The rumor mill appears to be heating up about a new Apple TV. We've been hearing stories about one for a long time, but those stories have generally neglected to mention any specific details about gaming.
9to5mac's often well-informed Mark Gurman has something more concrete.
One of the next Apple TV’s tentpole features will be near-universal Siri control, a feature hinted at in Apple’s invitation to the event. But the other will be deep support for gaming, representing Apple’s largest-ever effort to lure players from traditional consoles. In addition to the convenience of downloading games directly from the Apple TV’s built-in App Store, and controlling many of them via a new bundled remote control, Apple will also support more complex, console-style Bluetooth game controllers with the pressure-sensitive buttons and joysticks previously introduced for iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches.
If this is true – and I'd bet it is – it shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Ever since MFi controllers were originally unveiled, I'd assumed they were destined for the Apple TV.
Apple currently has a library of almost 800 MFi controller compatible games already on the App Store. Porting these games to the Apple TV will be trivial for developers. Assuming the new Apple TV launches in the near future, it could come with one of the largest launch game libraries in the history of console launches.
Even for iOS gamers with no interest in the Apple TV, its existence still means good news for controller enthusiasts. Developers will now have a motivation to add controller support to their iOS games: the Apple TV will heavily favor those games. And once controller support is added to the Apple TV version of games, there would be no reason not to include it in the iPhone and iPad versions.