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Gaming on the Apple TV: Why a gamepad isn't as optional as it seems

Andrew Hayward | Nov. 6, 2015
Even some proven touch games ported from iOS aren't a comfortable fit for the Siri Remote.

If you’re serious about gaming on the Apple TV, take the plunge on a controller: many games are better with buttons and analog sticks as opposed to the Siri Remote’s tiny touchpad. And if you already have an MFi gamepad, you don’t need to buy the Nimbus—they’re all supposed to be compatible. I also used the very good Hori Horipad on the Apple TV, and if you don’t like the look of the Nimbus, the Mad Catz C.T.R.L.i pads and Stratus XL are worth a look, as well. 

Only a week 

We’re about a week into the new Apple TV’s lifespan, and current annoyances are sure to be addressed. Developers will figure out how better to harness the Siri Remote’s input options—or decide against releasing iOS ports that don’t play as well using it. 

Finding the games you actually want to play is already getting better, thanks to App Store interface additions, and hopefully Apple will do something about download size restrictions before too long. An awesome iOS game like Asphalt 8: Airborne suffers on the Apple TV, not only due to the mid-game downloading but also choppy performance (and if I had to guess, those issues are intertwined). Without some concessions to developers, larger-scale games could be consistently diminished on the Apple TV. 

But for now, there’s a lot of fun to be had and a bit of frustration as well. Whether or not you have a gamepad may help decide how much of each you encounter while gaming on the Apple TV. If you fancy the idea of a proper, Apple-made game console, it’s well worth the investment to have a gamepad to fill out the illusion.


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