Apple removes Siri Remote requirement for gaming apps in latest tvOS beta

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited June 2016
Buried amidst an avalanche of WWDC announcements, Apple on Monday removed a stipulation in its developer resources guidelines that required tvOS games use the fourth-generation Apple TV Siri Remote as a gaming controller.




Apple informed developers of the apparent change in a modification to an existing support document covering game controller best practices. In particular, Apple has -- again -- reconsidered its posture on accessory compatibility as it pertains to tvOS.

"When designing a tvOS game, you may require the use of an MFi game controller, but where possible you should also support the Siri Remote," the document reads.

While not a complete reversal of previous App Store policies, the rewording is closer in spirit to Apple's initial tvOS app guidelines.

When tvOS debuted last year alongside Apple TV, developers were urged -- not mandated -- to build in controller support for the bundled Siri Remote. Apple later flip flopped, requiring all tvOS games offer support for the new Apple TV remote. The company did not offer an explanation on the sudden change, though it has been speculated that Apple desired a consistent user experience that afforded customer access to all tvOS apps out of the box.

With a touchpad, accelerometer and a total of five buttons (six if the volume button is counted as two separate inputs), Siri Remote proves a decent gaming controller for casual titles. The unit, however, is far from ideal for playing fast action games or titles with complex control schemes. In such cases, gamers usually opt for an MFi model styled after traditional console controllers, like AppleInsider's top pick, the SteelSeries Nimbus.

Apple's newly revised stance on tvOS game controllers is not final, and the company has indeed proven fickle on this very subject. Barring another flip flop, however, it seems MFi controller sales could be primed for a resurgence this fall.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    The gloves have just come off  :open_mouth: .
    rezwitswilliamlondonargonautrazorpitjbdragoncornchip
  • Reply 2 of 16
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,362member
    Awesome, this should really free up game devs. Apple has made all the right moves it seems with this WWDC, both big and small. 
    williamlondonargonautrazorpitnolamacguydocno42cornchip
  • Reply 3 of 16
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 839member
    About FREAKING time!, I was upset because, Apple has no problem requiring US to have the latest Mac or iPhone to run their OSes and be able to use certain features. I was going nuts because they said you had to make the remote have the same capabilities, and I was just like so the maximum we could do was whatever the maximum the Siri remote could do. That was horrible! I am just working on my game, and the MFI control is great, the Siri remote was just a harsh fallback in case you don't have a joystick! FINALY!!
    williamlondonargonautrazorpitdocno42
  • Reply 4 of 16
    supadav03supadav03 Posts: 503member
    This was a welcomed move. Apple hasn't done a great job with games on the Apple TV and this small tweak could have a massive impact. I think we'll start to see some of the console ports that are already on iOS start to work their way onto the ATV. The addition of 4 player multiplayer is big as well. 
    williamlondonargonautrazorpitjbdragondocno42cornchip
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Definitely a welcome addition. To be honest I only play games on the ATV with a game controller (meaning I don't play games that don't support the controller), so how much more fun going forward with this. I hope we see a slew of games to be made available soon on the ATV that have been waiting for this to happen.
    argonautdocno42cornchip
  • Reply 6 of 16
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,815member
    My admiration for Apple's speed to demonstrate flexibility has just crossed 100%. My gut feeling also says AppleTV will get lots of love from consumers and Apple. In 2017 Fall or 2018 Spring will have AppleTV version 5 with better gaming CPU/GPU inside, 4K, USB Type-C, Bluetooth 5, Mu-MIMO WiFi, more Home-kit integration, .Going forward, life will be much better using AppleTV.
    edited June 2016 cornchip
  • Reply 7 of 16
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,133member
    Apple often presents a crawl-walk-run approach towards opening up capabilities like this. When first launched, they wanted to make sure everybody who bought an ATV4 could buy and play the games and ensure a consistent user experience. That's the crawl. Now a year later, they have tons of data and feedback from customers and developers, so they open up the system somewhat and eliminate that mandate. That's the walk. Can't wait to see the Run.
    williamlondonrazorpitcornchip
  • Reply 8 of 16
    BeekerBeeker Posts: 1member
    But will Apple release the Gyroscope and Accelerometer features for use with these controllers???
  • Reply 9 of 16
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,873moderator
    rezwits said:
    About FREAKING time!, I was upset because, Apple has no problem requiring US to have the latest Mac or iPhone to run their OSes and be able to use certain features. I was going nuts because they said you had to make the remote have the same capabilities, and I was just like so the maximum we could do was whatever the maximum the Siri remote could do. That was horrible! I am just working on my game, and the MFI control is great, the Siri remote was just a harsh fallback in case you don't have a joystick! FINALY!!
    It would limit the number of inputs but developers have been implementing two control methods. Games have transitioned to be more on-rails while using the remote but fully controlled with the controllers so the controls can go a bit beyond the remote. Rayman Adventures auto-runs with the remote but is manual with the controller.

    The downside to not having the requirement is clear with the enthusiasm for not having to support it. A lot of developers won't bother supporting the remote at all now they don't have to. So when someone buys the Apple TV box, they will find that a lot of games don't work and will be forced to spend $50-100 more on a controller.

    If Apple had designed the remote slightly differently, they could get round it. All it needs is more simultaneous inputs. Just now it has 3: touchpad, button, motion. With a full surface touchpad and shoulder buttons, you get 5 inputs, which is enough for a developer to map a full controller onto. The shoulder buttons can be done with a plastic add-on to the remote like this one for the Wii:



    Apple's one would be a lot less bulky. The add-on would be inexpensive and bundled with the Apple TV as the battery and chips are in the remote, the add-on just has some buttons and the lightning port on the remote would clip into it so that the shoulder buttons can send data:


    This exterior can be made of matte black plastic or even a kind of rubber for comfortable holding. The left touch pad is move, the right is for looking. There can be more shoulder buttons behind or side by side. This allows move, look and action. Even in a more complex game like Far Cry where you have to steer a vehicle, look, accelerate and shoot, this would be possible. With 4 stacked shoulder buttons (L1,L2,R1,R2), you get 7 simultaneous inputs. That housing would be small enough to leave the remote in it but it would also easy enough to pop out regularly. Apple could sell remotes separately so that people can buy multiple remotes per box. I doubt the extra remotes would need to be over $49. People can buy them for using with iPads and Macs and they'd be a lot easier to transport than a standard controller.
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 10 of 16
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,733member
    The first serious indication that Apple might finally be paying attention that games are important!

    Woot!  This is LONG overdue.   Now give me real GPU offerings in desktops.  Starting by offering more desktop machines NOT designed around laptop parts would be a start. Even if you have to make them slightly thicker :rage: 
  • Reply 11 of 16
    TurboPGTTurboPGT Posts: 355member
    This is good. I hope it actually results in some better games, and not just one of those things that developers pretend are a dealbreaker...and when the obstacle is removed...crickets, instead of Apps.
    williamlondondocno42
  • Reply 12 of 16
    pepe779pepe779 Posts: 84member
    Marvin is spot on and while many seem to think this is a good move, I'm not so sure. Each and every game console has its standards, has its own controllers that games are designed for. Now the ATV will have NO standards whatsoever. What does this mean in the long run? Developers are now free to start forcing their own controllers down users' throats and you simply won't be able to fully enjoy their games without buying one. The ATV platform is about to become more fragmented than any other game console out there, which is a very surprising and short sighted move from Apple. I'm not saying the Siri remote was the right game controller, but the ATV was NOT meant to be a hard core game console to begin with. The Siri remote was ok for casual games and that's also how the ATV was initially presented. If they wanted the ATV to be a PlayStation competitor, they should have designed it with a dedicated controller from the start. This way they're changing their strategy on the fly and that is usually never a good move.
  • Reply 13 of 16
    pepe779 said:
    Marvin is spot on and while many seem to think this is a good move, I'm not so sure. Each and every game console has its standards, has its own controllers that games are designed for. Now the ATV will have NO standards whatsoever. What does this mean in the long run? Developers are now free to start forcing their own controllers down users' throats and you simply won't be able to fully enjoy their games without buying one. The ATV platform is about to become more fragmented than any other game console out there, which is a very surprising and short sighted move from Apple. I'm not saying the Siri remote was the right game controller, but the ATV was NOT meant to be a hard core game console to begin with. The Siri remote was ok for casual games and that's also how the ATV was initially presented. If they wanted the ATV to be a PlayStation competitor, they should have designed it with a dedicated controller from the start. This way they're changing their strategy on the fly and that is usually never a good move.
    I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about. There is a standard for game controllers, managed through the MFi programme (here). "Developers forcing their own controllers," what does that mean? As long as a controller is an MFi controller, it'll work the same way as other MFi controllers - thanks to the MFi game controller standard with which *all* controllers must comply. The only decision that has been changed is the one where Apple previously required the Siri remote be supported by games, nothing else changes, except that games developers are now free to ditch the Siri remote and require a 3rd party (MFi only) game controller with their game, all of which will work the same with each particular game.

    This is a good thing for those of us that want more game choices (breadth and depth) on the ATV, options which may have been withheld due to game controller issues.
    docno42
  • Reply 14 of 16
    pepe779pepe779 Posts: 84member
    pepe779 said:
    Marvin is spot on and while many seem to think this is a good move, I'm not so sure. Each and every game console has its standards, has its own controllers that games are designed for. Now the ATV will have NO standards whatsoever. What does this mean in the long run? Developers are now free to start forcing their own controllers down users' throats and you simply won't be able to fully enjoy their games without buying one. The ATV platform is about to become more fragmented than any other game console out there, which is a very surprising and short sighted move from Apple. I'm not saying the Siri remote was the right game controller, but the ATV was NOT meant to be a hard core game console to begin with. The Siri remote was ok for casual games and that's also how the ATV was initially presented. If they wanted the ATV to be a PlayStation competitor, they should have designed it with a dedicated controller from the start. This way they're changing their strategy on the fly and that is usually never a good move.
    I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about. There is a standard for game controllers, managed through the MFi programme (here). "Developers forcing their own controllers," what does that mean? As long as a controller is an MFi controller, it'll work the same way as other MFi controllers - thanks to the MFi game controller standard with which *all* controllers must comply. The only decision that has been changed is the one where Apple previously required the Siri remote be supported by games, nothing else changes, except that games developers are now free to ditch the Siri remote and require a 3rd party (MFi only) game controller with their game, all of which will work the same with each particular game.

    This is a good thing for those of us that want more game choices (breadth and depth) on the ATV, options which may have been withheld due to game controller issues.
    Well and likewise I'm not sure you truly understand the MFi concept. It doesn't define any firm standards, it's in fact a very loose definition of how something made for iPod/iPhone/iPad should work or look like. Take the Disney Infinity base that Disney developed for their ATV game - now that Apple removed their Siri remote requirements, each and every company can come up with their own type of controller (and really, sky is the limit when it comes to their creativity) and simply tell you that in order to play their game, you have to buy that controller. What I'm saying is that Apple has always been about simplicity and elegance, but this way they're turning this platform into another Windows, where you have tons of different controllers for different games, but unlike in the Windows world, there's no keyboard+mouse combination that usually covers your basic gaming needs. The Siri remote was at least some sort of guarantee that you'll be able to play everything that gets published for ATV, now there's no guarantee that the Siri remote will get you anywhere. Not sure what's so difficult about this to understand and again, in my opinion, this is simply Apple's mismanaged strategy, because they clearly can't decide what they want the ATV to be.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    williamlondonwilliamlondon Posts: 1,163member
    pepe779 said:
    I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about. There is a standard for game controllers, managed through the MFi programme (here). "Developers forcing their own controllers," what does that mean? As long as a controller is an MFi controller, it'll work the same way as other MFi controllers - thanks to the MFi game controller standard with which *all* controllers must comply. The only decision that has been changed is the one where Apple previously required the Siri remote be supported by games, nothing else changes, except that games developers are now free to ditch the Siri remote and require a 3rd party (MFi only) game controller with their game, all of which will work the same with each particular game.

    This is a good thing for those of us that want more game choices (breadth and depth) on the ATV, options which may have been withheld due to game controller issues.
    Well and likewise I'm not sure you truly understand the MFi concept. It doesn't define any firm standards, it's in fact a very loose definition of how something made for iPod/iPhone/iPad should work or look like. Take the Disney Infinity base that Disney developed for their ATV game - now that Apple removed their Siri remote requirements, each and every company can come up with their own type of controller (and really, sky is the limit when it comes to their creativity) and simply tell you that in order to play their game, you have to buy that controller. What I'm saying is that Apple has always been about simplicity and elegance, but this way they're turning this platform into another Windows, where you have tons of different controllers for different games, but unlike in the Windows world, there's no keyboard+mouse combination that usually covers your basic gaming needs. The Siri remote was at least some sort of guarantee that you'll be able to play everything that gets published for ATV, now there's no guarantee that the Siri remote will get you anywhere. Not sure what's so difficult about this to understand and again, in my opinion, this is simply Apple's mismanaged strategy, because they clearly can't decide what they want the ATV to be.
    You're talking nonsense. Infinity supports MFi game controllers (only). As for the Infinity Base they provide in some game package bundles (and as an add-on), that's supported on all the consoles, but isn't even required for gameplay (it's about linking the physical characters). The game controller, the only thing we're talking about here, is MFi, and you don't have to buy one of their bundled ones, you can use your existing MFi game controller (which will work just like all the other MFi controllers). The base also works the same as on other platforms, so I'm really not sure what your argument is here. The base isn't the game controller, neither is it required, neither is it different than on other gaming platforms.

    This rule change means developers can now require a game controller to play their game, but the only game controller we're talking about will be an MFi compatible controller. They don't get to require a non-MFi controller in order to play their game, that's not the change and that's not allowed.

    The MFi standard works great, in my opinion. I was able to purchase a controller with my preferred button/joystick layout, similar to the PlayStation (my preference), whereas others may prefer the layout like the XBox controllers (perfectly reasonable), and because Apple doesn't dictate layout, there are controllers offering XBox-style joystick layout. There is flexibility but games developers are pretty much going to stick to the standard (as one expects for gameplay in a controller). If these developers require a game controller, that game controller must be MFi, so I can't understand why you're complaining.
    docno42
  • Reply 16 of 16
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,873moderator
    pepe779 said:
    Marvin is spot on and while many seem to think this is a good move, I'm not so sure. Each and every game console has its standards, has its own controllers that games are designed for. Now the ATV will have NO standards whatsoever. What does this mean in the long run? Developers are now free to start forcing their own controllers down users' throats and you simply won't be able to fully enjoy their games without buying one. The ATV platform is about to become more fragmented than any other game console out there, which is a very surprising and short sighted move from Apple. I'm not saying the Siri remote was the right game controller, but the ATV was NOT meant to be a hard core game console to begin with. The Siri remote was ok for casual games and that's also how the ATV was initially presented. If they wanted the ATV to be a PlayStation competitor, they should have designed it with a dedicated controller from the start. This way they're changing their strategy on the fly and that is usually never a good move.
    I think it's a good move and a necessary one to prevent limiting games on the platform, it will just have some downsides, which can be worked around. I don't think it will be fragmented much as the MFi controllers have to stick to specific layouts but I can see game developers avoiding supporting the remote at all, which will be frustrating for Apple TV buyers purchasing a $149 TV gaming box and finding a library of games requiring a $50-100 controller on top.

    There are games where supporting the remote is tricky like AfterPulse, which is a first person shooter:

    http://www.slidetoplay.com/after-pulse-for-apple-tv/

    They ended up using the remote's tilt to control movement. The above modifications to the remote would mean that the Apple TV box comes bundled with a fully capable controller so the entire game library could be played with the remote without compromising the games and without compromising the remote for TV use.

    The revenues for the companies that sell the MFi controllers (GameVice, Mad-Catz, SteelSeries etc) are $30-50m so the manufacturers aren't selling more than about 300-500k units across all platforms. The Apple TV box could have sold 5-10 million units. If less than 5% of the owners have a controller then it limits the appeal of the audience for certain games. Having a fully capable controller bundled can boost that significantly.
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