And with that little bombshell, dropped onstage by Apple CEO Tim Cook at yesterday’s WWDC 2019 keynote, the puzzle pieces continue to fall into place for Apple Arcade.
Just over two years ago, prior to WWDC 2017, I asked developers what they would like to see announced for Apple TV in relation to gaming, and the common thread was an Apple-designed controller.
Two years on, following yesterday’s announcement, those developers didn’t quite get what they wanted, but maybe they got what they needed.
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While there are some excellent Apple TV-compatible controllers available (I absolutely love the battery life of my Steel Series Nimbus, that thing goes forever), Sony and Microsoft have been perfecting gamepads for decades. Apple may be masters of design, but adding support for these already existing high-quality controllers, means many gamers will already be adequately equipped with a controller they know and love when Apple Arcade releases later this year. One less barrier to entry.
No real mystery about the timing.
The tvOS update that will usher in support for these controllers is set to hit “this fall,” which I would say will be mid- to late-September, coinciding of course with the release of Apple Arcade, also promised “this Fall.”
Following the recent release of Valve’s Steam Link app, which enabled the streaming of games purchased through Steam from PC or Mac to Apple TV, I wrote that “it’s becoming increasingly hard to argue that Apple isn’t getting serious about games.” Yesterday’s announcement of upcoming PS4 and Xbox One controller support has clearly strengthened Apple’s positioning of Apple TV as a viable place to play.
For those playing catch-up, here’s everything ATVG knows about Apple Arcade so far, including a list of known games for the service.
I was hoping for some more Apple Arcade game reveals during yesterday’s keynote, but sadly that was not to be. Oceanhorn 2 still seems to be the current flagship title for the service, getting an onstage mention by Apple CEO Tim Cook with some gameplay footage running in the background. It looks like a worthy flagship too, a very traditional video game-ish video game, which is exactly what Apple Arcade needs if it hopes to garner subscribers. (You can also catch up with everything ATVG knows about Oceanhorn 2 by starting at this most recent article and following the breadcrumbs back).
Interestingly, and on a very speculative note, Gameloft’s racer Asphalt 9: Legends was one of this year’s Apple Design Award recipients, and is listed as one of the studios to be supplying a game for Apple Arcade, although that game has not yet been announced.
Asphalt 9 is currently free-to-play with in-app-purchases, and Apple Arcade games will all be completely playable with no IAPs. Sooo… with the growing momentum of Apple TV gaming heading towards the release of Apple Arcade, and a recent design award under Gameloft’s belt, is it possible that Gameloft might bring a new version of Asphalt 9 to Apple Arcade minus the IAPs?
Or am I just a wishful thinker, and really bad at maths, given that 2+2=5?
If you’re new to The Apple TV Gaming Blog (ATVG), or just new to Apple TV gaming in general, or both, then the best place to get acquainted is our Best Apple TV Games of 2019 article. You’ll find a great collection of games to play, and a bunch of useful links to our previous site content. Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.