Apple expands tvOS gaming with PS4, Xbox One S controller support


Enlarge / Controller not shown to scale.

At the 2019 WWDC keynote today, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the company is expanding Apple TV controller support to include “two of the best and most popular game controllers available, Xbox One S and PlayStation DualShock 4” with the next tvOS update. Note that this expansion does not include original Xbox One control pads that shipped with the 2013 version of the system—only the Bluetooth-equipped controller update that premiered alongside Microsoft’s One S update in 2016 will work with Apple TV.

The announcement, which drew large and sustained applause in the presentation hall, comes nearly four years after Apple’s second-generation Apple TV became the company’s first foray into TV-based gaming since the ill-fated Pippin. At launch, Apple TV games were required to support the hardware’s touchpad-focused, tilt-sensitive remote, and those games could optionally support any number of MFi controllers already designed for mobile iOS hardware. While Apple reversed that decision in mid-2016 to allow for MFi-exclusive games, Apple TV game developers continue to complain about the fragmented control landscape on Apple’s set-top box.

Apple TV currently plays host to thousands of games, including many noteworthy “Universal” ports of titles originally designed for mobile iOS platforms. But some big-budget attempts to bring console-style gaming to the hardware have failed—Guitar Hero Live, Disney Infinity, and Minecraft are just a few of the franchises that have aborted attempts at Apple TV support in the last few years.

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