New Apple TV Only Supports Two Bluetooth Controllers at Once

Apple's fourth-generation Apple TV includes support for a full App Store, making it possible for developers to create games and apps for the device for the first time. A platform like the Apple TV seems well-suited to multiplayer games, but it appears the new Apple TV will only support two Bluetooth controllers at once and three Bluetooth-connected devices total.

Our sister site TouchArcade got in touch with several developers who have Apple TV Dev Kits to test the limits of multiplayer gameplay on the devices, and these developers found they were only able to connect two controllers in addition to the Apple Remote control.

appletvremotegamecontroller
That means that at the current time, the Apple TV supports a total of three players for local gameplay using controllers, which will likely be the preferred method of control for games like first person shooters and platformers. Attempting to connect more than two controllers causes one of the first connected controllers to disconnect, and multiple Made for iPhone (MFi) controllers were tested by various developers.

Well, this is a bit of a bummer. We just got word from one of the developers who were lucky enough to win the Apple TV dev kit lottery (Who we're not naming because we don't want to cause more Apple TV NDA drama!) who raced out and bought a ton of MFi controllers with the hopes of making a 8 player party game.

These hopes were quickly dashed as they realized that the new Apple TV will only connect to two external Bluetooth devices at once, along with the included remote.

The limitations on Bluetooth-connected devices do not extend to the iPhone, which can also be used as a controller in multiplayer games. Implementing iPhone control methods is tricker than simple MFi controller support, however, as it requires developers to build custom iPhone support into apps.

All tvOS games and apps are required to include touch-based controls for the Siri remote, so most titles should work with simple iPhone controls, but many gamers may prefer using MFi controllers. Apple's decision to force developers to build games around touch support has not been a popular one, as it limits games to very basic control schemes.

Apple may be planning to expand the number of controllers supported by the Apple TV ahead of its October launch, but for now, it looks like the device will only support two controllers simultaneously, further limiting the gaming capabilities of the Apple TV.

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

Popular Stories

Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
M4 Real Feature Red

M4 MacBook Pro Models Expected to Launch in Late 2024

Tuesday June 18, 2024 10:50 am PDT by
MacBook Pro models with an M4 chip are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024, according to display analyst Ross Young. In a tweet for subscribers, Young said that panel shipments for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are set to begin in the third quarter of 2024, which suggests a launch toward the end of the year. Apple started its M4 chip refresh in May with the launch...
iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Wednesday June 19, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
Apple Intelligence General Feature

Apple Intelligence Features Not Coming to European Union at Launch Due to DMA

Friday June 21, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple today said that European customers will not get access to the Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring, and SharePlay Screen Sharing features that are coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this September due to regulatory issues related to the Digital Markets Act. In a statement to Financial Times, Apple said that there will be a delay as it works to figure out how to make the new...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....

Top Rated Comments

nepalisherpa Avatar
114 months ago
Next year: New Apple TV now supports 4K and up to 4 controllers. ;)
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
114 months ago
Apple doesn't understand gaming, and at this point I'm not sure if they ever will. It's really unfortunate because I feel like this is the closest they've ever gotten and they're still missing the mark in many key ways. The thing should come with one BT MFi controller designed by Apple. Then they should sell Apple designed controllers. The experience is too inconsistent right now. When someone buys this thing, they'll see that controller and understand if they want more controllers to play, they'll need to go buy one like that. That controller is even more limited than the Wii which, even though successful, was pretty much used to only play Wii Sports by the vast majority of owners. I don't think we'll see many companies making games for a platform that is effectively restricted from taking off. Either build in proper game support, or don't have it at all. If it takes more money, then charge what it takes. I still feel like this device is just testing the waters, but the waters will be cold since it's so limited. It's just frustrating because I feel like this platform could be so much more.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AtheistP3ace Avatar
114 months ago
I guess this means no party games. Good thing I have no friends!
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
snebes Avatar
114 months ago
Anyone have a idea on when in October these go in sale?
October 30. 31st at the latest.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mascots Avatar
114 months ago
Gradual improvement, Apple's speciality.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WordsmithMR Avatar
114 months ago
Not surprised... Actually I didn't think it would allow as many as it does. This isn't a console...
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)