Game controller support is already better on Apple TV than iOS

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2015
Right out of the box, the new fourth-generation Apple TV offers much clearer, simpler, and broader support for dedicated physical game controllers than the iPhone or iPad, even though the latter devices have featured gamepad connectivity for years.




Using game controllers with the new Apple TV is a far more pleasant experience on its tvOS platform than on Apple's iOS, thanks to two key reasons:
  • The Apple TV App Store clearly states whether or not a download supports game controllers
  • Compatible gaming controllers can be used to navigate across the entirety of tvOS
These two inclusions make tvOS a platform much better suited for third-party physical gaming controllers than iOS, where it remains a far more frustrating and confusing experience.


The tvOS App Store makes game controller support very clear.


For years in AppleInsider's iOS gaming controller reviews, we have lambasted Apple for not adding a distinction to the iOS App Store for games that support Bluetooth controllers. Because of this omission, users are left resorting to third-party websites or dedicated apps that manually curate games with controller compatibility.

But on the tvOS App Store, compatibility is displayed front and center. Upon opening a game on the App Store, the listing will feature a controller icon and clearly state: "Game Controller Optional."

Further amplifying the experience is cross-platform support for downloads between iOS and tvOS. This means that if a developer creates a universal app that you have purchased for iOS, it's a free download on tvOS.


The iOS App Store makes no upfront indication of controller support.


Users who turn on their fourth-generation Apple TV for the first time can simply open the App Store and navigate to the "Purchased" tab to see a complete list of iOS apps they own that are also available on tvOS. This makes finding and installing compatible games even easier.

Finally, tvOS also bests iOS by allowing controller support across the operating system. This means that users can connect a third-party controller and then use it in place of the Siri Remote to do things like open apps or return to the home screen.


Game controllers in tvOS also allow for navigation across the operating system.


Gamepad support in tvOS includes pressing the "A" button to select items, while tapping the "B" button replicates the remote's menu button. Pressing and holding the "B" button emulates the remote's home button, returning the user to the home screen.

Apple has even included support for the triggers and bumper buttons on complex gaming controllers, having them serve as left and right menu navigations. Navigation is also accessible through both the left thumbstick and the D-pad.

The fourth-generation Apple TV works with any iOS-compatible Bluetooth gaming controller.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Those controllers are horrendous. Especially in 2015.

    I'd like to see something more futuristic. Even the Siri remote looks better, too bad it's so limited.

    The Wii remote was the most futuristic controller ever, too bad Nintendo seems to be abandoning the tech for some dumb reason.
  • Reply 2 of 61
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    cali wrote: »
    Those controllers are horrendous. Especially in 2015.

    I'd like to see something more futuristic. Even the Siri remote looks better, too bad it's so limited.

    The Wii remote was the most futuristic controller ever, too bad Nintendo seems to be abandoning the tech for some dumb reason.

    We have million year old designed hands.
  • Reply 3 of 61
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    Those are good improvements. People upgrade their devices when their apps get too slow, and games are very demanding apps. I personally believe that more focus on games could solve the iPad slow update cycle and also help the Apple TV to sell more units.
  • Reply 4 of 61
    You mean better on tvOS than iOS.

    That is to be expected because tvOS is more suitable for game controllers.
    iOS devices are more likely to be used as a controller themselves instead of a controlled target.
  • Reply 5 of 61
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    That looks exactly like the Xbox controller. Do these people have no shame?
  • Reply 6 of 61
    Can a PS3 controller be connected via BT to the Atv4?
  • Reply 7 of 61
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    sog35 wrote: »
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    That looks exactly like the Xbox controller. Do these people have no shame?

    And the xbox contoller copied the NES (game pad) and SNES (diamond button layout) and PS1 ( shoulder buttons) and Nintendo64 (analog sticks)

    Face it the xbox/PS controller design works great for many games.

    I dont give a crap how a controller looks. I care about how it PLAYS. And the Nimbus is an excellent controller for $49

    Screw them. Make a new design. That's just lazy.
  • Reply 8 of 61
    wigbywigby Posts: 692member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    Screw them. Make a new design. That's just lazy.



    No gamer wants a new controller design for the sake of design. For something as important as a controller, don't change it if it's working fine.

  • Reply 9 of 61
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    sog35 wrote: »
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    Screw them. Make a new design. That's just lazy.

    screw you. The Xbox/PS controller design is a result of DECADES of video gaming playing.
    Nintendo tried to recreate the wheel with the WiiU controller and look how crappy that turned out.

    I dont give a damn if a controller looks 'fresh'. I just care it plays well. Do you even play games? Or do you just put your game controller on a pedestal to stare at for hours? Gamers dont care what a controller looks like.

    Where would we be if Apple didn't change decades of design. At least change it a bit. That controller looks exactly like the one designed by :drum roll: Microsoft.
  • Reply 10 of 61
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    sog35 wrote: »
    wigby wrote: »

    No gamer wants a new controller design for the sake of design. For something as important as a controller, don't change it if it's working fine.

    Exactly.

    That guy who wants a 'fresh' design and understands nothing about what gamers want. I bet he hasn't played a game on a TV for a decade

    I just finished playing a few hours of Halo 4. That's how much you know.
  • Reply 10 of 61
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,387member
    sog35 wrote: »
    screw you. The Xbox/PS controller design is a result of DECADES of video gaming playing.
    Nintendo tried to recreate the wheel with the WiiU controller and look how crappy that turned out.

    I dont give a damn if a controller looks 'fresh'. I just care it plays well. Do you even play games? Or do you just put your game controller on a pedestal to stare at for hours? Gamers dont care what a controller looks like.
    Well they DO care what it looks like going by the gamers I've known, but at the same time they do expect a certain "feel" and button placement no matter which one they pick up which limits the design options.

    BTW have you seen how much they charge for some of the limited edition controllers? Geez-o-pete!
  • Reply 12 of 61
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    wigby wrote: »
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    Screw them. Make a new design. That's just lazy.


    No gamer wants a new controller design for the sake of design. For something as important as a controller, don't change it if it's working fine.

    So let me get this straight, if it's designed by someone other than Apple it's OK to copy but if Apple designed it it's not. Is that about right?
  • Reply 13 of 61
    blazarblazar Posts: 270member
    I want a controller that will still do siri directly... I dont want to swap from controller to remote all the time...

    All-in-one plus homekit ability to handle reciever functions via IP.

    Duh.

    I am sick of the ineptitude of the consumer electronics industry at large for not better standardizing device control and interconnectivity. Do i have to wait another 20 years for stuff to work well together???

    Apple tv was supposed to be a huge Homekit based control solution... Why are they releasing a product that is half baked...?
  • Reply 14 of 61
    wigbywigby Posts: 692member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    So let me get this straight, if it's designed by someone other than Apple it's OK to copy but if Apple designed it it's not. Is that about right?



    If none of the users care about copying and none of the companies that are being copied care about copying then is it even copying? Companies like Apple sue for copying when they don't want people to confuse their products for others and don't want other companies to benefit from their R&D and hard work. We don't see any console makers or game controller companies suing over these derivative designs because no one cares, not because it's not copying.

  • Reply 15 of 61
    I think it is what you copy and how you copy. Take cars, The steering wheel and pedals are in the same place and in the US the stereo is to the right somewhere in all cars. Now if you copy that fine but if you copy the exact layout of the radio or the vents then there is an issue. The button layout and orientation to each other is one thing but the physical look and feel is copying.
  • Reply 16 of 61
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    wigby wrote: »
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    So let me get this straight, if it's designed by someone other than Apple it's OK to copy but if Apple designed it it's not. Is that about right?


    If none of the users care about copying and none of the companies that are being copied care about copying then is it even copying? Companies like Apple sue for copying when they don't want people to confuse their products for others and don't want other companies to benefit from their R&D and hard work. We don't see any console makers or game controller companies suing over these derivative designs because no one cares, not because it's not copying.

    That's the silliest thing I've ever heard. Of course it's copying. That is NOT a derivative design. It's an exact copy down to the button naming. Does it have to be ABXY just like the Xbox controller? They changed not one thing in an attempt to be different.
  • Reply 17 of 61
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    That looks exactly like the Xbox controller. Do these people have no shame?

    Third party controllers always clone existing first party controllers. Why reinvent the wheel? If Apple had a first party controller, they would clone that.
  • Reply 18 of 61
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member

    I saw something called the HORDIC controller that looked like a high quality PS-esque controller. I think I wanna try that one.

     

    This could really become a nice satiation for people like myself that used to have consoles and can't bring myself to invest in them any longer.

     

    The A8 chip is and its graphics are certainly more than capable of powering some great games with decent graphics...we've seen them on iOS. The limiting factor is that the traditional FPS or open world games are very clunky and tiresome on touch-only. 

  • Reply 19 of 61
    wigbywigby Posts: 692member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    That's the silliest thing I've ever heard. Of course it's copying. That is NOT a derivative design. It's an exact copy down to the button naming. Does it have to be ABXY just like the Xbox controller? They changed not one thing in an attempt to be different.



    So you just want them to change the letters on the buttons just to be different? Now that's the silliest thing.

  • Reply 20 of 61
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pmz View Post

     

    I saw something called the HORDIC controller that looked like a high quality PS-esque controller. I think I wanna try that one.

     

    This could really become a nice satiation for people like myself that used to have consoles and can't bring myself to invest in them any longer.

     

    The A8 chip is and its graphics are certainly more than capable of powering some great games with decent graphics...we've seen them on iOS. The limiting factor is that the traditional FPS or open world games are very clunky and tiresome on touch-only. 


     

    PS3/4 controllers can be paired with Mac, as just another standard Bluetooth device. It might just work out of the box if you try the pairing.

     

    I am wondering if anyone who received ATV early has tried that yet.

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