Apple’s new Siri Remote doesn’t come 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 remote control product pages. The old Siri Remote mentions an ‘Accelerometer’ and ‘Three-axis gyroscope’ in the technical specifications, but they are missing from the new listing (we linked to a Google cache as at the time of writing the Apple store will not be available before AirTags pre-orders go live).
The change means that the new Siri Remote won’t work with certain Apple TV games that rely on gesture controls. According to code in tvOS 14.5 seen by MacRumors, if you try to play an incompatible game, you will get the following error: “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 have one, you may want to keep an old Siri Remote for occasions like this.
The lack of gesture controls might sound surprising given the expectation that the new Apple TV box would have greater gaming focus and arrive as Apple Arcade matures into a pretty compelling games subscription service. But in recent years, Apple has shifted its focus to more traditional game controllers, away from motion controls. The requirement for games to support the Siri Remote’s gesture controls dropped it in June 2016, just months after the remote launched along with 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.