Apple TV: The Developers' Reaction

We ask studios what they think of Apple's new device and its potential for games
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The Apple TV has everyone talking today, particularly in the games scene with its attempt to position itself as an alternative gaming device for the living room.

Key to the offering is a motion-sensing remote controller than also features a touch surface, the ability to use third-party gamepads and an App Store specific to the Apple TV with games optimised for the big screen.

We've already shared our thoughts. We also reached out to developers to find out their reactions to the potential of the new device. Read on to find out their thoughts, then add your own in the comments below.

Mike Bithell, creator of Thomas Was Alone and Volume
"Apple TV looks very exciting. I've had a lot of fun making things for mobile, and working out how best to take advantage of their unique capabilities. Apple TV certainly offers some different opportunities. That remote looks like a fun user interface – I want to get my hands on one and start experimenting. It feels less like a direct console competitor, and more like a system for a completely different audience altogether, which is exciting."

Sam Barlow, developer of Her Story
"Set-top boxes and smart TVs feel like a natural successor to the games console, a better way to integrate games into a varied media diet than the classic games machine. What Apple have shown with the new TV product is a nice step towards this potential future and I'm a fan of what I've seen of the controller. What remains to be seen is whether this new product will see Apple giving games an equal emphasis alongside movies and music -- restrictions to download size and the emphasis seen in the presentation suggest we're not completely there yet. So, yes, I'm definitely considering the TV as an option for my next title and will keep my eyes on its reception on release!"

Jason Kingsley, co-founder of Rebellion
“Apple excels at making tech products for non-tech people. This is no exception. The new Apple TV will help to widen our market, which from the UK games makers’ viewpoint is fantastic. It’s a developer’s dream to have your work played by an expanding class of consumers. Just in time for Christmas, too.

“Whether talking mobile or console, there is always a physical interface challenge which can enhance or diminish which games are successful dependent on the platform. It’s hard to translate the same experience from modest mobile screens to large TV ones. It will be interesting to see which new contenders surface. For Apple’s App store it might enable a much needed shake-up as whenever there’s a ‘new toy’ to play with, there are disruptive companies which rise to the top to capitalise on new gameplay styles and take over from previous platform titans. Change helps creative ideas thrive, but impacts heavily on entrenched business models.”

Simon Gardner, CEO of Climax Studios
"We are very excited to finally see the Apple TV update announced. We are working on concepts for it and the specific features of the new controller. We hope to be able to share more on our projects very soon. We are most definitely developing for it."

Andy Wafer, CEO of Pixel Toys
“Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade leverages the unprecedented power of Apple’s new A9 chip with third generation 64-bit architecture and Metal to deliver console-class 3D performance on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The amazing 3D Touch allows us to bring added depth and all-new controls such as zoom in and out and switching weapons without lifting a finger from the screen — these features enhance the gameplay experience and immerse the user even deeper into the Freeblade world. The magnitude of enhancements made possible with this new generation of devices, combined with 3D Touch redefines what's possible in mobile gaming.”

Ben Murch, creative director at Rodeo Games
"I think the Apple TV looks fine. I like that they've redesigned the remote and made the interface better. Can't really see many people using it to play games though. The remote itself can be used as a controller.... but I bet most won't. Bluetooth devices can be plugged in, and that means you got a great bit control issue right from the start. 'Do I develop my game for the Apple remote, or for a general controller type?'. They mentioned playing games on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.... which is fine, but once again I can't really see many people doing that. If I'm playing Angry Birds 2 on my phone, will I actually put it on my big screen TV when I get home?

"Any game we'd develop for Apple TV would have to be a specific idea designed specifically for it. Without a large user base, that probably won't happen."

Jon Ingold, creative director at Inkle Studios
"Apple TV seems like a really strong offering to us - we're definitely interested in developing games with a bit more visual scale, and the app-for-TV format gives us that while still letting us stay quite alternative and non-core in our gameplay styles. We're also interested in the "naturally co-operative" environment of a living room, whether that's multiplayer, or simply people talking about what to do next in a game! And above all, unlike the watch, it's a device we can really see people both wanting to buy and wanting to play games on."

Dan Da Rocha, managing director of Mudvark
"I think Apple TV now including games is a natural step forward and being able to play hit iOS games on the big screen is going to be great for consumers, especially being able to share that experience with others. We've already got an iOS title in the works and think it would fit well with the Apple TV, so we'll be looking into that. However, developing exclusively for the platform at this stage is a bit risky I'd say."

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