Apple Is Selling Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Controller. But What About Sony?

October 10, 2019, 5:36 PM UTC

Apple and Microsoft were once bitter enemies. Now, Apple is selling Microsoft’s video game controllers.

This week, Apple started selling Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Controller online and plans to do the same in its brick and mortar stores next week. The controller is compatible with iPhones installed with iOS 13, iPads running iPadOS 13, and Apple TVs with tvOS 13.

Apple’s softening on Microsoft comes after Apple introduced its Arcade game-streaming service last month. The service, which costs $5 monthly for access to 100 games, is part of Apple’s effort to expand beyond selling devices and more subscription services like Apple Music and Apple TV Plus.

In some cases, the new business lines increase the urgency for Apple to cooperate with one-time rivals like Microsoft. Apple and Microsoft have cooperated in the past by bringing software, like Office and iTunes, to each other’s operating systems, but they’ve long battled to sell computers and smartphones.

Video game players can connect their Xbox Wireless Controllers to Apple devices using Bluetooth. Apple also sells controllers from smaller manufacturers, like the Rotor Riot Wired Game Controller or SteelSeries Numbus Wireless Gaming Controller, that also work with Apple Arcade.

But one controller that is compatible with Apple Arcade and that can be connected to Apple’s devices is conspicuously absent from Apple’s stores—Sony’s PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller. Video game players instead need to buy Sony’s controller elsewhere.

Apple and Sony didn’t respond to a request for comment from Fortune about the matter.

Of course, it’s possible that Apple has deliberately avoided adding Sony’s controller to its store. Or it could be that Sony hasn’t agreed to cooperate with Apple.

For years, Microsoft and Sony, along with Nintendo, have been battling over video gaming market share. Both companies are building new consoles for next year and are considering expanding into cloud-gaming services, as well.

Apple’s decision to add Xbox controllers to its store is another sign that it’s taking Arcade seriously. A study earlier this year by market researcher IHS Market found that the worldwide cloud-gaming market Arcade now competes in will grow from $387 million in revenue last year to $2.5 billion within the next five years.

For Apple, getting traction in that market will require accepting the reality that gamers prefer controllers from major manufacturers. Apple doesn’t sell its own controller, but players can use their iPhone screens or the Apple TV remote to play Arcade games.

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