Apple’s strict guidelines are making iOS game controllers expensive and lacking

Apple is a very controlling company, particularly with its line of iPhones and iPod touches. That’s typically served them well: the control allows them to sit at a premium place in the market. However, it seems that their strict guidelines are backfiring in at least one way.

Announced at WWDC 2013 as an iOS 7 feature, many people looked forward to game controllers built exclusively for iOS. The first wave hit in November, and they were received with harsh criticism for build quality and supported titles being improperly configured. The situation has improved slightly, with certain titles being updated to enhance gamepad support, but the build quality is still lacking. The lack of quality hardware is due to Apple’s mandate that gamepad creators must use specific, expensive components. This means that the manufacturers cut corners in assembly, and in other ways.

The controller program is also limited in other, odd ways:

There are other limitations of the program as well. For instance, the d-pads must be one circular button, opposed to just a raised cross shape or separate buttons for up, down, right, and left that you find on PlayStation and Xbox controllers and that many gamers prefer. The requirements also extend to the color, labeling and layout of the face buttons, thumbsticks, triggers, etc. It’s all meant to control quality and make it easy for developers to update apps to support all controllers, but in some areas Apple’s controller specification might not be strict enough.

Hopefully this situation improves over the coming year as Apple can tweak its policies and other manufacturers can enter the ring, all while developers work to make better use of the gamepad API.


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