appletv_smallsizePlaying games through the Apple TV is something people have been clamoring for for a very long time, and according to a report from iLounge, it might just be happening. They've heard from "reliable industry sources" that a new update to Apple TV, possibly coming by March, will enable the downloading and playing of games. iLounge has also heard from developers who are currently working on options for using Bluetooth controllers with Apple's set-top box.

Interestingly, the report claims that the games will actually be downloaded to the Apple TV itself, rather than using an iOS device as the middleman between the controller and the Apple TV. This strikes me as odd as the second and third generation Apple TV doesn't have much onboard storage like the original Apple TV did. Instead it relies on streaming things either from its own built-in channels like Netflix and Hulu or streaming things you have stored on your computer or iOS device. One possibility is that the Apple TV would use iCloud as a way to store games for playing on the device, or perhaps there's a brand new version of Apple TV set to arrive that would include more onboard storage.

We just don't know, and all of this can safely be filed under the "rumor" category for now. We've heard similar things about the Apple TV adding an App Store of its own for years now, and it seemed especially likely when Apple announced their iOS 7 controller initiative. However, the slow uptake of those controllers and seeming disinterest from Apple in all things gaming makes me wonder if something like an Apple TV App Store will ever happen. We'll just have to wait and see, but if any more news comes of this we'll be sure to keep you informed.

[iLounge]

  • Der-Kleine

    Doesn't the current Apple TV have a single core A5 chip? That wouldn't be enough to play most of the newer, more intensive games, right?(espechially not at 1080p)

  • Sven Van de Perre

    Oh hell yes. iCloud would be the logical step. As why up the price of the device, and make all ATV's out there unable to play games. Streaming games is the future anyway.

  • kiggle

    I want this to happen but games on the Apple TV hardware make no sense at all. No storage to download them to, and the most anemic chip in the current iOS lineup by far.

    Also supporting bluetooth controllers would be great and a must, but if I can't use my iPhone w/ a MOGA connected to it as a controller for this, I'll be so pissed, lol.

    One really great thing about this being true though would be that it would cement MFi controllers as something the developer community will really need to take seriously, and give them confidence Apple won't just abandon it.

    • falco

      Streaming games with apple tv make sense. We could play games like Playstation now.

  • JCho133

    Well can't they just release a new Apple TV

    • Der-Kleine

      The question is: how much more would a more powerful one with more storage space cost?

      • JCho133

        Is pay $199 for an Apple TV with an A7 chip and more gigs of space

      • Bool Zero

        Ditto! I'd have no problem buying a new version of Apple TV with better specs, hard drive and the ability to play my games on it without having to deal with the inconsistency that is Airplay. Even at $200 or even $300 it would be cheaper than most iOS devices and we'd at least know that a new model wouldn't be looming 6 months down the road like all the other idevices they push out!

      • OutSpoken

        Let's not start throwing wild figures out there about how much more we're willing to pay...

        A lot of the appeal of the current Apple TV's has been it's relatively affordable price. I think it would be in Apples' best interest to stick with that low pricing model, as gaming on iOS is still a niche market.

    • 21tigermike

      That's ... been rumored, of course. The current line/hardware specs are kind of irrelevant.

  • Boony Tuesday

    If true, I can already see a few controller apps for the iPhone being released.

  • Adams Immersive

    Eventually, iPad/iPhones, and the chips in Thunderbolt HDMI adapters, may get fast enough for lag-free gaming (matters to some genres more than others). Eventually, wireless AirPlay may get fast enough too. Eventually. But sooner than any of that, I can see AppleTV gaining more game-friendly GPU and storage specs in its own right.

    It's an easy rumor to come up with--it's plausible. But I hope it's true!

    • SimonReidy

      It's so rare to see someone who gets the HDMI-conversion happening on iOS devices with lightning, and the lag/picture quality degradation it introduces. I've read plenty of uninformed blogs saying an iPhone 5S/iPad Air will output 1080p games over lightning to HDMI, but they are either unaware of the chip in the lightning to HDMI cable, or what it does to the picture (over-compresses into an H.264 video signal at around 1600x900 resolution). Until Apple can find a way to revert to pure uncompressed RGB over HDMI at 1080p (like it was with the old 12 pin connector) then any iOS device is lacking the picture quality and the low latency to be used as a serious loungeroom gaming device on a big screen. It's a shame too as if you're jailbroken you can now use a PS3 controller with any MFi iOS7 game which is way better than using official controller currently on the market.

      Perhaps a new AppleTV will bypass the crappy method Apple currently uses on its iOS devices? and revert back to pure RGB over HDMI? but the ATV would need to have the power, ram and storage of a new iOS device to play games, which would jack the price way up. Doesn't make much sense.

  • Duuude

    If this would happen, then surely not for the current models.
    Which automatically makes me *not* interrested.

  • oddyoh

    Maybe this will be the year! Or not!

  • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

    This makes way more sense. iOS controllers for Apple TV I can understand. I still think the touchscreen can function as a unique controller experience on Apple TV though.

    • webman2k

      Won't work. With no physical feedback how would you know where the buttons are when looking at the tv?

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        Of course it would. They already do this with air play. Also look at the Wii U. They've done some innovative things with the touch interface. Similar things could be done here.

      • Patrick Selge

        Even though I also believe in touch only controls, you gave two really poor examples. The Wii U has buttons surrounding the touchscreen, which is mainly used for inventory or maps. You are not controlling your alter ego with it. When you do, you are supposed to look at it and the tv looses the focus. The Steambox offers those two "touch sticks" in addition to what again? Buttons, right. Also those touch elements are inside a physical border. Each "touch stick" also is it's own element. None of this applies to iOS devices. You can't even feel the touchscreen's boundaries, as the face is one giant glass plate.

        Edit: Having the iPhone inside a controller would give it a great Wii U like experience. That's my ideal scenario.

      • salvee

        It sounds dumb but it works...right now I'm playing oceanhorn through airplay and i use a series of sticky buttons to get the tactical feedback I need. Works great for now.

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        What I meant when I said "They already do this with air play. Also look at the Wii U - They're doing some innovative things.." I meant it as the closest thing to what could be accomplished with an iDevice and Apple TV.

        First off, as a direct controller, it already works through Air Play. I can see twin stick shooters working especially well here. The limit to what a touchscreen can do is limited to the developers creativity. Secondly, another way of looking at it (which is more to what I'm thinking) is using the Apple TV as another tool for the gaming experience while working directly with your iDevice. Every game doesn't have to be simply mimicking a console experience. It's easy to compare something that exist and state why it isn't the same. That's not the point here though.

      • Patrick Selge

        I'm totally on your side. I'm a developer myself and love the experience those indie devs create today on touch devices. But I think having some kind of tactile feedback helps alot. It's how the hands work. Usually this can be compensated by looking at the controls. Looking at the screen and not having any feedback feels kinda "unnatural". But using vibration as feedback could work great. Having i.e. different vibration intensities for different buttons could help to give the user a better control scheme. But of course there are many other ways to do this "right", that I and possibly many others are net yet able to imagine. I'm really exited about the future of those touch devices.

        I think gyros and tapping could be great to btw.

  • Xexist

    Just give me an official plex app. Please and thank you!

  • JCho133

    Hmmm. They could call the next Apple TV the "Like the Ouya Except People Actually Care About It" TV

  • nav1

    The current Apple TV does have some storage. From Wikipedia:

    "The new version no longer has the hard drive; however, it does have an undocumented internal 8 GB flash storage, speculated to be used for smoother playback of streamed media."

    Theoretically, some of that could be used to store small games. But more than likely, a new ATV version will be announced if news is true.

    • Patrick Selge

      Using those 8 GB for games would mean a poor performance for video playback. Those 8 GB host the OS which leaves it with about 7 GB (+/- 500 MB). Installing two AAA Games would fill up the flash storage pretty easily. Playing back movies would mean you couldn't buffer any more, resulting in a catastrophical stutter.
      Using some sort of iCloud powered Gaikai would make work, but is unlikely. So we are left with a new hardware iteration. This is also the only Apple style way. They sell hardware, not software. Most people here have seem to forgotten that, but apple gives 80% of their software away for free, just to push hardware sales. Having the Apple TV 2 playback games would be irrational. Allowing those features on the AppleTV 3 but not on the AppleTV 2 would be a dick move. Those devices are basically the same. The bbetter cpu power of the AppleTV 3 is most likely eaten by the fact that everything is rendered in 1080p instead of 720p. Also I would wonder if those devices are well enough equipped, ram wise.

  • webman2k

    Release a new Apple TV with an a7. Add in the App Store, and the ability to download and run any games tied to your account, just like any other ios device. Add in controller support, and as developers add support, you'll be able to play them on the device. Profit.

    • Patrick Selge

      That thing would probably cost arround 300 $ and sell like dead puppies. I thing they would use the A6, as they would need to raise the memory and storage options on those devices as well. Having the A7 could cause problems with the availability of the iPhones and iPads. It's the first time they sell three major products all equipped with the same CPU. Putting the A6 to use, would be more cost and logistic efficient. The AppleTV is the only product they sell, that needs to have a low price point. Because of their lack of first and second party games, they can't compete at 300$ against sony, microsoft and nintendo. Their direct competitor would be the ouya and that would mean selling at 99$. But because it's apple they could go up to 150$ w/o losing too much customers.

      • darkcrayon

        I think the A6 would be fine, but I think you're overestimating the cost of the A7. And the Apple TV is probably one product where Apple doesn't need a huge margin as it's a companion device that exists largely to buy media. Anyway, you're probably talking a $6 difference between the two chips for Apple, if that. It makes sense for it to be able to play games at least as well as an iPhone 5s.

        At this point I don't think supplies are constrained by the A7 (were they ever?)- especially when far far fewer Apple TVs are sold compared to iPads and iPhones.

  • falco

    But What will happend, I play games on my iPad... Now apple tv.

  • falco

    Do you think its more fun to play ios games on iPad or on a big screen hd tv

  • Jesse7277

    And I had zero clue what Apple TV was until last Tuesday when I bought one. I love it.

  • rewind

    The Apple TV is one of their least popular products. I fact, it doesn't even have it's own section on Apple's website, it's under the iPod section. If Apple is hoping for this to compete with Xbox or Playstation, they're wrong. Partially because it's way underpowered and also due to lack of marketing for it. It's going to be like the Ouya of iOS.

    • James M Wallace

      It's not as favorable as using a Mac mini as a living room device, but word does spread around regarding ATV. My uncle bought one two weeks ago and it's his favorite toy - the only problem is that his net connection is weak.

      Despite this, I agree that the functionality is coming as "too little, too late" to compete with other devices such as the Ouya, Steam machines, Mac minis and/or custom-built PCs that we already have in the living room. Why can't we just use our iDevices and be done with it?

  • pixelpowa

    About damn time. A new AppleTV with an A7 chip, more internal storage, and official game controller support would be mighty tempting.

  • xander134

    If it happened, I'd probably (finally) buy an Apple TV, but this rumor has been around for ages. I can't justify getting my hopes up without significantly more hard facts. For now I'm going to just hope for better iOS game controllers with Bluetooth. Maybe if they take off, Apple will be more likely to make the Apple TV game-compatible.

    • OutSpoken

      I've also held off getting an Apple TV. To me its one of those gadgets where I don't REEEALLY need it but it'd be nice to have (especially a jailbroken ATV2), and I've been tempted so many times by the price...but if the rumour of a new one with gaming functionality and Appstore comes true, I may finally jump on board.