The new Apple TV was announced last week, and, along with it, support for an App Store and access to games that can be played right on the set-top box.
However, based on new information found by developer Dustin Westphal and reported on by Touch Arcade, Apple’s programming guide for apps articulates that games developed in tvOS (for the new Apple TV) have to support the Apple TV’s standard remote as a main input device. At the same time, a game controller is not required for use:
“Your game must support the Apple TV remote. Your game may not require the use of a controller.”
For developers, this means that they’ll have to build their game with the Apple TV’s remote at the forefront of game input, even if their game has a complicated control scheme. What’s more, that game controller, even if supported, can’t be the primary input method for any particular game running on tvOS.
As the original report points out, this could cause some issues for developers:
“There will be games that will have control schemes that are too complicated for the remote, for sure. What if Apple rejects apps that feature terrible controls for the remote, designed only to achieve the bare minimum functionality? Or developers with complicated controls decide to skip making their app compatible with the Apple TV because it won’t be worth it? Ideally, we don’t want to get to a point where games aren’t coming to the Apple TV, or being actively rejected, because they won’t fit the remote.”
Interestingly enough, at some point in the past it looks like Apple did plan on making game controllers a requirement for some games, but it would appear that Apple changed its mind at some point before the public unveiling of the new Apple TV.