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They Could Have Been Contenders: Why iPhone Game Controllers Suck

on Thursday, Jan. 16th

What could have been one of the most exciting developments in mobile gaming this year has so far turned into a colossal disappointment. I’m talking about the controllers that have been released for Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

There are two kinds: those that fit around iPhones/iPod touch devices, turning them into something that resembles the old Atari Lynx, and standalone Bluetooth controllers. Both kinds have been coming in at around $100 and the reviews have been savage.

How could a no brainer go so wrong? 9 to 5 Mac dug in and found that Apple’s own quality controls on the “MFi” program are shooting themselves in the foot:

One issue is that Apple’s MFi program requires manufacturers to source their pressure sensitive analog switches for buttons and thumbsticks from a single Apple approved supplier. An employee of Logitech that worked on the project expressed disappointment with the buttons compared to the company’s other gamepads and noted its first controller, the PowerShell, was put together in haste.

The first impression has been sour, but that doesn’t mean the game is over. Not yet.

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