Portable gaming has been dominated for years by Nintendo with their various GameBoy mobile consoles. With the rise of smartphones, the market for mobile gaming is changing. The big problem that most of the smartphones have had is lack of dedicated controls. With just a touchscreen to work with, gameplay has suffered because of inaccurate controls and the fact that some of the display is covered by the users fingers that are trying to control the game.
When Apple announced iOS 7 earlier in the year, one of the lesser touted features included with it was support for external game controls. Now that the software has been released to the various iPhone, iPad and iPod devices, peripherals are finally starting to come out that make use of the new feature. Two iPhone game controllers are now available that will convert the device into a dedicated gaming systems. Let’s take a look at what they offer…
MOGA Ace Power
MOGA has been a company that has produced a number of wireless controllers that could connect to Android devices via Bluetooth. While they work, the Bluetooth connection is not flawless as the connection could be lost from time to time which would impact game play performance. For their Apple device, they decided to go with a direct connection via the Lightning connector. The device itself is built to be compact and then expand out when you want to connect the controller to the device.
In terms of the design, it is more compact then their Android based controllers with a shape more akin to a handheld console like the Vita or 3DS than a console controller. It features two analog sticks, a directional pad, four face buttons and four top buttons. Frankly, this is far more controls than most iOS games will likely have but it is nice to see the capability for potential future games. In addition to the buttons, there is an internal 1800mAh battery pack that keeps the device charged for extra running times which is nice as games and quickly drain the device batteries.
I would say the one big drawback to the design is the fact that it does not fully encase the iPhone or iPod. When in use, it almost looks like two controllers on either side attached and the side edges of the device almost completely exposed. In addition to this, there is no headphone port for use with speakers and the case does obscure the speaker ports of the iPhone 5 and iPod Touch. This means a severely reduced audio experience unless you also happen to have a set of Bluetooth headphones.
Pricing for the MOGA Ace Power is $99.99 and available via or .
Note: Many early users of the MOGA report that the controls tend to lock up after several hours of use and will only work again after your press and hold a small reset button on the back. Be aware of this so you don’t think that it is dead.
Logitech PowerShell Controller + Battery
Logitech has been making a big push with their G gaming products and this includes a new game controller for the iPhone 5 and iPod Touch. Unlike the MOGA, the Logitech almost looks like a dedicated case that encloses the entire perimeter of the device. Even though it encases the phone, there is full access to all the iPhone controls and even the camera on the back. This means that it isn’t as awkward to deal with if you happen to get a call while you are in the middle of the game. It still makes it much larger than the base device such that it isn’t going to fit in your pocket anymore.
While the MOGA offers a huge range of buttons and controls, the Logitech PowerShell has a much more limited control setup. It features a single analog direction pad, four face buttons and two shoulder buttons. This means that it will likely have a bit more limited support for some games but it should be plenty for most games as iOS has lacked any official peripheral support until now. In addition to the controllers, it also features a 1500mAh battery which is a bit smaller than the MOGA but it is a slimmer design.
Logitech was sure to allow for the headphone port of the iPhone or iPod to be accessible but in an awkward way. There is an angled adapter that plus into the iPhone or iPad audio jack that then snakes through the PowerShell and out the right hand side. There are also two small ports to help assist with the bottom mounted speakers but they do obstruct and alter the sound a bit.
The PowerShell Controller + Battery is also priced at $99.99 and can be found via , and several other retail outlets.