When it rains, it pours. The Android game controller market is becoming quite crowded, between hacks to use normal controllers, veterans in the field, and now even a big company like Gamestop releasing its own. You’d think we have enough to choose from, but that doesn’t stop more of them from entering the market. PowerA’s MOGA controller was just announced to prove that, and on first glance it doesn’t look all that special. It looks to be a slightly less polished Drone, with a bit of a peculiar button placement and overall look. The integrated smartphone holder is nice, but the iControlPad already has that. Perhaps I just have too much experience with game controllers at Android, but in any case, the hardware doesn’t impress me.
What does make me wake up a bit however is the controller’s software features. The thing about Android game controllers is that if you think it’s plug and play like on a console, you’ll be disappointed. Game developers can’t even agree to make the games that do support controllers do it the same way, which is an issue. Google’s attempt to standardize it hasn’t really helped much either, and Googling button mappings is pretty standard if you’re not rooted and using touch emulation. That’s why the MOGA’s ability to list compatible games and patch itself when games become compatible. This should lower the difficulty of using such a controller significantly, by removing the layer of tinkering needed to make it work in the first place.
There’s currently no price set for this controller though, and a release date linked to the holiday season isn’t impressive when you can head out the door right now and come back with a controller that you can probably make work with your device – work better too, if you do it right. This is most definitely a product for the average consumer, not those who don’t mind tinkering with setups that weren’t designed to work yet end up working better than if they were regardless. There will also be a controller designed for tablet, essentially a larger, more traditional looking controller that doesn’t look as good attached to a phone but will probably provide a better experience with a tablet or a device hooked up to a large screen.
Just promise me one thing people, if this looks interesting, read through our game controller guide to see what you’re missing with products and solutions that you could get right now.[Engadget]