).
That's still a crappy experience though, having to comb through App Store search results to make sure you can actually play the game with the hardware you have on hand, or go out of your way to filter them out (if that option is even provided).

Add-on accessories are pretty much DOA on any console, going all the way back in history.
 

rorschach

macrumors 68020
Jul 27, 2003
2,064
587
Thus driving a nail in the coffin for any companies interested in making good games for it.

No one on earth is going to buy this for its gaming capabilities.

Why even bother if you need to be able to control it with that disaster of a remote?

The NES is 30+ years old and is a more capable gaming machine than the Apple TV.
You don't NEED to.

All this means is that games have to work with the included remote, not that developers CAN'T support third-party controllers. They just can't require that you buy one to use the game at all.
 

mabell11

macrumors newbie
Sep 15, 2015
1
2
Not solely the reason, but definitely part of the reason:

A developer could create a free game that requires a $50 controller to play, essentially bypassing Apple's purchase structure.
 

ZackVLion

macrumors member
Jul 25, 2002
32
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I can see consumers buying games and not realizing a controller is needed and then trying to get a refund on the game or something...No matter how clearly they put on the app store page for the game "EXTRA CONTROLLER NEEDED, DOES NOT WORK WITH REMOTE" you know a billion people are gonna buy it anyways and then complain/be upset when it doesnt work with the remote and leave 1 star reviews "DIDNT WORK WITH MY REMOTE!!! AVOID THIS GAME ITS A SCAM"....the problem is people are dumb....
 

Thomas beau

macrumors newbie
Jun 19, 2015
11
31
So why can't the developers create a basic functional set of controls that will work with the Apple Remote and have a much greater set of controls that can be access through 3rd Party controllers. Is Apple going to require that the set of controls be the same for all devices?