Apple Gaming Controller Arrives in Unexpected Way

Apple has long been rumored to be developing on a gaming controller, and at WWDC this month, a form of Apple's gaming controller appears to have emerged, albeit not quite in the way that some users had hoped for.

apple virtual game controller ios 15
Apple has clearly expanded its interest in gaming controllers over the past year, integrating full support for even the latest Xbox and PlayStation controllers into iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS, and the company now sells a number of third-party controllers online and in its retail locations.

Apple is rumored to be working on its own gaming controller. Last year, the reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" claimed that Apple was designing its own gaming controller and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said that Apple was working on a new Apple TV model with a stronger gaming focus. Similarly, the leaker known as "Fudge" said that Apple was developing a gaming-focused ‌Apple TV‌ with a more powerful "A14X" chip and a controller.

It is unclear where these rumors now stand given the recent launch of the second-generation Apple TV 4K. Even so, the new ‌Apple TV‌ seemed to take a step back in terms of gaming with its older A12 Bionic processor and the redesigned Siri Remote, which lacks the accelerometer and gyroscope present in its predecessor, so there is still certainly room for a gaming-focused ‌Apple TV‌.

At this year's WWDC, during the Platforms State of the Union, Apple unveiled a new API for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 that enables developers to implement a standardized on-screen virtual game controller in their iPhone and iPad games with just a few lines of code. While this is not the physical gaming controller that some were hoping for, it does perhaps add to the case that Apple is working on such a product.

While many ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ games already offer on-screen controls, Apple's new virtual game controller is available to all developers, easy to add, and can be customized on a per-game basis. Apple said the on-screen controller can be adjusted to a variety of layouts, with up to four buttons and a thumbstick, d-pad, or touchpad available per left and right side.

"These new on-screen controls for ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ look amazing, and they're carefully tuned for grip locations across hand sizes and for a great responsiveness and feel," said Nat Brown, an Apple engineer working on Game Technologies.

Given the fact that the company has stepped up its support for gaming controllers, and offers an increasing amount of mobile gaming through the App Store and Apple Arcade, it does not seem unlikely that Apple could turn its new virtual controller into a physical accessory.

Apple offers a WWDC session and developer documentation with more details about its on-screen controller.

Top Stories

apple virtual game controller ios 15

Apple Makes New On-Screen Game Controller Available to Developers on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15

Saturday June 12, 2021 12:36 pm PDT by
During the Platforms State of the Union at WWDC this week, Apple unveiled a new API for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 that enables developers to implement an on-screen virtual game controller in their iPhone and iPad games with just a few lines of code. While many iPhone and iPad games already offer on-screen controls, Apple's new virtual game controller is available to all developers, easy to add,...
nintendo switch

Sketchy Rumor Claims Apple Developing Nintendo Switch-Style Gaming Console

Tuesday May 11, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple is working on a Nintendo Switch-style handheld games console, according to a sketchy new rumor coming from Asia. According to a post on a Korean forum, shared by Twitter user @FrontTron, Apple is developing a portable hybrid games console, comparable to the Nintendo Switch. While the sourcing of the rumor is suspect, it has gained some visibility in larger news outlets over the past...
appstore

Kids and Teens in China Banned From Playing Online Video Games for More Than 3 Hours Per Week

Monday August 30, 2021 4:38 pm PDT by
China is implementing a new online gaming restriction that will affect children and teenagers who are under 18 years old, reports CNBC. Kids will only be able to play online games for an hour a day (8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) on weekends and legal holidays. Weekday gaming is prohibited. Companies that provide online game services to minors will need to comply with these rules and will not be...
ps5 controller apple online store

Apple Begins Selling PS5 DualSense Controller After Compatibility With iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac Added

Friday May 21, 2021 6:26 am PDT by
Apple recently started selling the white PS5 DualSense wireless game controller through its online store, with pricing consistent with Sony at $69.95. Orders placed today are estimated to be delivered next week in the United States. iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, tvOS 14.5, and macOS 11.3 software updates released last month added support for PS5 and Xbox Series X controllers on the iPhone, iPad,...
castlevania grimoire of souls

Konami Releasing 'Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls' on Apple Arcade

Friday August 13, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple Arcade recently surpassed 200 games available on the service, and several new titles are coming soon, including Tetris Beat, Baldo, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Layton's Mystery Journey, Zen Pinball Party, Zookeeper World, MasterChef: Let's Cook, and more. Another game can be added to the list, as Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls from well-known Japanese company Konami is set to launch...
apple arcade asphalt 8

Two New Games Coming to Apple Arcade, Including Gameloft's Racing Classic 'Asphalt 8: Airborne'

Tuesday July 27, 2021 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today announced two games that are coming soon to Apple Arcade, including the classic racing game "Asphalt 8: Airborne" from Gameloft and a new Zelda-inspired roleplaying game "Baldo" from Italian game studio NAPS team. Originally released on the App Store in 2013, "Asphalt 8: Airborne" is coming to Apple Arcade, but no specific release date has been announced. The popular racing game...
apple tv 4k design

New Siri Remote Lacks Accelerometer and Gyroscope for Gaming on Apple TV

Thursday April 22, 2021 3:48 pm PDT by
The new Apple TV 4K unveiled this week ships with a redesigned Siri Remote with a physical clickpad, new power and mute buttons for a TV, and a repositioned Siri button, but there's another change that has gone less noticed. According to Digital Trends, the new Siri Remote lacks an accelerometer and gyroscope, which allowed the original Siri Remote to function as a gaming controller. Apple...
Netflix

Netflix to Take on Apple Arcade With Mobile Games for Subscribers

Tuesday July 20, 2021 1:32 pm PDT by
Netflix today confirmed that it is planning to expand on its TV movie offerings with a new gaming offering. During the company's second quarter earnings report (via CNET), Netflix said that gaming is "another new content category," similar to its expansion into original films, animation, and unscripted TV. Netflix plans to focus primarily on games that are designed for mobile devices, with...
applearcade

This Month on Apple Arcade: 'Legends of Kingdom Rush,' 'Game Dev Story+,' 'Frenzic: Overtime,' 'INKS.+,' and 'Leo's Fortune+'

Friday June 25, 2021 8:45 am PDT by
This month, "Legends of Kingdom Rush," "Game Dev Story+," "Frenzic: Overtime," "INKS.+," and "Leo's Fortune+" arrived on Apple Arcade, joining the expanding library of almost 200 games already on Apple's exclusive-based mobile gaming subscription service. While there were no new games in May, in April, Apple Arcade gained over 30 games, including a large number of classic titles such as "Cut ...
mobile gaming clip magsafe

OtterBox Launches MagSafe-Compatible Mobile Gaming Clip

Tuesday August 3, 2021 3:02 pm PDT by
OtterBox today expanded on its gaming accessory offerings with the launch of the Mobile Gaming Clip for MagSafe, which is designed to work with the iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max. Priced at $40, the Mobile Gaming Clip attaches to an Xbox controller using a fitted clip and holds an iPhone with the magnetic mount. It can be used when playing an iPhone game with an Xbox controller,...