It’s undeniable that Apple’s iOS devices have become an extremely popular gaming platform over the years, and many manufacturers have sought to capitalize on that fact, releasing game control devices such as the iCade, the Duo Gamer, and others. So far, third-party iOS game controllers have all suffered from two very significant problems, however: fragmentation and developer support.
Many of these game controllers use different methods of communicating with your iOS device. The result is that a game that works with the iCade, for instance, probably won’t work with most other game controllers. According to PocketGamer, however, that could all be about to change. The site claims to have received confirmation from a number of developers that Apple is planning to release a physical game controller, and is lobbying developers for their support.
Long rumoured – and hoped for – GDC 2013 has finally provided confirmation that Apple will release its own dedicated game controller. Of course, there’s no official word yet, but Apple has been active during the conference talking to developers about its plans and ensuring plenty of games will support the joypad at launch.
It’s been operating a meeting room at the show, albeit booked under a pseudonym company name to avoid media attention. However, speaking anonymously, multiple developer sources have confirmed the news to PocketGamer.biz.
Interestingly, the report also notes that none of those developers have actually seen or held the rumored game controller – they’ve only discussed it with Apple representatives. It’s also possible that Apple isn’t releasing an actual physical controller – they could just as likely be building a game controller API for iOS to unify the third-party game controller market. It’s also worth noting that Apple has patented designs for game controllers several times in the past.
While the report is interesting, there so far is no evidence to back up the claim. PocketGamer previously reported that Apple planned to announce a special $19.99 premium game store, also citing anonymous sources. Obviously, that rumor never played out. The idea of Apple developing a game controller is certainly interesting – but until I see some actual confirmation, I’m not crossing my fingers that the rumors are true.
Update: My skepticism was apparently well-placed. Well-sourced Apple journalist Jim Dalrymple, known for his connections to the goings-on at Apple, has debunked this rumor with his trademark “Nope.” Anyone surprised?