Why is this important: The iPhone is more suitable for simple touch games because of its small screen. However, the iPad can be a great mobile gaming station, whether it’s streaming games from Stadia, using Remote Play, or playing them natively. This type of game is where controller support becomes essential. Apple has failed somewhat in this area, but things are looking up in the upcoming iOS 15.
In May, Apple added support for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X | S DualSense controllers in iOS14.5. Additionally, it has expanded functionality to include share buttons on the new controllers and on the DualShock 4 (the Xbox One does not have a share button). Previously, tapping Share didn’t do anything, now it works the way it does when using it on PS4, PS5, or XBSX.
During one of its WWDC 2021 sessions, Apple explained how it works. A quick press saves a screenshot to the camera roll. A long press starts recording the gameplay, a second long press stops it and sends the video to the filmstrip. Of course, it’s great when you know what you want to record, like a boss fight. But what about the times when you might want to capture something unexpected, like a fun failure or a skillful maneuver?
Sony solved this problem by continuously casting a 15 minute game reel. Players who want to save something just need to click the Share button, reduce the 15 minutes to what they need, then save or share it on social media.
Apple brings similar functionality to iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. However, it reduced the video buffer to 15 seconds due to storage limitations. Granted, it’s not as versatile as Sony’s solution, but we’re dealing with limited hardware, so the developers had to make concessions.
Once the feature goes live in iOS and iPadOS 15 this fall, there will be a toggle in settings to toggle between normal recording and “Replay Capture”. A long press records the last 15 seconds of play when set to play. Developers will also have an API they can call to trigger Replay Capture from their games if they choose.
In addition, Apple has added tools that allow developers to use the adaptive triggering technology of the DualSense controller. It only takes a few short lines of code for the shoulder buttons to have variable resistance. Developers who want to use the feature in their existing games can do so with a relatively small patch.
It’s important to make console controllers behave the way gamers expect, and the experience has been poor compared to previous versions of iOS. So it’s nice to see Apple spending some time adding more functionality to existing Sony and Microsoft controllers.
Image credit: Miguel Lagoa