It’s no big surprise that gaming on the Apple TV is pretty much a flop. There’s hardly any exclusive Apple TV games and there are ones that weren’t exclusive and were either ported from iOS or really bad tvOS games. Apple is definitely trying to step up its game with gaming on their products, but the Apple TV just didn’t see what I and many others expected to see. While having games like Minecraft: Apple TV Edition, F1 2016, Sonic and a few others are great and all, there isn’t a ton of games that stick out on the tvOS store. Many of the Apps are already on the iOS App Store and play a better on a touch screen.
There are two main reasons for the lack of games on the Apple TV. The Siri remote and the hardware. First, let’s start with the wonderful Siri Remote. I really love the Siri remote, but if you’re planning on gaming with the Siri remote you might as well not. It’s very hard to play on unless you have tiny hands or if you’re just tapping your way through levels. Secondly, the hardware. I was seriously hoping for some new special hardware in the Apple TV fourth-generation but we got stuck with the same processor that’s in the iPhone 6. Now don’t get me wrong that processor is amazing but for a device that’s trying to replace most of your other TV boxes and just use one, it really lacks. I’ve had many times where apps crash, slow downs, and even times where the Apple TV has to be shut down by unplugging the device. I would love to see hardware that is powerful and worth a price increase.
Those are just the reasons why the Apple TV wasn’t really successful with gaming, but what’s going to make the next Apple TV so much better? Well, one thing. 4K High Dynamic Range. To power, a 4K display it really requires some decent specs. The iPhone 7Plus chips are extremely powerful and only powers a display of 1080p which is understandable because any more than 2K it’s very hard to tell with the Human eye. Though, if an iPhone 7 can do that what stops Apple from bumping the chip up a bit and kicking full 4K HDR?
Well, not too much actually. An iPhone is running off a battery and is cooled by thermal throttling to keep temperatures low. With an Apple TV, it’s plugged into an outlet and could even be cooled by various other ways. The current Apple TV does a fantastic job with cooling so I think if Apple were to do a 4K supported Apple TV it wouldn’t be out of the question.
What does adding 4K to an Apple TV mean for gaming though? Well, it could mean a lot. First thing, it could mean more powerful hardware which in theory would give developers more room to work with to develop more powerful and beautiful games for the Apple TV. The second point could be the same performance we get from the current Apple TV just with 4K and HDR. We could see a bit better performance in overall use and some games. Which this could be very likely if Apple wants to keep the price to make the next Apple TV and keep the consumer price where it’s still at.
Gaming on the Apple TV will probably take a good while to really take-off, but at the end of the day, it’s up to Apple whether they would like to keep developers developing for the Apple TV or silently killing off gaming as a whole and keep it in the entertainment space. There’s still a lot of hope though, Apple could easily change up the Siri Remote and make it more friendly to 3rd-party apps and games by designing a new remote from the ground up (again). Which Apple has been known for doing things like this in the past with many of their other products.