SteelSeries is the latest company to give you more control over your iOS games.
The gaming-peripheral maker is launching its Stratus Wireless Gaming Controller for Bluetooth-enabled Apple iOS devices. The controller is meant to give gamers an advantage on rivals who use the inferior touchscreens for games such as first-person shooters.
The controller is a mini-version of a standard console game controller, complete with analog joysticks and all the standard buttons. It’s one of many such devices on the market, but it’s also one of the first that enables you to use a controller with an Apple device.
SteelSeries, a maker of gaming peripherals, is unveiling the device at the 2014 International CES, the huge tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.
With last fall’s release of iOS 7 software, Apple enabled game controllers to work with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity on iOS devices such as the iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad Mini. The device is Apple MFi-certified, meaning you can use it as a controller on Apple devices. You can also play via Wi-Fi.
I used the controller to play the wonderfully addictive Touch Tanks 5 Online game by FlipSide5. On the iPad Mini, I could use two fingers to control the tank, one to maneuver it in a direction and move at the same time, and another finger to tap the screen and fire. But it was easy to make a mistake with my firing finger by accidentally making the turret of the tank turn when I didn’t want to. I would often come in third or fourth place in a multiplayer match.
Then I tried the controller. I was able to consistently come in first or second. And I didn’t accidentally make the turret move anymore. That’s a pretty big competitive advantage for that kind of game.
The controller also has a protective cover on the back that also servers as a grip. It will be available in black or white, and hundreds of games are currently compatible with iOS 7. It has a battery life of 10 hours and takes about two hours to charge via a USB cable.
SteelSeries is selling the controller for $100 via the SteelSeries website and Apple.com. It will be in Apple stores on Jan. 22. It competes with rival controllers from Moga and Logitech.