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Apple TV games can require a gamepad instead of the touch remote

Since launch the new Apple TV has required that developers support the touch remote and make traditional gamepads optional. That's about to change.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For most owners of Apple TV, the box's first job is serving up video from iTunes, Netflix, Watch ESPN and the rest, on the biggest screen in the house. But it also plays games.

In fact Apple TV's app store boasts hundreds of games, most of which were first developed for the iPhone and iPad. Currently all of them, even the most complex, are required to support the box's included touchpad Siri remote as a controller. Game developers can choose to support a traditional controller as well -- the Apple TV is compatible with several -- but support for the Siri remote has always been a requirement.

Now Apple has dropped that requirement. Starting this summer, Apple TV games will start appearing that require a controller to play.

An Apple spokesperson told CNET that while support for the remote is still "highly recommended," it's no longer necessary. He declined to mention any specific titles that require a controller and not the remote, however.

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Apple TV's remote next to third-party Steelseries Nimbus gamepad.

Sarah Tew


As we pointed out earlier, dropping the remote-support requirement is a welcome change for more complex games like those found on systems like Xbox and PlayStation. Some games -- like ports of PC or console games -- might not be easy to map onto the remote, and in our play testing we found that most games were more responsive and easier to play with a controller. Dropping this requirement could bring better games to Apple TV.