iOS 7's game controller support could be a real game-changer

Of all of the features of iOS 7 that have been talked about since Monday's WWDC 2013 keynote, probably none has more potential impact than the item circled in blue on the image above -- MFi game controller support in the iOS 7 SDK. Jeff Blagdon at The Verge took a closer look at what this means for Apple fans, and possibly for the gaming world as a whole.

MFi means "Made For iPhone/iPod/iPad," and refers to officially licensed add-ons that meet specifications set forth by Apple. The company is now adding support for controllers to the SDK, making it easy for third-party game controller manufacturers to create hardware that Apple can "bless." Developers benefit, since they know that their games will work with any of the approved game controllers.

But Blagdon brings up a much bigger point in his post. Since Apple added AirPlay mirroring to iOS devices with iOS 5, anyone with a US$99 Apple TV can easily blast mobile gameplay to their HDTV. Blagdon says "with API-level support for third-party game controllers, who is going to stop Apple from waltzing into the home console market?"

Apple already controls the handheld gaming market, and Blagdon notes that the new 16 GB iPod touch and Apple TV cost just US$328 -- less than the $399 Sony PS4 announced yesterday or the $499 Microsoft Xbox One. Apple could easily begin to make the dedicated home gaming console obsolete.