Games apple tv gaming

Published on February 23rd, 2018 | by Kirk Hiner


Is Apple ready to embrace Apple TV gaming?

We recently ran an opinion piece about how Apple is willingly ignoring a significant opportunity with Apple TV gaming. Although the Apple TV is a pretty slick and deceptively powerful gaming platform, Apple does little to promote or support it.

A report earlier this week at Patently Apple hints to the contrary. Initially brought to our attention by Tom’s Guide, the Patently Apple report states that “… Apple has updated their Apple TV logo trademark by adding all things related to gaming.” And what does that mean? Specifically “video game consoles; controllers for game consoles; video output games, namely, video output game machines for use with televisions; apparatus for electronic games adapted for use with an external display screen or monitor.”

Patently Apple correctly points out that legal trademark filings often mean nothing. They could be filing just to protect the trademark, they could have plans that never come to fruition, and they could be working on something as futile as the Pippin.

apple pippin

There are, however, reasons to hope Apple TV gaming could grow into something larger.

Apple is making a big pushing to streaming video, announcing a slew of new TV shows such as Are You Sleeping?, Home and an Amazing Stories reboot. That’s all well and good, but it does little to separate the Apple TV from competing (and less expensive) products from Roku and Amazon. What does separate it are the hardware and the vast catalog of iOS games and apps that can be somewhat easily ported to tvOS. Because these games and apps are usually universal purchases, anyone who buys an Apple TV immediately gets access to a complete library of games that have been purchased/downloaded for iOS, many of which look and play better on the larger TV screen.

Of course, the sticking point is the Siri Remote. It’s not meant to be a game pad, and works only with the most rudimentary of gaming control systems. It’s fine for casual games such as Jetpack Joyride, but if you want to play Oceanhorn you’ll be better off with a wireless gamepad.


Third-party devices such as the SteelSeries Nimbus are fantastic options, but developers can’t count on Apple TV users owning such a device when determining if they should port their game to tvOS. If Apple were to openly embrace gaming—and perhaps even offer an Apple TV package with a MFi controller bundled—that would do a lot to improve game developer support.

Patently Apple theorizes that Apple could eventually challenge Xbox and PS4 gaming, but we don’t feel that’s the way to go. Positioning Apple TV as an option for hardcore gamers would be a very tough sell considering their biases, and Apple wouldn’t want to get into a technology war in that regard. Rather, they would have more success selling the Apple TV like the Nintendo Switch. Because the gaming controller would be compatible with both the iPhone and the Apple TV, you could play your games on the go with your iPhone or iPad, then get a console experience through the Apple TV when you’re home.

Will any of this actually happen? We tend to doubt it. But Apple has surprised us before, and if they’re fully dedicated to the Apple TV, embracing gaming is a way to get the device in front of a large number of iPhone users.

I wonder if Reese Witherspoon has any games under development?

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About the Author

Kirk has been writing for the Apple web since 1997, having served as editor of Applelinks and the Technology Tell Apple Channel. He is also currently editor-in-chief of Public Access Gaming. Kirk lives with his wife and three children in small-town Ohio where the land is cheap and the air is (relatively) clean.

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