As usual, Apple very casually mentioned something as part of their (very very long) WWDC 2019 keynote address this morning, but it’s actually something of a megaton announcement for those of us who care about gaming in the iOS ecosystem. During a brief mention of their upcoming Apple Arcade service which is launching this fall, Apple’s Craig Federighi announced that Xbox One controllers and PlayStation 4 controllers would now be compatible with Apple TV and would work with the games on Apple Arcade. This is HUGE news as pretty much everything to do with the world of MFi controllers has been a disappointment, from their lack of features to their pricing to their build quality, and it’s really made it hard for controller adoption to become more of a thing. I’ve ranted about this before. So just allowing controllers that many people already own and love, like those from Xbox One and PS4, solves a lot of those problems. And while supporting those controllers on the Apple TV is great, what everyone REALLY wanted to know is if that support would extend to the iPhone and iPad. Well on Apple’s official round-up of all the new features in iOS 13, they do include iPhone as being part of that support.
I guess the weird thing is that they ONLY mention iPhone. We already know Apple TV is supported since Hair Force One told us so earlier today, and I can’t imagine a world where they’d somehow exclude any of this from just the iPad for any reason. So effectively it looks like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers are now simply officially supported MFi-type controllers, and if that’s indeed the case we now know what the absolute best controllers are for gaming on any iOS device: Either an Xbox One or PS4 controller, depending on your preference. Build-quality, pricing, and even features like clickable analog sticks are far and away better than any of the other official MFi controllers out there, and as mentioned it’s very likely that a ton of people interested in mobile gaming already own at least one of those game consoles, and thus already own a mobile gaming controller now. It’s exciting times indeed and we’ll keep an eye out for any more juicy details about iOS gaming from WWDC this week, so stay tuned.
UPDATE: Just to confirm, there’s actually a separate round-up of features for the iPad (which weren’t included in the link above because as of now iOS means only iPhone and iPod touch, and the iPad’s OS is now officially called iPadOS) and they also mention the XBOne and PS4 controller support for iPad. So it’s officially official, people!