Apple hits restart on game controller support

Apple Arcade
Apple Arcade

John Voorhees for MacStories:

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly six years since Apple added game controller support to iOS. The big news at WWDC in 2013 was the iOS 7 redesign, but for game developers, it was rivaled by the announcement that third-party Made For iPhone (MFi) controllers were coming…

I was right there with them. iOS devices couldn’t match the power of a traditional console in 2013, but you could see that they were on a trajectory to get there. With the addition of controller support, Apple felt poised to make a meaningful run at incumbents like Sony and Microsoft.

It didn’t work out that way though.

The latest cause for optimism is Apple’s announcement at WWDC this past June that iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and macOS would all support the Sony DualShock 4 and Bluetooth-based Xbox controllers when Apple’s OSes are updated this fall… There are a couple reasons that lead me to believe this time things could be different. The biggest reason is simple: millions of people already own Sony and Microsoft controllers. On top of that, Sony and Microsoft make well-designed, high-quality controllers. Gamers have their preferences between the two, but the build quality of each is undeniable and surpasses existing MFi controllers.

MacDailyNews Take: This time, driven by Apple Arcade, Apple TV and tvOS developers will finally take gaming seriously!


  1. Apple failed badly here. It’s refusal to allow a ‘premium’ section of the AppStore meant that expensive games which cost upwards of $50 on a console jostled with 99c apps.

    The result was the destruction of real game development in comparison with consoles and the bacterial spread of in-app spending on gems, fruits, tokens etc.

    The iPad and AppleTV could have been a really good gaming system – titles such as Infinity Blade really showed what was possible. That has all gone. Nintendo has never been higher and serious, independent game development takes place for the PlayStation and Xbox.

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