Because it is important: The iPhone is better suited for simple touch games due to its small screen. However, the iPad can be a great mobile gaming station, whether you’re streaming games from Stadia, using Remote Play, or playing games natively. This type of game is where controller support becomes essential. Apple has fallen somewhat short in this area, but things are looking up in the upcoming iOS 15.
In May, Apple added support for DualSense controllers for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X | S on iOS14.5. Additionally, it expanded the functionality to include share buttons on the new controllers and on the DualShock 4 (Xbox One doesn’t have a share button). Previously hitting Share did nothing, now it works the same as when used on PS4, PS5 or XBSX.
During one of its WWDC 2021 sessions, Apple explained how does it work. A quick press saves a screenshot on the camera roll. A long press starts to record the game, a second long press stops it and sends the video to the camera roll. Of course this is great when you know what you want to record, like a boss battle. But what about those moments when you might want to capture something unexpected, like a funny mistake or a clever maneuver?
Sony solved this by continuously rolling a 15-minute game reel. Players who want to save something simply hit the share button, cut down the 15 minutes to what they need, and then save or share it on social media.
Apple is bringing similar functionality to iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. However, it reduced the video buffer to 15 seconds due to storage limitations. Of course, it is not as versatile as Sony’s solution, but we are dealing with limited hardware, so the developers had to compromise.
Once the feature goes live on iOS and iPadOS 15 this fall, there will be a switch in Settings to toggle between normal recording and “Repeat capture.” A long press saves the last 15 seconds of gameplay when set to the latter. Developers will also have an API that they can call to trigger Replay Capture from within their games if they wish.
In addition, Apple added tools that allow developers to use the adaptive firing technology of the DualSense controller. It only takes a few short lines of code to make the side buttons have variable resistance. Developers who want to use the feature in their existing games can do so with a relatively small patch.
Getting console controllers to behave the way gamers expect is important, and the experience has fallen short in previous versions of iOS. So it’s good to see Apple spend a little time adding more features to existing Sony and Microsoft drivers.
Image Credit: Miguel Lagoa