Apple now says games on the Apple TV can not require an external controller

Apple TV
Credit: Apple

Last week Apple announced a new version of the Apple TV. In addition to being a box meant for streaming media, there was a lot of talk about the app store and how the system can be used to play games. The included remote supports motion controls and you can pair a MFi game controller with the system. In fact some pundits suggested that Sony and Microsoft should be concerned that the Apple TV was going to cut into traditional console sales.

I had some doubts that this would be the case and now there's new info that makes the Apple TV even less viable as a traditional console gaming platform.

As uncovered by TouchArcade, Apple has stated that every game must support the remote that is included with the Apple TV and that no game may require the use of an external controller. That means that every game on the system has to be simple enough that you can control it using a combination of the remote's touchpad, motion controls and possibly the Play/Pause button.

This is going to severely limit the kinds of games that you can play on the device. Even games that use virtual gamepads are out, as far as I can imagine, since of course there's no display to indicate where virtual controls are on the remote's touchpad.

The one big caveat here is that the TouchArcade post includes a tweet from last week that shows this is a recent change. As of September 9th you could require an external controller. Only Apple knows why they made this (in my opinion ill-advised) change, but maybe they'll change it back. It seems like a silly requirement that is really going to hinder gaming on the Apple TV.

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