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 Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

Blacky Avatar
41 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
41 months ago
At least change the remote. The current one is awful for everything.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
smaffei Avatar
41 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
41 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
41 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
41 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)

Related Stories

iphone holiday

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:58 am PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models in holidays past, and Black Friday 2021 is no different. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like iPhone SE. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you...
airpods family holiday

Best Black Friday AirPods Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:04 am PST by
Black Friday 2021 deals are still going strong, and we're tracking the best deals across Apple's AirPods lineup. Throughout the week we've been sharing the best sales for Apple devices like iPhone, Mac, and iPad, so be sure to follow us on Twitter for all of the latest Black Friday sales Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
apple mixed reality headset mockup feature purple

Kuo: Apple AR Headset Coming in Late 2022 With Mac-Level Computing Power

Thursday November 25, 2021 8:32 pm PST by
Apple's long-rumored augmented reality (AR) headset project is set to bear its first fruit late next year with the launch of the first device carrying a pair of processors to support its high-end capabilities, according to a new research report from noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors. According to Kuo, the higher-end main processor is said to be similar to the M1 chip Apple...
apple watch cellular holiday

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:55 am PST by
The Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, and for Black Friday 2021 we're tracking a few solid offers on numerous models of the Apple Watch. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on the new Apple Watch 7, but the best money-saving discounts will be found on older models like the Apple Watch Series 3 and SE. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner...
iPads black friday 20 sale feature

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:48 am PST by
Although Black Friday sales began as early as October in 2021, the shopping holiday is now officially underway and we're highlighting the best sales for each of Apple's product lines. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad Pro and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a...
mac family holiday

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:29 am PST by
Our Black Friday 2021 coverage continues with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, and Mac mini today. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
General black friday 20 sale feature

Huge List of Black Friday Deals on iPhone and Mac Cases, Cables, Accessories and Software

Friday November 26, 2021 5:09 am PST by
Black Friday is in full swing today, and in this article we're highlighting some of the best deals that you can find online among popular third-party accessory makers like Twelve South, Nomad, Satechi, and many more. Visit our Black Friday Roundup for a deeper dive into the best sales going on today. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
apple black friday shopping event 2021

Apple's Black Friday Promotion Now Underway in the U.S. and More Countries

Friday November 26, 2021 12:07 am PST by
Apple's annual four-day Black Friday through Cyber Monday shopping event is now underway in the United States and select other countries, with customers able to receive a free Apple gift card with the purchase of select products through November 29. Participating countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany,...