21 iPhone Accessories That Make Gaming More Fun, Give or Take 16?
A little over five years ago when the iPhone was released, Jobs and Apple overhauled the entire mobile phone industry in one fell swoop. A simple yet elegant device delivered every feature we not only wanted but also did not know we desired. The iPhone gave Apple the foothold it needed to gain an advantage in areas outside of the mobile industry. Companies like Windows and Dell struggled while RIM was left as a shell of its former self. Needless to say, the iPhone revolutionized personal communication devices.
While these technological changes occurred, cultural changes also started to take place. Prior to the iPhone’s release, wearing headphones had a negative stigma. Even today, older generations still have that mentality. The common individual wouldn’t be caught dead with bright white headphones dangling around and out of their ears. As the adoption of iPhones increased, white earbuds started to earn their place as part of a daily accessory similar to glasses, watches, or even ear piercings. Society began to realize that headphones were functional and soon they became more accepted as part of the norm. Companies took note of this shift, and the headphone industry started to blossom. From 2008 to 2009, headphone exports from China outperformed the 14.4% decrease in the overall export market and actually increased by 38.11%. Once again, Apple’s ripples extend far out from its center.
The iPhone has gone through many iterations and so has its sibling products – the Touch and iPad. The hardware and performance have reached a level where mobile gaming has reached new heights. Whereas many of the older console game developers struggle to make money, mobile developers are flourishing. Over $12 billion was generated in 2011 in mobile gaming alone. Even though there has been tremendous growth stemming from console/pc-to-mobile converts and new studios, a few genres of games have been lacking. Previously, this had to do with the hardware and displays on iPhones. However, after the most recent refresh with Retina Display and faster processors, one of the last reaming problems is the lack of controls that allows for the similar experience that many hardcore console gamers have come to love. When your fingers take up 10 to 20% of the viewing area, developers are finding it hard to make engaging hardcore game wish complex controls like they can on their console counterparts. As a result, some companies have tried to solve this problem with a variety of devices.
1. The GameWheel
For racing games, a company called iSound released the GameWheel. It’s a nifty device that allows users to put their phone in the middle of a steering wheel. While it removes the need to surround the phone with a user’s hands, the screen spaces becomes encroached once any buttons need to be pushed.
2. The Pinball Magic
Some other novel accessories are the Pinball Magic mini pinball machine. I like this device because it actually charges and syncs to your iPhone; unfortunately, you are restricted to a single app and miss out on many of the other pinball-style apps out there. My personal favorite, Pinball Maniacs, check it out!
3. The appBlaster
Another accessory is the appBlaster by Apptoyz. appBlaster allows you to set up your phone and use the blaster to actually interact with your game. Again the recurring theme of compatibility is ran into. There are only 9 games that you can play with the appBlaster.
4. The Controller
Another popular category of iPhone gaming accessories is the controller. There are too many types of controllers out there to discuss all of them, but they all fall under the same general category. For instance, the JoyPad Bluetooth syncs your iPhone to an iPad. Despite the novelty, it requires the user to own both an iPhone and iPad. Also, it does not deliver any tactile response that many hardcore gamers are looking for.
The 60Beat Gamepad is a controller that you can actually plugin via the headphone jack. The controller is great and looks very much like a Playstation controller. However, the problem is that a user would have to find a place to set up their iDevice in order to play via the controller. Playing on the bus or anywhere else other than home would not be feasible, making the entire gaming experience cumbersome.
One other “controller” option that I like are the different stickies that you can attach to your screen. The button/controller combo does a great job in delivering the tactile feedback that I’ve been seeking. Additionally, it is compatible with many other games since it doesn’t require an additional SDK like the other options. Unfortunately, they do take up lots of screen real estate.
The biggest problems for any of these devices are the support and adoption. The market is so fragmented with different SDKs and different solutions. Rumor has it that Apple has been internally developing a peripheral gaming device for its iDevices. I see this as a next possible step for Apple as it would give them more control over the quality of the entire gaming experience and unify developers with one common SDK.