tvOS 10 turns Apple TV into a more serious gaming console

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apple tv and siri remote
Apple TV games are no longer required to use Siri Remote.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

You won’t be forced to use Apple’s teeny tiny Siri Remote to play games on Apple TV much longer.

Apple is turning its little black box into a more serious gaming console with tvOS 10 by giving developers the ability to require a third-party controller for games.

The new Siri Remote is undeniably sleek and more useful than ever, but I’ve found it to be infuriating to use with games on Apple TV. Allowing developers to add more complex controls will open the platform to more serious gameplay option that Jony Ive’s patented simplicity initially stripped away.

By no longer requiring all games to support Siri Remote, developers can focus on creating a console-like gameplay experience for the Apple TV. Many iOS games already support third-party controllers as an option. Allowing them to be mandatory for Apple TV means devs can ignore the touch component completely.

You won’t have to worry about being force to buy a specific controller just for one game because Apple has already specified the look and behavior of the controls to accessory manufacturers:

All Apple TV game controllers have to look like this.
All Apple TV game controllers have to look like this.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s new support documentation notes that third-party controllers must still by optional for iOS and macOS games. tvOS games are the only ones that can require a MFi game controller, but Apple encourages developers to support Siri Remote when possible.

The change won’t likely turn the Apple TV into a rival of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One — both companies just announced updates for their boxes — thanks to its processing power. However it does give it another weapon against Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku players.

Apple released the first beta build of tvOS 10 to developers yesterday along with iOS 10, macOS Sierra and watchOS 3. All four new platforms will be available to the public as free updates this fall.