The Apple TV finally has a chance to be a gaming platform

Immersive games require a serious controller and the Apple TV Siri Remote is not a serious controller. Yet until recently Apple required game developers to fully support the Siri Remote for all games, which is likely one of the reasons developers haven’t fully embraced the platform.

Gaming was key to the original pitch for the latest generation of the Apple TV. But so far the Apple TV has not become a gaming platform even though the 4th generation Apple TV packs enough horsepower to run most mobile games on the biggest screen in the house.

Apple has seemingly reversed a stance that required game developers to support the Apple TV Siri Remote. Instead, developers now have the option to require a MFi controller for games. You know, a real gaming controller.

The news comes from Apple’s Developer’s conference, where it also states that “where possible you [developers] should also support the Siri Remote”.

This is a stark departure from Apple’s previous requirement that forced developers to make their games work using just the touch- and motion-enabled Siri Remote. On the surface, this original requirement looks like a win for consumers as they would be able to play all the games offered on the Apple TV without buying something extra. But the Siri Remote, with just a couple of buttons, is not a good gaming controller.

Now, by requiring MFi controllers, developers can fully support controllers like the SteelSeries Nimbus or Horipad Ultimate, which sport traditional button layouts. Motion and touch controls are great for some games, but not so much for Final Fantasy or Street Fighter or Skylanders or whatever the cool kids are playing these days.