Apple’s new Apple TV SDK could completely revolutionize home gaming; Sony and Microsoft should be very afraid

“On the list for many developers over the last few years has been an Apple TV SDK. After all the Apple TV runs a modified version of iOS, there aren’t a lot of arguments for why developers can’t create software for it,” Kyle Richter writes for Richter’s Rants. “While the Mac Pro, iOS 7, and OS X 10.9 were the talks of the show, Apple quietly gave us an Apple TV SDK and didn’t even tell anyone.”

“In reality Apple outsmarted us all, or at least me. The iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches we all have in our homes are the best controllers, but looking at an iPhone screen and trying to watch a TV set across the room is a non-starter,” Richter writes. “The whole point of a gaming console is to focus on the larger screen in your TV. Enter the new Game Controller framework. This move is so brilliant that it could completely revolutionize home gaming.”

Richter writes, “The most important problem is solved, tactile controllers for gaming. Apple has given control to third party hardware manufactures to design and deliver a multitude of game pads. These game controllers will all have unified input so they can work with any game that supports the framework.”

“Apple has also done something that should be keeping Microsoft and Sony up at night. Instead of building a bigger, faster, badder AppleTV they are offloading the processing power to iDevices,” Richter writes. “This allows Apple to keep the AppleTV price point at $99 and offloading the processing to the iPhone, that frankly, most of us already own. Using existing Airplay technology the AppleTV is poised to become the gaming console of 2013.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Joe” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
WWDC 2013: Now it looks like Apple’s going to take out the console market – June 14, 2013
Apple TV dominates digital media receiver market with 71% share – May 29, 2013


  1. Oh man, Apple is sneeeeaky! I hope this is all true and Sony & Microsoft once again caught with their pants down (happening a lot lately). Sure the hard core gamers will probably want consoles but many will be more than satisfied with this. Apple could also come out with a $299 much more powerful Apple TV that would put it’s power on par with the best consoles.

    1. You are still not getting it. The i devices have all the power and the storage. The ATV is just a wireless display driver.

      If you already have an A7 processor in your hands why duplicate the hardware unnecessarily.

      Multi-player games should be even better. Plus you can walk over to your buddy’s house and just drag the i-device, not the whole console!

    2. Hard core gamers need “super computers” with leading edge graphics cards. That is a niche market.

      Take the majority market, which are average gamers not interested in specialty equipment or high dollar equipment. Apple could easily own a big part of this market segment by doing nothing more than providing good APIs and a solid SDK.

        1. Easy – they understand the custom setup better (CPU/GPU/memory), so the games get better.

          The Original Xbox was a PC – it was about moving PC hardware into the console space, and landing Direct X a foothold in the living room (MS’ proprietary language) – So we got the Direct X Box.

          The 360 basically said “screw that.” They moved to a custom RISC processor that looked like a Powermac G5. It was a special chip, a new GPU, and a new SDK that everyone got with a Powermac G5 to run it. All of the games, code, everything needed to be rewritten. so the launch titles were okay, but the later titles could take advantage of the hardware better by understanding it and coding JUST FOR IT – all the tweaks, tricks, backdoor hacks could be used to make it work faster/better.stronger. Programmers understood it very well, so they could write for it well.

          now with the One, it’s back to PC hardware, for both sides. But theyre are still tricks to learn, and bugs and quirks to understand – writing for 1 machine (or CPU) means to get better performance, you have to optimize and understand all of it.

          Apple couldn’t port System 6? to almost any newer mac becuse it was written entirely for the processor in the Original Mac. it was full of special code tricks just for it ( the earlier 68K CPUs) that crashed on the newer CPUs.

          The same thing occurs for the console platforms – all of the disc based ones. The carts actually contained chips, so you could add memory or an FPU, literlly change the hardware. the Disc ones cannot – so you are stuck with the setup you have – and you write your code to take advantage of it little by little as you learn the quirks and straight up errors and weirdness of the hardware – at the expense of code portability.

          Apple’s SDK tries to amelorate these issues, as it has to develop for multiple pieces of hardware at multiple resolutions, but there are still tricks to learn, and the complier is probably full of exceptions and tweaks that it inserts into the code to make it work for a specific A series CPU *on top of* the tweaks people put into the objective C.

    1. What are you, an idiot?

      3DS is selling like hotcakes moron

      Its sales are running neck and neck with how the DS was selling at this point.

      Even the rise of Mobile gaming hasn’t stopped Nintendo’s handheld market.

      Plus Nintendo has billions in Cash

      Nintendo is in the best position of any of the game makers, they dominate handhelds and have a strong financial position.

  2. Is Kyle Richter credible? Can anyone varify that the Apple TV SDK exists? This seems way too big for everyone in the world to have overlooked until nine days later, except for one blogger.

    Hope it’s true, but I’d like some corroboration.

    1. He’s saying the controller API allows you to play / make appleTV games using the iPhone AirPlay / iPhone SDK.

      There is still no AppleTV SDK 🙁 🙁 🙁

      An AppleTV SDK would actually help iOS dominate against android in many ways. But Apple is holding off for their full tv I’m afraid 🙁

    2. There doesn’t need to be a separate SDK for the Apple TV. The iOS SDK as announced has everything a develop needs except the option to specify the target platform as iPad/iPhone/Universal will need and extra option “Apple TV”. Also, with respect to multiplayer games, it might be possible to use multiple game controllers with an AppleTV so it wouldn’t be necessary to own another iDevice

  3. Apple should up their game, pun intended, with a new much beefier ATV console w/a mini display port. Keeping the ATV3 for everyone else. Price it around $149-199 or less & it’ll fly off the shelves! ARM is the new kid in town going for a shot at the top of the new console mountain! Apples new ATV console outsells the new PS4 & Xbox 1 10 to 1! Lol 😉

  4. Game titles will be the key. Apple will need to get major game series in hand, but that shouldn’t be too difficult, especially since it means the end of physical game media, no more dealing with Walmart, and since developers are moving games to online multiplayer anyway, this fits right in with Apple’s model.

  5. There are several good news for Apple today from MacBook Air’s battery, Apple TV SDK, iPad for LA’s public schools. Hopefully, it would help AAPL turns the corner going upward soon.


    Valve’s Gabe Newell has stated on several occasions that he’s not afraid of Sony or Microsoft or Nintendo — what keeps him awake at night is the thought of an Apple TV with an App Store.

    “The biggest challenge, I don’t think is from the consoles,” Newell said at a talk at the University of Texas in January 2013. “I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together.”

  7. Its going to work for some games and I can see some great content showing up for it but it sounds messy as a straight console competitor.

    What about something like a 4 player game? Am I going to need an iDevice, controllers an aTV?

    If I already have an iDevice then the pricing likely won’t be bad. If I want a total setup starting from zero then its a different story.

    I’m going to keep an open mind but this sounds like the makings of the exact reason I dumped PC gaming years ago – mixed hardware and controllers have never delivered the best gaming experience.

  8. The game controller APIs solve one problem. But, without an SDK and storage capacity, games directly on the AppleTV simply won’t work as a standalone solution.

    The next best solution is use the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad mini to store game files and data. Then you can synch a controller to the iOS device and play games via AirPlay over a hopefully less laggy 802.11 AC.

    Of course, they could always open AppleTV to streamed gaming services like On Live.

  9. Game controller sdk, Sprite Kit sdk, push toward autolayout for UIKit… There are definitely new aspect ratios in the works, one of them probably being tv size… (HD or 4k, or whatever….) Good time to be a developer…

    1. How about just ill-conceived conclusions? The game controller API is important, but it doesn’t do anything to the AppleTV per se. That’s just not what AirPlay is about (today?). But I will continue to beat the drum of “the games must play on the AppleTV: it has AC power!” Can you imagine intense game play, running on an iPad AirPlayed to the HDTV, and the iPad runs out of battery power? Dead idea.

  10. Dream #1. Playing all the Super NES, Sega, NES, Atari games on my iphone and not have thumbs in my way with a game controller strapped around the outer shell.
    Dream #2. Being able to look at a screen instead of a small 4 inch screen!
    Dream #3. Then being able to play the new games that are much more graphic intensive and possibly carry multiplayer outfits…..such as call of duty (and yes the controllers are going to have enough buttons to play that game)

    I am only saying this to make sure everyone who reads this article understands the full weight of what could be in the not to distant future.

  11. Last time I checked, the person wants their eyes glued to the same interface that they are operating with their hands.
    Another words staring at an iPhone whose input is intended for a large screen, but I’m staring at my small screen would be silly.
    iPads maybe but If everyone’s eyes are glued to their own iPad as they play this game, who is it looking at the AppleTV? It doesn’t make sense to me.

    1. Apparently you have never played a game on a PC or console, you don’t look at the controller you look at the TV. Thats why this is such a big deal, because you don’t have to stare at an iPhone anymore

  12. I pointed out on the day that it was released that the new stripped-down iPod touch looks to be optimised to be a controller for devices like Apple TV. If you don’t already have an iPhone or iPad, the iPod touch is the cheapest way to get a touch controller.

    Apple is doing what it always does. Quietly putting the pieces into place before revealing the bigger picture where all the pieces join up.

  13. It’s a nice dream, but no one outside of the Apple community has ever considered Apple becoming a force in the gaming industry. Just because one seed has been planted it certainly doesn’t mean a whole forest will grow from it. Apple will have a small tree in that forest, but that’s about it. Apple is unlikely to become a force overnight as the big three console makers have been around for years and they likely have loyal followers.

    Gran Turismo X and Forza Racing can’t easily be replaced by some little racing game running on an iPad connected to a hardware crippled AppleTV. There’s no way you can hook up a Fanatec steering wheel and pedals to an iPad. Developers are not going to give up on the big consoles because there’s so much money to be made on those platforms. I’m sure Apple will siphon off a few gamers, but Apple doesn’t seem to be a company committed to dominate anything. They’re not desperate enough and seem to treat everything they do in a nonchalant manner. Microsoft and Sony will sink billions of dollars into their consoles if they have to. Apple won’t. I think it’s nice to hear Apple is making a tiny effort to support some casual gamers and controller developers, but anything more than that is really just a pipe dream. And to Wall Street and the gaming industry at large, Apple’s minuscule efforts will go entirely unnoticed.

    1. Except for everyone you mean?

      From one of the biggest names in gaming:

      “The biggest challenge, I don’t think is from the consoles,” Newell said at a talk at the University of Texas in January 2013. “I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together.”

      Apple already has the largest and most popular gaming platform in the world.

    2. Sounds similar to sentiments flying around 2007. The start of your comment could have easily fit in back then with regards to the iPhone with some minor adjustments:

      “It’s a nice dream, but no one outside of the Apple community has ever considered Apple becoming a force in the mobile phone industry. Just because one seed has been planted it certainly doesn’t mean a whole forest will grow from it. Apple will have a small tree in that forest, but that’s about it. Apple is unlikely to become a force overnight as the big mobile phone makers have been around for years and they likely have loyal followers.”

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