The Moga mobile gaming controller debuts on Oct. 21 in 7,000 stores, according to PowerA.
Woodinville, Wash.-based PowerA designed the $49.99 Moga controller for hardcore game fans who want to play mobile games with the precision of console-like controllers, said JJ Richards, the divisional vice president for PowerA. The controller turns any Android tablet or smartphone into a gaming system. It has dual-analog sticks that make it possible to play first-person shooter and racing titles on portable devices.
Consumers can preorder the Moga (Moga stands for mobile gaming) system now via online retailers, including Amazon.com, Toysrus.com, Best Buy.com, Walmart.com, and PowerA.com. Moga will be available in Toys ‘R Us, select Best Buy stores, and more than 2,000 T-Mobile stores starting in November.
“As the ultimate destination for kid-friendly electronics, Toys ‘R Us is pleased to add Moga to our growing assortment of innovative gaming options,” said Joe Campos, an electronics buyer at Toys ‘R Us in the U.S.
Moga has attracted support from mobile developers and publishers who want to bring console-like precision and control to their Android phone and tablet-based games. Touchscreens are fun, but they’re not great for controlling traditional games, as your fingers cover half the screen when you’re swiping. With Moga, you can see the whole screen, and developers can remove touch-oriented user interface elements that clog your view of the action. Supporters include Gameloft, Atari, Namco Bandai, Sega, Remedy Entertainment, and others. PowerA has provided developers with a software development kit so they can Moga-enable their games.
Richards demoed the system for me, and I played for a bit. I had a hard time driving straight in the Wipeout game, but Richards took over and showed me that the problem was operator error, not a problem with the controller. I eventually got the hang of it. At that point, it pretty much felt like a console experience. I also played an Android version of Remedy’s Death Rally game. I was pretty uncoordinated at that one, too. But my clumsiness aside, the controller feels pretty solid. I finally got the hang of the controller while playing a tennis game. Richards noted that phones often get hot to the touch when playing games.
“We’re pretty sure that it’s a lot more comfortable to play with Moga than a touchscreen,” said Richards. “There’s a lot less fatigue, and it is cool to the touch. That means you’ll play longer.”
The controller comes with the free downloadable Moga Pivot App, which makes it easy to browse through the library or look for new games. It also comes with a soft case. Retailers will also bundle two games, Sonic CD and Pac-Man, for free with the controller for a limited time.
The Moga controller is pocket-sized and portable, and it connects via Bluetooth wireless. It has dual-analog sticks, two shoulder buttons, four action buttons, and standard Start and Select buttons. Moga will support Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) devices and up. It can get 18 hours of gameplay with two AAA batteries. Check out a video demo of Richards playing with the Moga controller below.
JJ Richards shows off MOGA from VentureBeat on Vimeo.