With the MOGA controller, the NVidia Shield, and apps and cables to let you hook up game controllers to your tablet, it was probably only a matter of time before rumors got started that Apple was working on a first-party gamepad.
But how likely are they to be true?
Let’s start with what we know, which is that there have been multiple claims from the Game Developer’s Conference that Apple was going around talking privately about building a gamepad, according to, uh, PocketGamer.biz:
It’s expected Apple will formally announce its plans during its annual April press event; previously this has been centred around the iPad.
Many things remain unknown, though. None of our contacts had seen or held the physical device so we don’t know if the pad will take a conventional approach or employ a radical new design.
We suppose it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Apple could be looking at this, but a few things make us skeptical. Those things being Apple hates both gaming and buttons.
Perhaps “hate” is too strong a word: Apple is certainly happy to collect royalties on all those games they move through the iTunes store. But Apple’s apathy towards gaming has been legendary for years; they infamously let Halo go to Microsoft, for example.
Even moreso, though, is its hatred for buttons. Seriously, Apple hates buttons, and your average game controller is a button-studded monstrosity. It’s true that there are games on iOS that would benefit from an input device, but on the other hand, the best-selling games on iOS aren’t generally those that need a controller: It’s stuff like Angry Birds and Temple Run topping the charts, and those were built for touchscreens.
Apple doesn’t bow to the will of developers, developers bow to the will of Apple, and the will of Apple has been “Use the touchscreen for all things, for it is the perfect input.” It’s hard to see them changing that perspective because Rockstar might sell a few more copies of Vice City. But, hey, more fun for Android users.