There’s a revival going on of an old classic console game. Activision recently released Guitar Hero Live for iOS devices, along with a brand new six-button Bluetooth controller designed specifically for the title. Now, Guitar Hero Live is available directly on the new Apple TV, but the game seems to require the Bluetooth controller to be at all functional. Without the guitar controller, you can’t do anything at all with the Apple TV version of the game.
Breaking the rules?
Apple’s developer guidelines for Apple TV apps explicitly state that all games must be able to be played with the Siri Remote alone; you’re not allowed to submit titles that require an MFi controller. How did Activision get around this stipulation? One possible reason is that the Guitar Hero game accessory isn’t really an MFi controller. It’s a custom peripheral designed to work with one game only: Guitar Hero Live. True to what the game description states, you can’t do anything without the guitar accessory.
There is another way
If you’ve already sprung the $50 for the full version of the game and don’t want to spend another $99 to get the guitar controller, there are a couple of alternatives for getting your axe-slashing fun on your Apple TV. According to TouchArcade, “If you’ve got an Apple TV you can use as an AirPlay target, you can use your phone to straight up play the game in the exact same way you’d play the console version.” You can also use the Lightning Digital AV adapter and an HDMI cable to get your iOS game on your Apple TV.
It’s a bit of a dumb marketing move on Activision’s part to require the guitar controller to play the game on the Apple TV, but perhaps that’s out of necessity. After all, the Siri Remote doesn’t really offer enough buttons in an easy configuration for mapping to the required controls for the game. At least Activision offers the guitar controller as a separate purchase for $49.99, so you don’t have to buy the game twice. Still, it’s bizarre that Activision has found a way around the “no MFi-only games” rule for Apple TV apps, and I wonder if Cupertino will seal up that loophole soon.