Today during a special presentation event in San Francisco, Apple announced a new version of its Apple TV hardware that offers exclusive gaming content in addition to a slate of new navigation-focused features.
Noting that “the future of TV is apps,” Apple revealed that the new Apple TV is powered by tvOS, an operating system based on its existing iOS framework. tvOS uses many development toolkits and software solutions that mobile developers are already familiar with, including Game Center, CloudKit, and UIkit.
In addition to making Apple TV-exclusive content, developers also have the option of creating apps that are universally compatible with all existing iOS devices in addition to the new hardware. Apple notes that more than 11 million registered developers are ready to tackle development for its new Apple TV hardware.
Indie developer Hipster Whale introduced a modified version of its free-to-play hit Crossy Road during today’s event, showcasing an all-new multiplayer mode that assigned a second player’s controls to a linked iPhone. In Crossy Road‘s Apple TV-exclusive co-op mode, two players team up to progress as far as possible while avoiding deadly obstacles and heading off interference from a well-meaning (or not) co-op partner.
Crossy Road‘s gameplay suits the Apple TV’s redesigned remote, which features a touchpad and accelerometer input. Players swipe across the Apple TV remote’s touchpad to dodge left and right, and press inward on the pad in order to move forward.
Rock Band series creator Harmonix took the stage next, showing off its Apple TV-exclusive minigame compilation Beat Sports. Harmonix developer Jon Carter demonstrated one of Beat Sports’ included games, which uses the Apple TV remote’s motion sensor to determine when players swing a baseball bat.
Like Crossy Road, Beat Sports also supports multiplayer gameplay via linked iOS devices. Beat Sports‘ featured minigames support up to four players simultaneously, who can drop in or out at any time.
Other upcoming Apple TV games featured during today’s presentation include Fishlabs’ space combat sim Galaxy on Fire, Ubisoft’s side-scrolling platformer Rayman Adventures, and the silhouette puzzler Shadowmatic. The Apple TV will also host fully-featured ports of console games like Disney Infinity 3.0 and Activision’s upcoming rhythm game Guitar Hero Live.
Crossy Road and Beat Sports will be available for download when the Apple TV launches in October. Apple will release a 32GB edition of the Apple TV priced at $150, along with a 64GB model for $200.