PhoneJoy Play expandable controller | The future of mobile gaming
The bane of mobile gaming isn’t its casual approach or the lack of blockbuster graphics, but rather the constraints that touchscreen controls put on the actual gameplay. When games work well on a touchscreen, it’s generally because the design was done with those controls in mind. With the Play controller PhoneJoy Solutions intends to help the mobile gaming arena break from the usual slew of touch games and open it up to more complex titles.
The Play extends from the middle and is adjustable to smartphones of all shapes and sizes, as well as both iOS and Android operating systems. It also works as a standalone controller — compatible with Windows, OS X, and Linux — if you are interested in non-mobile gaming. The Play even works when a smartphone is connected to a larger display or projector.
The Play can house smartphones up to 153mm wide and 14mm thick, and has a wireless range of up to 30 feet. It comes with 14 programmable buttons, two pressure-sensitive analog sticks, and a battery that lasts more than 20 hours. It also sports BlueTooth 3.0, and is currently supported by more than 300 games on iOS and Android.
Setup is fairly simple for both iOS and Android. For Android, players will require at least Android 2.1, and will connect the controller, load the PlayJoy app, follow the app’s simple pairing instructions. For iOS, players simply need to turn on the controller, activate iCade mode — one of four specific compatibility modes for the controller — and then pair and connect the controller in the iOS settings. For Windows, OS X, and Linux, pairing just requires one of those four specific modes. PhoneJoy also provides similar pairing methods to get the controller working with jailbroken devices.
A pledge of $50 is the minimum that’ll net you a controller, whereas a $499 pledge will get you a controller that is fully customized to your specifications (within reason). The project was put up today, so go check it out if you want to help the rise of hardcore games on mobile devices, or if you just really need a PC gaming controller that has the benefit of working with your phone.
The Play most likely won’t be responsible for more complicated games suddenly appearing on mobile devices, but the only way to get them to appear is to provide a way they could work — and touchscreen controls just aren’t enough.