Apple’s new Siri Remote doesn’t come equipped with an accelerometer or gyroscope, which means it won’t work as a motion controller in certain Apple TV games. The omission was initially spotted by Digital Trends, and can be seen on the remotes’ product pages. The old Siri Remote lists an “Accelerometer” and “Three-axis gyro” in the tech specs, but they’re missing from the new listing (we’ve linked to a Google Cache because as of this writing Apple’s store is down ahead of AirTags pre-orders going live).
The change means that the new Siri Remote won’t work with certain Apple TV games that rely on motion controls. According to code in tvOS 14.5 seen by MacRumors, trying to play an incompatible game will lead to the following error message: “To play this game on your Apple TV, you need to connect the Apple TV Remote (1st generation) or a compatible PlayStation, Xbox or MFi controller.” If you’ve got one, you might want to keep an old Siri Remote around for occasions like this.
The lack of motion controls might sound surprising given the new Apple TV box was expected to have a bigger gaming focus, and arrives as Apple Arcade is maturing into a pretty compelling games subscription service. But in recent years Apple has shifted its attention towards more traditional gaming controllers, away from motion controls. It dropped its requirement for games to support the Siri Remote’s motion controls in June 2016 just months after the remote launched alongside the 2015 Apple TV. Then, in June 2019, it announced Apple TV support for Xbox One and PS4 controllers. Support for PS5 and Xbox Series X and S controllers is expected to arrive with tvOS 14.5.