For the first time since the inception of the iTunes app store in 2008, Apple is exclusively opening up iOS to hardware game controllers, allowing a console-like gaming experience which will be powered by their mobile devices.
This would allow game developers to target all controllers that are in conformity with Apple’s standards, eradicating a lot of hassles that have stopped add-on hardware controllers from gaining popularity.
The information regarding the fact that Apple was adding hardware controller support was revealed during Monday’s WWDC keynote presentation. The picture below indicates that the iOS 7 SDK would support MFi game controllers, signifying Apple’s licensing program for third-party hardware add-ons. This would wipe out the need for game developers to write software that specifically targets Apple’s hardware requirements.
Touch Arcade has posted images from an Apple developer guide that suggests what the company has in mind. One of the controller styles exposes the screen of your device, while the other looks like a standard Bluetooth controller, syncing dual analog sticks with the other controller’s D-pad and face buttons.
A move of this stature could have more significant implications. Apple could have higher ambitions by making their own iOS-based home console. To add to it, their iPhone and iPad can provide console-like experience. All you need to do is plug in a controller, connect your TV and you have a high quality gaming feel right there.
With API-level support designed for hardware controllers, mobile game console developers including the likes of Sony (PS Vita) and Nintendo (3DS) might have something to ponder over in the near future.