Games sky

Published on February 2nd, 2018 | by Kirk Hiner


Opinion: Still no support from Apple for Apple TV gamers

One of the best features of Apple TV — and one that really has no rival — is the device’s connection to the App Store. Apps you’ve purchased for your iOS device can be delivered to tvOS if the developer is willing to support it. This means that any game you’ve bought for your iPhone has the potential of being played on your Apple TV, and you won’t have to pay extra for it.

It’s a great connection or would be if Apple bothered to support it. Their strategy with the Siri Remote makes touchscreen adaptation all but impossible, greatly limiting the number of games that can be ported. That makes sense, as the creation of a touchscreen remote for Apple TV would be excessive and expensive.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Apple should ignore the gaming community, as is their way. So many games look and play better on a TV than on the tiny iPhone screen if the controls are compatible or the game supports a third-party wireless gamepad. Games such as Oceanhorn, RPGolf, and Heroki were easily abandoned on my iPad, only to be played to completion (and greatly enjoyed) on the Apple TV.

It’s not just that Apple gives the Apple TV no love, it’s that they completely ignore it. If you pull up an app preview in your web browser, you’re met with the following declaration:

App Store Preview

That’s misleading to customers and harmful to the developers, as this message appears even if the app is available for Apple TV. Do you think Apple TV owners who get this search result is going to scroll down the page to the buried mention of tvOS compatibility?

Even worse, in the App Store app itself, there is no Apple TV category. You can’t even filter search results for tvOS only. Instead, you have to search for apps in general and then hope there’s an Apple TV version (provided you’re not already turned off by the Amazon-like ads Apple now throws in your face when you first launch the app).

Of course, this has been an issue from the moment Apple first connected iOS and tvOS. So why get upset about it now? Because of an article I read over at MacRumors yesterday (hi, guys). They covered an IGN interview with thatgamecompany co-founder Jenova Chen about the unique payment system in their forthcoming game Sky. Do you remember that one? Apple fawned over it at their iPhone X event back in September. It’s coming to iOS and tvOS in March, but Chen knows gamers probably aren’t aware of it because Apple showed it off during the Apple TV portion of the keynote. As Chen stated, gamers “… just fast forwarded the whole Apple TV part to just watch the end and look at the iPhone X.”

Why would they do that? Because gamers don’t care about the Apple TV. And why do they not care? Because Apple doesn’t care about them.

Listen, I’m not saying anyone would ever buy an Apple TV specifically to play games on it. I’ve spent hours in lines outside of GameStop in the freezing chill of Ohio winter nights for Nintendo system releases, and you’d never catch me doing that so I could be the first to get my hands on Jetpack Joyride. But if a gamer is debating between Apple TV and the other (much cheaper and more popular) streaming devices, a working knowledge of and easy access to the tvOS gaming library could easily tip the scale.

At the least, it would be nice if they didn’t feel the need to skip the Apple TV portion of Apple’s keynotes. That’s kind of ironic, anyway, since it’s only on those stages that Apple acknowledges that games and game developers exist.

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About the Author

has been writing for the Apple web since 1997, having served as editor of Applelinks and the Technology Tell Apple Channel. In addition to his work with BEST Apple TV, Kirk currently contributes to Mac Gamer HQ and Pure Nintendo. He 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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