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Why is Apple seemingly stunting the Apple TV as a gaming console?

September 20th, 2015 at 12:00 PM
Apple TV Games

The soon to be released fourth-gen Apple TV undoubtedly represents Apple’s boldest play for the living room yet. In addition to a smattering of new TV oriented features, the Apple TV also doubles as a gaming console, complete with its own App Store and wireless Wii-esque remote.

Earlier last week, fans excited about the prospects of gaming on the Apple TV were dealt some bad news. As we highlighted just a few days ago, Apple is requiring that all games developed for the Apple TV must work with the Siri-based remote Apple is shipping with each device.

Not mincing words, Apple’s tvOS App Programming Guide says quite explicitly: “Your game must support the Apple TV remote. Your game may not require the use of a controller.”

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Understandably, when news of this requirement first surfaced, there was a collective sigh of disappointment from gamers. Apple’s stringent rule, after all, will necessarily prevent advanced and complex console level games from ever reaching the Apple TV.

So just what is Apple doing here? If gaming is such a huge component of the new Apple TV, why would Apple do anything to limit its appeal in that regard?

The answer likely boils down to a happy user base.

Consider an alternative scenario where a user pays good money for a game only to find out that they now need to spend even more money on an external controller in order to play it.

From there, you can cue up what would clearly be an endless stream of blogposts about how Apple is fleecing its users. What’s more, Apple would then find itself in the unenviable position of having to deal with and resolve innumerable customer service calls from users looking for refunds.

For a company that has long prided itself on products that “just work”, one can see why Apple opted to take a more consumer-friendly approach with Apple TV gaming. One can only hope, though, that Apple in the not-too-distant future will eventually allow developers to create games exclusively for more advanced controllers.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

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