Apple has updated its App Programming Guide for tvOS to include one small, but very significant change: all Apple TV games that support third-party game controllers must also support the new Apple TV Siri Remote.

Requirements for Games That Support Game Controllers

Apple has created specific requirements you must follow for any game that supports game controllers. These requirements are designed to make sure that games are always playable.

  • Your game must support the Apple TV remote. Your game may not require the use of a controller.

  • tvOS games that support controllers must support the extended control layout. All controllers for tvOS are nonformfitting extended controllers.

  • Games must be playable using standalone controllers. If you support an extended controller, the game must be playable solely with that controller.

  • You must support the pause button. All controllers include a pause button. When gameplay is active, pressing the pause button should pause gameplay. When the game is not being played, such as when you are at a menu screen, the pause button moves to a previous screen of content.

The phrase: “Your game may not require the use of a controller” means that all Apple TV games must be playable solely with the Siri Remote, which will be bundled with the new Apple TV.

This new policy can be a serious constraint to the development of games for tvOS and may cripple some developers that have already designed their sophisticated and complex games to be playable, and fully enjoyable, only with third-party controllers.

This can also mean that Apple is actually not planning to fix what’s wrong with console gaming today (or at least not anytime soon). 

On the other hand, this is a good news for many Apple TV users (and especially for casual gamers), who will be able to play every game they buy from the Apple TV App Store, even if they don’t own a third-party controller.

The new Apple TV will be available at the end of October starting at $149 for a 32GB model and $199 for a 64GB model.

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