Updated May 2021: This story has been updated to include the newly added compatibility for the PlayStation 5 DualSense and Xbox Series S and X controllers. Compatibility for these came to tvOS recently via the 14.5 update. The information over the page has been updated accordingly, and the links to Apple’s pages remain current.
Original Story from September 2019:
Love that artwork Apple.
The gaming party is in full swing at the moment on Apple TV, thanks to tvOS 13 arriving a week early, and bringing Apple Arcade along with it.
With dozens and dozens of games to choose from, it can be a bit daunting at first deciding what to try first, and if you need help choosing, then let ATVG help carry your burden and head on over here to find out which four games I played first. Feel free to follow in my footsteps, my first night of Apple Arcade gaming on Apple TV was a cracker.
It seems there’s at least one of almost every genre to choose from on Apple Arcade, with more on the way, and many classic genres such as 2d fighters and kart racers really shine with local multiplayer. With this in mind, and also prompted by a long time reader’s recent question, I though why not take a look at just what you can connect to your Apple TV, and how many.
The results over the page might surprise you, and help you to realise that you actually own a very capable gaming console.
Ah, there’s that beautiful artwork again. Normally with these posts I’ll change up the picture between the intro and the main section, but this morning Apple tweeted the above design and I can’t help myself, I’m gonna use it twice. Done.
Way back in October 2017, Vector Unit brought 4-player split screen to its excellent Apple TV kart racer – Beach Buggy Racing. Herein lies the answer to the question posed in the headline of this post.
But let’s get the official word from Apple’s support pages:
Your Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD can support several Bluetooth accessories simultaneously, up to this many:
- One Siri Remote or Apple TV Remote*
- One Bluetooth keyboard
- Four MFi (Made for iOS) Bluetooth controllers (Unless you also connect a Bluetooth audio accessory. If so, you can connect only one MFi controller).
The above words from Apple let us into another little tidbit of useful information that makes one particular aspect of gaming on your Apple TV extremely convenient: The functionality to allow both a controller and Bluetooth headphones to be connected – at the same time! Not even the big three – Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft – allow this on their consoles.
On PS4 I can plug wired headphones into the DualShock 4’s jack, and all is well, but wireless trumps wired any day. Playing Shinsekai: Into The Depths on Apple TV while wearing my Beats Solo 3 Wireless is absolutely the best way to play. Apple made a point of demonstrating Shinsekai’s amazing audio onstage at the recent September event, and the effects recorded underwater really deserve to be listened to through headphones.
You also might be wondering which controllers are compatible with your Apple TV. So again, let’s go straight to the horse’s mouth for the answer (in this case the horse being Apple):
[UPDATED May 2021 to reflect tvOS 14.5 controller compatibility]
- Xbox Wireless Controller with Bluetooth (Model 1708)
- Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2
- Xbox Adaptive Controller
- Xbox Wireless Controller Series S and Series X
- PlayStation DualShock 4 Wireless Controller
- PlayStation 5 DualSense Wireless Controller
- Other MFi (Made for iOS) Bluetooth controllers
So there you go, your Apple TV is prepped and ready to go for local multiplayer games straight out of the box if you need it.
ATVG recently took Punch Planet through its paces – a 2D fighter in the style of Street Fighter and Tekken – and sharing the couch with your enemy in versus mode is a cracking good time.
LEGO Brawls and Sonic Racing will also no doubt be a good fit for all-in-the-room play, and if you haven’t been playing it since 2017, then ATVG highly recommends downloading Beach Buggy Racing. It’ll be a great way to get prepared for the sequel – Beach Buggy Racing 2 – which is also heading to Apple TV via a premium version, and you can check out ATVG’s coverage right here.
Here’s Punch Planet’s cinematic trailer again, definitely worth watching:
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 2020 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.