KOREAN ELECTRONICS MAKER Samsung has announced a game controller for smartphones.
The Samsung Gamepad is compatible with all Android phones running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and above, though Samsung said that it is specifically optimised for Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and above. It features an eight-way D-Pad, two analogue sticks, four action buttons, two trigger buttons, a Select button and a Play button.
The Play button is a link to the Samsung App Store selling console optimised games at "reasonable prices". The Gamepad uses Bluetooth 3.0, but can also pair via NFC and even cast gaming onto the big screen using Samsung Allshare. Although there are a number of Chinese imports available, this is the first time a major player has brought an Android game controller to the table.
Samsung said 35 games are available through the Play button at launch with more to come in 2014. Launch titles include Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Asphalt 8, Modern Combat 4, Virtua Tennis Challenge, and Prince of Persia. These are in addition to existing games from Google Play.
Samsung is keen to tout this new device as an alternative to buying a more expensive console such as an Xbox One or Playstation 4 (PS4), and while we're not really sure if it can match them, we can certainly see the advantages of a device like this over Android game consoles such as the Ouya or Gamestick.
The device is already available for pre-order at Expansys for £89.99. At present there is no date attached to it, and Samsung is only committing to "the coming weeks" as the timeframe for availability.
As it's a device with a steel casing, Samsung clearly is not aiming this at the budget market, and if its functionality matches its specifications, it could be one to watch in 2014. µ