Published on November 30th, 2017 | by Kirk Hiner0
Will Nintendo ever offer support for Apple TV?
The short answer, of course, is no.
With the recent release of Animal Crossing: Pocket Edition for mobile devices, Nintendo Co., Ltd., now has three rather fantastic games you can play on the iPhone and iPad. Their announcement that they’d be supporting something other than Nintendo hardware was initially met with consternation from the Nintendo faithful, but the company has delivered titles that are perfectly suited for mobile gaming without detracting from the company’s IPs (as if they ever would have).
Sadly, none of them are optimized for tvOS, and it’s unlikely they would be. Nintendo has no hardware to compete with the iPhone and iPad, so they’re not shooting themselves in the foot by moving their beloved titles to those devices. On the contrary, they’re creating new fans of casual gamers who may try out Animal Crossing and decide to dig deeper into the franchise, resulting in the purchase of a Nintendo 3DS or a Switch (eventually, one assumes).
Playing games on your television, however, is well covered by the Switch or Wii U, so there’s no need for Nintendo to help you play on your Apple TV. Two of their iOS titles—Fire Emblem Heroes and the aforementioned Animal Crossing: Pocket Edition—wouldn’t work anyway, as their control schemes require you to see where you’re tapping/swiping. A tvOS port would need too much of an overhaul to make it worthwhile.
The gameplay in Super Mario Run, on the other hand, is perfectly suited for Apple TV. The simple one-tap controls (Mario moves on his own, you just tap to jump) could be easily handled with either the Siri Remote or your iPhone running the Apple TV Remote app. In fact, Super Mario Run is one of the few games that wouldn’t be enhanced with a MFi gamepad; kind of ironic, considering the source. Presentation is an issue, however, as the game is displayed vertically on the iPhone and iPad. Nintendo would need to reconfigure that for your widescreen TV.
Unfortunately, then, the only way Nintendo could logically get games on the Apple TV would be to set up a sort of iOS/tvOS virtual console of previous titles. SEGA has taken this approach with their SEGA Forever titles, including a few Sonic games that do have tvOS versions.
The popularity of Nintendo’s catalog would likely pull in purchses even from those who are still reluctant to pay for mobile games. However, the company seems content to make these legacy titles available only on Nintendo devices through their eShop or through their impossible-to-find hardware flashback systems.
So, at least for now, you’re going to need a Nintendo or iOS/Android device if you want to enjoy some quality gaming time with Mario, Nephenee or Filbert. It seems Nintendo would rather create new titles specifically for mobile devices than to port old games, and I respect them for that. Will this always be the case? Well, we once thought Mario on your iPhone was an impossibility, so never say never.