First look: SteelSeries Nimbus wireless controller brings multiplayer gaming to Apple TV

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited October 2015
Online buyers of the new fourth generation Apple TV get a "personalized" recommendation to also buy the SteelSeries Nimbus, a wireless video game controller designed to enhance gameplay on the new device with physical joysticks, a D-pad and buttons. Although it won't be required for standard play on any games, it is needed for multiplayer gaming.




We ordered a SteelSeries Nimbus with our Apple TV preorder, and received the Bluetooth 4.1 device immediately. The new Apple TV isn't expected to begin shipping until Friday (although it's already Friday in New Zealand).

SteelSeries Nimbus not only works with Apple TV, but also works with iPhone 5, iPad 4 and the 5th generation iPod touch (and newer models) as well as Macs running OS X 10.9 or later.




The new Nimbus model is similar in size and features to standard console controllers, unlike the very compact SteelSeries Stratus we reviewed last year, which suffered from a design focus on being portable making it uncomfortably small.

The new Nimbus controller feels comfortable and solidly well built, and at $50, is also half the price of the first wave of "Made for iOS" controllers that began to appear after iOS 7 added support for standardized game controllers. It weighs 8.54 ounces (242 grams).







It does not have a gyro or motion sensors or rumble actuator similar to Sony's standard Playstation "SixAxis DualShock" controllers. It is otherwise very similar, with two buttery-smooth analog joysticks, Xbox-style A/B/X/Y action buttons, a four way directional pad and two sets of left/right buttons on the back side.

The controller also features a Menu button that allows it to navigate Apple TV, although for motion, trackpad and mic support (for Siri commands), you'll still need to use the bundled Apple Siri Remote, which by itself costs $79. Apple TV can only connect to one Siri Remote at a time

However, Apple isn't "recommending" that buyers get an additional Siri Remote because Apple TV can only connect to one Siri Remote at a time.




For multiplayer games, users can pair multiple MFi remotes like the Nimbus, or potentially use their iPhone or iPad as a controller. The Nimbus has four numbered LEDs to show its multiplayer status.

Like the Siri Remote (and Apple's latest batch of Magic Keyboards and Mice), the Nimbus controller features a Lightning port for recharging its Lithium Ion battery, which is rated for 40 hours of play.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,635member

    I read on another site that Apple had an active hand in designing the Nimbus.  Looks like it's the one to beat.

  • Reply 2 of 14
    jasenj1jasenj1 Posts: 909member
    Wait. So the Siri Remote has a gyro & accelerometer so you can use it as a paddle/racket/sword like a Wiimote, but you can't use multiple of them to play multiplayer games? Is there a Wiimote-like accessory that CAN be used for multiplayer waggle games?

    The world needs more tennis, ping pong, sword, baseball, golf, and other such games where you swing the controller around. Infinity Blade, anyone?

    From the [URL=http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MLLC2/siri-remote]Siri Remote page[/URL]: "Apple TV can only connect to one remote at a time. If you wish to play multiple player games, you’ll need an iOS device or controller."

    Come on Apple. Nintendo already showed you how to do this.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,635member

    I wonder why only one Siri remote can be connected at a time.  Doesn't seem like it would be a technical limitation, but I can't see a compelling reason for Apple to choose to do it.

  • Reply 4 of 14

    $80/remote to add an additional kid on to Crossy Road? No thanks.

     

    It would make sense that Apple wants to force multiplayer games to use optional controllers. Otherwise you'll get a situation like on the iPhone. The game has to work without a controller, but then games are designed solely for the touchscreen (or Siri Remote), so the controller experience is neglected. Right now, there's no compelling reason for me to buy a controller for my phone. With the Apple TV policy, it seems they can try to get the best of both worlds.

  • Reply 5 of 14
    I'm trying to decide between this and the Shield Console. I have an iPhone and a Mac, but somehow I'm not sure that sways me towards the Apple TV. Seems like on paper, the Shield wins on most things I care about - but I think iOS developers make better apps.

    I was hoping the reviews were overwhelmingly positive, but alas they have left me undecided.

    Decisions, decisions....
  • Reply 6 of 14
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by konqerror View Post

     

    $80/remote to add an additional kid on to Crossy Road? No thanks.

     

    It would make sense that Apple wants to force multiplayer games to use optional controllers. Otherwise you'll get a situation like on the iPhone. The game has to work without a controller, but then games are designed solely for the touchscreen (or Siri Remote), so the controller experience is neglected. Right now, there's no compelling reason for me to buy a controller for my phone. With the Apple TV policy, it seems they can try to get the best of both worlds.




    Reading comprehension - the multiplayer controller is $50, and players can also join using their iPhone or other iOS device

  • Reply 7 of 14
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

     



    Reading comprehension - the multiplayer controller is $50, and players can also join using their iPhone or other iOS device


     

    Reading comprehension. Jasenj1 and Crowley wanted to add multiple Siri Remotes to play multiplayer games. I pointed out that $80 for a Siri Remote is too much. $80 x 3=$240. It helps to read the thread and not just the article before commenting.

  • Reply 8 of 14
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,635member

    <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

     

    Nice burn there.  DED's over sensitivity and defensiveness is straying into posts where he isn't even being criticised.

     

    Though ftr, I wasn't saying I'd get another Siri Remote for multiplayer gaming, just wondering why there's the limitation.  Plus, if games are going to be built for the Siri Remote, they might actually be better using it than using the SteelSeries controller, or using an iOS device.  Options are never unwelcome.

  • Reply 9 of 14
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

     

    <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

     

    Nice burn there.  DED's over sensitivity and defensiveness is straying into posts where he isn't even being criticised.

     

    Though ftr, I wasn't saying I'd get another Siri Remote for multiplayer gaming, just wondering why there's the limitation.  Plus, if games are going to be built for the Siri Remote, they might actually be better using it than using the SteelSeries controller, or using an iOS device.  Options are never unwelcome.




    Projection

  • Reply 10 of 14
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,635member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

     



    Projection


    You weren't reactively defensive about your article, even though there had been no actual criticism of said article?

     

    Definitely need to work on the reading comprehension buddy.

  • Reply 11 of 14
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,264member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

     

    I wonder why only one Siri remote can be connected at a time.  Doesn't seem like it would be a technical limitation, but I can't see a compelling reason for Apple to choose to do it.




    I'm also confused by this. Two people playing the same game using completely different controllers (whether the second is a Nimbus or an iPhone) seems ... problematic. Still confused about Apple's approach to gaming here.

  • Reply 12 of 14
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,342member

    Tagged one of these onto my order earlier in the week, just in case.

  • Reply 13 of 14
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    crowley wrote: »
    I wonder why only one Siri remote can be connected at a time. Doesn't seem like it would be a technical limitation, but I can't see a compelling reason for Apple to choose to do it.

    The UI would have to decide which controller to let control the interface but it could have a priority in order of pairing so the first remote paired gets priority over the second etc and when multiple remotes are in use for the UI at the same time, the highest priority remote input is used or have a block with a delay so when one remote is active, the other has to wait until a few seconds after it has stopped being used. When only one remote is being used, it would be able to control everything the higher priority ones can. The choice to use one might be to avoid the usual TV control politics e.g husband/wife/kids with their own remote deciding what to watch. The Wii allowed multiple wands but the Wii U only has a single main touch controller and you can't buy extra ones, you have to use standard controllers for multiplayer and it's probably true of every streaming and set-top box too.

    Selling separate remotes would be useful in case someone loses their remote or the remote becomes defective e.g internal battery. The price difference between the ?TV with Siri remote and one without is $80 but the higher one has 32GB Flash, 2GB RAM and the faster A8 chip too so an extra remote for $49 should be doable. It makes sense for karaoke apps that can use multiple voice input and games like Badlands as well as party games. I don't think a lot of people will want multiple remotes but there's no harm in them producing slightly more remotes than boxes and allow separate purchasing as well as additional remotes when buying the box.

    Maybe if there's a lot of motion games that come out, they will see a sizeable market for multiple remotes and allow more. These things always come in steps, this won't be the last box they make. This is like the iPad launching with a new market for apps and the first step is to open the platform up and see how people use it and then they adjust things to the market over time.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    jasenj1jasenj1 Posts: 909member

    Marvin, you are exactly right. The aTV seems like it will target and appeal to the same casual gaming market as the Nintendo Wii: People who don't want to spend all the money and have the complexity of a full-blown console, but who want to play things like Candy Crush or Words with Friends, or have something to entertain the grandkids. The Wii showed that casual games with the waggle controller work very well, and were vey popular. But the aTV doesn't have multiple motion controllers except for using an iPhone. That seems like a huge fail.

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