It has always seemed pretty inevitable, that Apple would take gaming seriously at some point. The company has hired gaming industry experts and has advanced the iPad and iPhone hardware to be good at producing high-quality gaming visuals. There is little other reason for the hi-spec GPU in the devices.
So, in a recently granted patent approval, we have a traditional looking gaming controller. I'm not a lawyer, but Apple really can't patent something that has existed for what, 12-15 years? Especially one with a wire sticking out of it, that's very un-Apple.
However, that design could be shielding the real one, which Apple could spring on the world, perhaps with touch sensor pads like the Xperia Play, or some other innovation. Given the number of patents that companies put out, this could be just a hedge, and it may never happen, but MS and Sony had better watch out if Apple really is serious about gaming now.
Be it through an Apple HDTV, Apple TV box, or an iPad, using NFC or another system, gaming via Apple is probably about to get a whole lot interesting.