Game Developers Discuss How Apple Could Improve Gaming on Apple TV

Last week, Minecraft: Apple TV Edition was removed from the tvOS App Store and developer Mojang announced that anyone who was still playing the game on Apple TV would no longer see any updates or further support. In a statement, the company said that it needed to reallocate resources "to the platforms that our players use the most."

In a new article shared over the weekend, Ars Technica spoke with a few game developers in the wake of Minecraft's removal from the tvOS App Store, attempting to gain a consensus on what they think Apple needs to do to make the Apple TV a true gaming device. Strange Flavour CEO Aaron Fothergill said that Apple could do this by doing a better job of supporting Game Center across platforms, and creating its own gaming controller to bundle in with an Apple TV, "so there's an Apple TV being sold specifically for games."

apple tv games apps huge
Developer Patrick Hogan also indicated support for Apple to build its own full-featured gaming controller and include it in "every" Apple TV box, while other developers Ars Technica spoke with believed an optional gaming Apple TV bundle would suffice. Continuing, Hogan said Apple's marketing for Apple TV should emphasize gaming more, and the company should "spend a lot of money on funding platform exclusives, ports, and presence at every major gaming expo and conference to break the chicken-egg problem of getting customers to make it viable to devs."

Most of the developers I spoke with seemed to believe the same thing I did when I reviewed the Apple TV: there's a lot of potential here for this to be the Apple gaming console that people have speculated about for years. But, they add, Apple just isn't trying hard enough to let consumers know what the TV can do or to make it easy for them to use the TV explicitly for gaming purposes.

Although the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV devices have the hardware for powerful gaming support, Apple's actions so far have not indicated it intends to lean into presenting the Apple TV as a video game console. Even Game Center, which previously had a dedicated iOS app and social features, was downgraded to an optional integration for third-party gaming apps in iOS 10.

Apple also hindered gaming development on tvOS at the start by forcing developers to build in support for its touch-based Siri Remote in every gaming app, despite the fact that the Apple TV supports third-party Bluetooth controllers. Apple dropped this requirement within the fourth-generation Apple TV's first year on the market, but many developers mentioned that this left a poor first impression for the Apple TV as a true gaming device.

Still, most of the developers that Ars Technica spoke to remain positive about Apple TV's future as a gaming device. Team Alto lead Ryan Cash commented on the removal of Minecraft, bemused that Mojang and Microsoft completely axed the game as the Apple TV platform "continues to grow."

"If I were in charge of the game though, I think I'd really try to stay there. While the platform certainly isn't the biggest, it continues to grow, and it's a great way for certain types of audiences to experience gaming, often for their first time."

As of now, Apple's focus on the Apple TV is likely its upcoming string of exclusive television shows, which are rumored to be free to customers who own an Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad. Looking to the future, the successor to the Apple TV 4K isn't expected until 2019 or later, as Apple typically goes a few years in between generations of Apple TV, unlike its other products which get more consistent annual updates. Because of this, there have not been any solid rumors yet as to what features or improvements will be coming to the next Apple TV.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 14
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

Blacky Avatar
33 months ago
Apple didn't want Steam Link on their platform, so in my opinion that just makes them anti gaming. They take protectionism to the next level.

They have never even mentioned the steam link drama anymore.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jtrenthacker Avatar
33 months ago
At least change the remote. The current one is awful for everything.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
smaffei Avatar
33 months ago
Too little. Too late. Most people who want to play good games have a console (or more) already. PS4 / Xbox / Switch are cheap enough and readily available. Why spend money on a device that doesn't give you a top tier experience?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
apple_iBoy Avatar
33 months ago
No matter what era, the Apple TV has always been a product of undertapped potential. Ours is our main media source for the tv. We got rid of the fios box for Directv now, and Plex, Netflix and HBO apps have replaced the Blu-ray player. Apple TV could be our game box too (native, plus Steamlink) if they’d just take it a little more seriously.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aston441 Avatar
33 months ago
Apple carrying about what consumers and developers want?

L

O

L

They tell us what we want, because we don't even know what we want, right?

I think Jobs said something like that at some point, but Cook & Co have carried this to the extreme.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheFluffyDuck Avatar
33 months ago
1) Better Graphics APIs, 2) Better hardware.

We now have metal that's a nice touch, but considering DirectX came out in 1995. I think Apple has a long way before it takes those kinds of APIs seriously. We are unlikely to get better hardware until there is an administration change. 11 years ago I brought a MBP with a NVIDIA graphics card that was mere months old, and smoked many desktops. Now we buy MBPs with middling underclocked ATI cards, or worse intel integrated cards. RAM is always the bare minimum with Apple products, as is storage. The Deltas between Apple and other PC manufacturers have been getting worse for years now, as is price. Apple needs to stop trying to cut corners and make beasts again, at reasonable prices, not "grandma spec" at fashion accessory prices. THEN we can talk about gaming on Apple products.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

april 2021 event coverage feature

Apple Event Live Coverage: New iPads, AirTags, and More Expected [Event Over]

Tuesday April 20, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Spring Loaded" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut updated iPad models and perhaps some other hardware such as AirTags or iMac models based on Apple silicon. Apple is providing a live video stream on its website, on YouTube, and in the company's TV app across its platforms. We will also be updating this article with live blog...
m1 imac colors

Apple Announces Redesigned iMac With M1 Chip and Seven Color Options

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has announced a new, redesigned 24-inch iMac, featuring an M1 chip, a 4.5K display, and a range of color options, as well as an improved cooling system, front-facing camera, speaker system, microphones, power connector, and peripherals. The new iMac features a completely new compact design, and comes in a range of seven striking colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, purple,...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Launching iPhone 12 and 12 Mini in New Purple Color on April 30

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today announced that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in a new purple color starting April 30, with pre-orders starting this Friday. Apple is also releasing a new MagSafe Leather Case and Leather Sleeve in Deep Violet, a Silicone Case in Capri Blue, Pistachio, Cantaloupe, or Amethyst, and a Leather Wallet in Arizona, all available to order beginning today. iPhone...
14

Apple Says iOS 14.5 Will Be Released 'Next Week'

Tuesday April 20, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Apple today in a press release about its new AirTag item tracker announced that iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will be available starting "next week." iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are packed with new features, including the ability for iPhone users who are wearing an Apple Watch to unlock the iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask. iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will also be the minimum software versions...
ipad pro with m1 chip

Apple Introduces Next-Generation iPad Pro With M1 Chip, Thunderbolt, 5G, XDR Display, and More

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:40 am PDT by
Apple today announced the next-generation iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, Thunderbolt and USB4 support, 5G connectivity on cellular models with mmWave support in the United States, and more. With an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, Apple says the M1 chip in the new iPad Pro provides up to 50% faster performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to the A12Z Bionic chip ...
f1618938547

Apple Announces AirTag Tracking Devices Starting At $29 Each

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today announced AirTag, a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that's designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app. AirTags are accessories for attaching to backpacks, luggage, and other items. Any U1 device like the iPhone 12 can be used for precision finding to guide you right to the item you're looking...
Ports 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1 copy

Stolen MacBook Pro Schematics Confirm Apple's Plans to Add More Ports and Remove Touch Bar

Wednesday April 21, 2021 10:31 am PDT by
Schematics stolen from Apple supplier Quanta Computer outline Apple's plans for the next-generation MacBook Pro models that are expected in 2021, and clearly confirm plans for additional ports and a return to MagSafe. MacRumors saw the schematics after they were leaked online, and some of them feature the logic board of the next-generation MacBook Pro. On the right side of the machine,...
iPad Pro

New 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Will Be 0.5mm Thicker to Accommodate Mini-LED Display

Monday April 19, 2021 11:30 am PDT by
The upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be thicker than the previous-generation version, likely due to the inclusion of the mini-LED display. We've heard several rumors about the change in thickness, and now leaked design images have confirmed it. A source that designs accessories for Apple devices sent MacRumors a series of photos that feature exact dimensions for the new iPad Pro models, and...
iPad Pro Feature Orange

Wedbush Analysts Say 'Spring Loaded' Event Will Debut New iPads With 'Modest Price Increase,' Along With 'a Few Surprises'

Monday April 19, 2021 6:37 am PDT by
Apple is planning to launch a new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Pro at its "Spring Loaded" event tomorrow, along with "a few surprises," according to Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe explained that the iPad will be the main focus of Apple's "Spring Loaded" event, with new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and ...
maxresdefault

Apple Event 2021: Everything Apple Announced at Its 'Spring Loaded' Event in Just 6 Minutes

Tuesday April 20, 2021 4:23 pm PDT by
Apple today held its first event of 2021, and it was one of the most exciting events that we've seen in some time. Apple announced a whole slew of new products, including an M1 iMac, an M1 iPad Pro, a refreshed 4K Apple TV, and the long-awaited AirTags. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to introduce all of the new devices during its virtual...