Apple working with Logitech and Moga for MFi game controllers, details framework at WWDC

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
In the clearest sign yet that Apple is serious about supporting dedicated third-party game controllers in iOS, the company held a 45-minute long session at WWDC on Tuesday, showing off app frameworks, hardware mock-ups and a set of preliminary best practices guidelines.

Controller
Slide from Apple's game controller presentation.


During the session, which is available as a video to all registered Apple developers via the WWDC app, it was also announced that Logitech and Moga are already collaborating on initial hardware designs for the game controller. The certified third-party involvement was first spotted by Czech Apple blog Jablickar.

A closer look at the presentation, however, revealed just how serious Apple is in making standardized game controllers a reality in iOS 7. Titled "Integrating with Game Controllers," speakers ran through a fairly comprehensive set of app frameworks and other assets that will help developers code games for the proposed controllers. Logitech even had prototypes on hand.

Apple offered two hardware examples, which were partially outlined in a report earlier this week, with the mock-ups showing a "form-fitting" design that wraps around an iPhone or iPod touch, as well as a standalone controller. Each model features a D-pad, dual analog sticks, four action buttons, and shoulder bumpers/triggers.

The form-fitting version allows users to not only interact via the controller, but also the iOS device's multitouch screen, a layout seen in Sony's PS Vita console. This setup offloads controls previously located on-screen, clearing up valuable real estate on the devices' 4-inch displays.

Controller
Mock-up of "form-fitting" version.


As for the standalone model, Apple notes that it should not be attached to the device in any way, meaning the controller should support a wireless solution such as Bluetooth LE. Controls are nearly identical to the form-fitting version with one major exception: player indicator LEDs. This suggests multiplayer support in an implementation much like Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3.

Controller
Mock-up of standalone controller.


In addition, both controllers will feature a dedicated pause button, something that is built into many iOS games. Also of note are pressure-sensitive buttons, non-drifting D-pads and thumbsticks with no dead zones, and fast report rates for all actuators.

While Apple touted the benefits of having a standardized piece of equipment specifically meant for controlling an iOS game, it made clear that such a device should not be a requirement. The company is, however, looking to help app developers deploy game controller-ready titles in its MFi initiative.

Presenters mentioned multiple times that Apple would be pushing to have the device specifications and accompanying APIs ready for launch this fall in iOS 7.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 72
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,581member
    I'd love to get a nice game controller for my Mac.
  • Reply 2 of 72
    timmydaxtimmydax Posts: 284member
    I'd love to get a nice game controller for my Mac.

    ^ This.

    Whilst Windows has had controller support since serial port joysticks, I have never found the mac to be in any way cooperative. Hopefully that'll now change.

    That stand-alone controller is so for Apple TV!
  • Reply 3 of 72
    I've always thought the only thing keeping portable game players alive was that they had physical buttons. Hopefully, this move will also lead more developers to build richer games for iOS.
  • Reply 4 of 72
    spearspear Posts: 1member
    How is it that you can publish this information. As far as I know, all developers signed an NDA regarding the SDK, and the WWDC sessions and presentations are not supposed to be published. If you tell me that Apple gave you permission to break the NDA then I will accept.
  • Reply 5 of 72
    bobringerbobringer Posts: 105member
    Goodbye Nintendo... it was a good century. Once Apple flips the switch on an App Store for my TV... and these controllers are released... it's game over for Nintendo.
  • Reply 6 of 72
    zozmanzozman Posts: 391member


    I'm so glad this is happening, I knew it would one day.

    Potable gaming is going to change to iOS at a faster rate after this, if you follow the E3 expo, so many major games are coming out with iPad (maybe iOS) companion games, so Battlefield 4,  you have your standard multi-player (PC & Console), what they added is a support roll that someone on an iPad can join the multi-player, they can bomb the enemy or send in supplies i guess.


    Watch dogs is looking amazing, they are going something similar, iPad players help the console players, hacking terminals, unlocking doors.

  • Reply 7 of 72
    constable odoconstable odo Posts: 1,041member
    Apple needs to do something with iOS to make it just as good or better than Android. I don't know if this is the truth or not but nearly everyone in the mobile industry claims that Android OS is superior to iOS based on openness and the sheer number of features Android contains.
  • Reply 8 of 72
    irelandireland Posts: 17,535member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    I'd love to get a nice game controller for my Mac.


     


    I've wanted that for about 8 years.

  • Reply 9 of 72
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,581member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Spear View Post



    How is it that you can publish this information. As far as I know, all developers signed an NDA regarding the SDK, and the WWDC sessions and presentations are not supposed to be published. If you tell me that Apple gave you permission to break the NDA then I will accept.


     


    It would probably be a good idea for Apple to revoke any and all developer agreements with people associated with AppleInsider... just to be sure.

  • Reply 10 of 72
    irelandireland Posts: 17,535member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TimmyDax View Post





    ^ This.



    Whilst Windows has had controller support since serial port joysticks, I have never found the mac to be in any way cooperative. Hopefully that'll now change.



    That stand-alone controller is so for Apple TV!


     


    I find it hard to believe they'd let a third party handle their controller for the Apple TV.

  • Reply 11 of 72
    timmydaxtimmydax Posts: 284member
    ireland wrote: »
    I find it hard to believe they'd let a third party handle their controller for the Apple TV.

    But it's ok for iPhone? That seems like evidence for my (perhaps overly-enthusiastic) assertion.

    Where does your belief come from in this instance?
  • Reply 12 of 72
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TimmyDax View Post





    ^ This.



    Whilst Windows has had controller support since serial port joysticks, I have never found the mac to be in any way cooperative. Hopefully that'll now change.



    That stand-alone controller is so for Apple TV!


     


    One of the reasons I game on Mac is the excellent shareware ControllerMate. I don't believe anything like it exists on Windows! It lets you create custom drivers for USB devices (not sure about Bluetooth) and has worked great with the Logitech gamepad and various mice I have used.


     


    By "custom drivers" I mean an insane level of customizability: you can program custom functions with highly complex and context-sensitive logic--all visually. Stack different modules together on the screen and connect them together. Multi-button chording, long- vs. short-presses, auto-repeat--all doable.


     


    IF you enjoy devising those custom functionalities. I love it!


     


    I do wish my RumblePad had force feedback support on OS X though.

  • Reply 13 of 72
    timmydaxtimmydax Posts: 284member
    nagromme wrote: »
    One of the reasons I game on Mac is the excellent shareware ControllerMate...

    ...IF you enjoy devising those custom functionalities. I love it!

    That's awesome, thanks!
  • Reply 14 of 72
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TimmyDax View Post





    But it's ok for iPhone? That seems like evidence for my (perhaps overly-enthusiastic) assertion.



    Where does your belief come from in this instance?


     


    I agree that it's at least less likely for Apple TV. Reasons:


     


    1. iOS is maturing. No longer fragile. No longer easy to steer in the wrong direction or back itself into a bad corner. Opening up all kinds of crazy controllers too early would have harmed touch gaming. Now, it's fine. But AppleTV's app ecosystem is so new it doesn't even exist yet! And when it appears, it will be new, and fragile, and the "hobby" will still be finding its way. Way too soon to hand over significant interaction factors to third parties.


     


    2. AppleTV already comes with a controller--one that will be in need of replacement when (if?) apps arrive. Apple would want to devise that new controller and make sure it works well and is the One True Interface... at least for now.


     


    Neither of those is a deal-breaker or a certainty, but they make me doubt.

  • Reply 15 of 72
    maccherrymaccherry Posts: 924member
    Sony, are you listening to what the rock is saying! Adios because all hell is about to break the f*** loose up in this b****!
    I hope we get monster hunters for Apple. OMFG!
    Nintendo, see ya baby! It was fun while it lasted.
  • Reply 16 of 72
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TimmyDax View Post





    That's awesome, thanks!


     


    You're welcome. I've actually never had much trouble getting games to accept my RumblePad and varioud Logitech/Razer mice. Not for years. But with ControllerMate I can do a lot more. Haven't tested it yet in Mountain Lion but I believe it works, and they have a site and forum for checking device compatibility.


     


    I've actually got Quake Wars set up to work with no keyboard at all, and that's a very complex FPS that needs almost every key, normally. (I use my RumblePad in the left hand, and my 16-button Razer mouse--the best way to aim!--in the right hand. Long-presses and shift-presses handle some rare functions.)

  • Reply 17 of 72
    timmydaxtimmydax Posts: 284member
    nagromme wrote: »
    I agree that it's at least less likely for Apple TV.

    [Reasons]

    Neither of those is a deal-breaker or a certainty, but they make me doubt.

    Good points. Not really in response, but:

    1) Apple TV runs iOS

    2) Why spec up a stand-alone controller for iPad use only

    3) Can mirror iPad display, why do we need an App Store before this is made for use with an Apple TV?

    4) Can't imagine that kind of hardware ever running its own games, but it doesn't need to.

    5) Of course, this does not mean Apple cannot also make a 1st party controller

    6) Speculating on what Apple won't do isn't as much fun
  • Reply 18 of 72
    timmydaxtimmydax Posts: 284member
    nagromme wrote: »
    I've actually got Quake Wars set up to work with no keyboard at all, and that's a very complex FPS that needs almost every key, normally. (I use my RumblePad in the left hand, and my 16-button Razer mouse--the best way to aim!--in the right hand. Long-presses and shift-presses handle some rare functions.)

    Sold. Absolutely epic!
  • Reply 19 of 72
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TimmyDax View Post





    Good points. Not really in response, but:



    1) Apple TV runs iOS



    2) Why spec up a stand-alone controller for iPad use only



    3) Can mirror iPad display, why do we need an App Store before this is made for use with an Apple TV?



    4) Can't imagine that kind of hardware ever running its own games, but it doesn't need to.



    5) Of course, this does not mean Apple cannot also make a 1st party controller



    6) Speculating on what Apple won't do isn't as much fun


     


    The main thing I'd add is re #3: AirPlay (whether mirrored or transmitted as a second screen) has a lag that is serious to the point of being a deal-breaker for many kinds of games... the kinds of action games (other than driving maybe) where a control might most be wanted. The delay varies but can be significant. (Faster WiFi won't necessarily solve this: it's the processing power to encode/decode. There's even a delay with hard-wired iOS Lightning to HDMI video. Eventually, faster hardware will help a lot. But today it's a problem.)


     


    And #5 is about as fun as speculation gets! (Though I don't expect it--until and unless it's the new remote for an updated Apple TV.)

  • Reply 20 of 72
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    I'd love to get a nice game controller for my Mac.

    I don't know why. I've had me some consoles in my time, but mouse+keyboard are leagues better than any of them. I prefer 108 buttons to 8, for example.
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