Apple TV Games Must Work With Apple TV Remote, May Not Require External Controller

When creating games and apps for the new Apple TV, developers are required to build in support for the touch-based remote, making all content accessible to all users without the need for additional accessories like an MFi controller.

As noted by developer Dustin Westphal and shared by our sister site Touch Arcade, Apple's App Programming Guide for the tvOS says the following: "Your game must support the Apple TV remote. Your game may not require the use of a controller."

The new Apple TV works with third-party Bluetooth controllers, but because they are an optional accessory, they are not allowed to be the primary input method for a game. This requirement will force developers who want to build games around controller use to also include a touch or motion-based control scheme for use with the Apple TV remote.

appletvremotegamecontroller
As Touch Arcade points out, the requirement is bound to be a hassle for developers, especially those with games that have complicated control schemes.

There will be games that will have control schemes that are too complicated for the remote, for sure. What if Apple rejects apps that feature terrible controls for the remote, designed only to achieve the bare minimum functionality? Or developers with complicated controls decide to skip making their app compatible with the Apple TV because it won't be worth it? Ideally, we don't want to get to a point where games aren't coming to the Apple TV, or being actively rejected, because they won't fit the remote.

Apple appears to have originally planned to allow developers to require a game controller to play Apple TV games, but the company later nixed that policy and is now requiring all games to support the Apple TV remote in addition to a controller.

Apple's choice to require support for the Apple TV is not surprising, as it also has the same requirements for iOS devices. Developers can build controller support into their iPhone and iPad apps, but apps must also include touch-based control schemes for users who do not have a controller.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 CarPlay Feature

iOS 18 Adds These 5 New Features to CarPlay

Thursday June 13, 2024 7:44 am PDT by
Apple did not mention CarPlay during its WWDC keynote this week, but iOS 18 includes a handful of new features for the in-car software. Overall, there is not a whole lot new for CarPlay on iOS 18, with changes seemingly limited to the Messages and Settings apps so far. Below, we recap everything new for CarPlay on iOS 18. New for CarPlay on iOS 18 1. Contact Photos in Messages App...
apple watch series 9 display

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 10 to Get Larger Screen and Thinner Design

Monday June 17, 2024 1:20 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 10 will be thinner and come in larger screen sizes than previous models, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his latest industry note -10-and-98075c44ce92">shared on Medium, Kuo said the screen size options on the next-generation Apple Watch will increase from 41mm to 45mm, and from 45mm to 49mm, while being encased in a thinner design. For reference,...
iPod Nano vs iPod Pro Ad Feature 1

Apple Developing Thinner MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone

Monday June 17, 2024 2:22 am PDT by
Apple intends to slim down the MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone, with the new ultra-thin M4 iPad Pro a sign of the company's new design trajectory, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. When the M4 iPad Pro was unveiled last month, Apple touted it as the company's thinnest product ever, and even compared it to the 2012 iPod nano to emphasize its slim dimensions. Writing in the latest ...
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

You Can Give Siri a New Name With iOS 18's Vocal Shortcuts

Friday June 14, 2024 4:33 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 18 added a Vocal Shortcuts accessibility feature, and now that iOS 18 is available in a beta capacity, users have figured out that this option can be used to give Siri a new wake word. With Vocal Shortcuts, you can assign a custom phrase that Siri can understand to launch shortcuts and complete "complex tasks," and one of the shortcuts you can set up is an alternative for "Hey...
iOS 18 Wallet Feature

Here's What's New in Apple Wallet on iOS 18 for Event Tickets and More

Friday June 14, 2024 7:32 am PDT by
iOS 18 includes a handful of enhancements to the Wallet app on the iPhone, with new features for Apple Pay, Apple Cash, event tickets, and more. Below, we outline everything new for the Wallet app on iOS 18, based on information from Apple's press release and a WWDC 2024 coding session. Redesigned Event Tickets Event tickets have an all-new design in the Wallet app on iOS 18, complete...

Top Rated Comments

levitynyc Avatar
114 months ago
Thus driving a nail in the coffin for any companies interested in making good games for it.

No one on earth is going to buy this for its gaming capabilities.

Why even bother if you need to be able to control it with that disaster of a remote?

The NES is 30+ years old and is a more capable gaming machine than the Apple TV.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
itsOver9000 Avatar
114 months ago
If that's the case Apple should create their own real controller and include it with the Apple TV.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rorschach Avatar
114 months ago
They probably don't want to have to deal with the inevitable onslaught of "I bought this game and I didn't know I needed to buy some accessory! I want a refund!" (even though the requirements were listed right on the app page).
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
caliguy Avatar
114 months ago
Not surprising. Many customers would complain if they needed to buy an additional accessory. People with 3rd party controllers will just be getting the high scores ;)
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rorschach Avatar
114 months ago
Thus driving a nail in the coffin for any companies interested in making good games for it.

No one on earth is going to buy this for its gaming capabilities.

Why even bother if you need to be able to control it with that disaster of a remote?

The NES is 30+ years old and is a more capable gaming machine than the Apple TV.
You don't NEED to.

All this means is that games have to work with the included remote, not that developers CAN'T support third-party controllers. They just can't require that you buy one to use the game at all.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jtropeano Avatar
114 months ago
Well there goes Guitar Hero / Rock Band, which was specifically talked about @ the Keynote.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)