I hate on-screen game controls; there I said it. Granted, not everyone minds them, but as gaming goes mobile, there has to be a better solution than covering up an already small screen with your fingers just to move around and shoot some aliens. Nyko has the right idea, debuting its PlayPad products for phones and tablets running Android 3.0 or better. The controllers arrive this fall at a yet to be determined price.
The PlayPad and PlayPad Pro use Bluetooth as the connection and were developed in conjunction with Nvidia; that’s not surprising given Nvidia’s core competency in graphics chips as evidenced by the 12 GPU cores in Tegra 3. I literally just took delivery of a new review unit, a 7.7-inch tablet from Toshiba that uses a Tegra 3 chip,and immediately started gaming. As I saw in my review of the Asus Transformer Prime, another Tegra 3 product, graphics are smooth and detailed. But of course, I’m not seeing some of them because my hands are in the way.
The PlayPad products will alleviate that problem when they arrive, offering traditional D-Pads, analog sticks and buttons; PlayPad is a more compact version of the PlayPad Pro. Nyko hasn’t announced prices yet, but I’m already interested. My time using an Xbox 360 controller with the Transformer Prime showed that adding true gaming controls makes for a world of difference and a more console-like gaming experience. Towards the end of this video look at the Prime: you can see how enjoyable the gaming experience is with a controller.