KickStarter Spotlight: iMpulse Game Controller

KickStarter Spotlight: iMpulse Game Controller

Oct 17, 2012

Now, I am not a big mobile gamer. I enjoy the simple, cerebral puzzlers just as much as the next man but when it comes to some of the huge action titles that are now available for Android or iOS I would much rather play their brethren on my 43″ TV as opposed to my smartphone that is 1/10 the size. The other problem I have with hardcore mobile gaming is the lack of physical buttons. Trying to aim a gun without tactile mouse or stick is hard and no matter what some people say, not very intuitive. Besides, the screen is small as it is, why try to clog it up with my thick sausage thumbs.

There are Bluetooth remotes out there and most games of this genre are compatible with these. The problem here is that it really negates the mobility of a smartphone. The biggest selling point from the gaming aspect is that the phone is with you 24/7 and is able to be quickly taken out and enjoyed while waiting in line or on the train. By introducing a giant controller that has to be consciously packed into a bag or purse, the mobility is suddenly constricted. No more can the phone just be complete in the pocket of a jacket; these full sized controllers cannot be comfortably thrown in a pocket because they are just too big.

Like all KickStarter blogs I do here, I now present a solution to this problem. Welcome, iMpulse, a tiny rectangular controller that is small enough to comfortably fit on any keychain. iMpulse was specifically designed to go onto keychains because they are with the player constantly. Anytime they leave the house their keys must go with them along with the phone; meaning that at anytime, gaming with a controller is possible. At about the width of an average palm iMpulse is small but it does not seem too small where it would be frustrating or unusable. Oh, and did I mention that it will help locate lost keys? For me, as forgetful as they come, this is almost more than worth the price of the whole device, gaming notwithstanding.

The only thing that makes me leery of the iMpulse is the lack of a second analog stick. The whole device basically is a 4 button NES controller with an analog stick in place of the traditional d-pad. Being a person who owned the older PSP for a number of years, I can attest to how hard it is to play a FPS without dual analog sticks. I am not quite sure if or how the design team plans on marketing the iMpulse but from their video they do not seem too concerned with marketing to the FPS crowd as most of the games they demoed were more traditional, less complicated mobile games.

If the iMpulse sounds interesting be sure to check out their KickStarter page for more information and possibly donate to the cause and get a pre-order for a pretty generous discount.

GameStop Launching an Android Tablet – Could it be a Hub for Streaming Gaming?

GameStop Launching an Android Tablet – Could it be a Hub for Streaming Gaming?

Sep 13, 2011

The hip thing to do nowadays is for retailers to sell their own Android tablets. Barnes & Noble is doing it with the Nook Color. Amazon’s about to launch their own. And now, GameStop is about to launch one? At first glance this may not make sense, but there are parallels and reasons that make this make sense for GameStop, and why their tablet could be very interesting.

While games and books have been at war for decades as the latter is seen as a ‘classier’ entertainment choice than gaming is, consider the running threads between book retailers and a game retailer like GameStop. Both have peddled largely in distribution of a physical product that is now at risk of disappearing due to the advantages of digital distribution. In a an attempt to make sure that if and when physical distribution becomes unviable, book and game retailers need to latch on to digital distribution mechanisms. Barnes & Noble and Amazon have done so with their Nook and Kindle services respectively, and are launching Android tablets to help support sales of them, with stores for selling apps through them. Why can’t GameStop do the same thing? I’m not just talking about selling games through their own app store. I’m talking about what  they could do with their Spawn Labs and Impulse holdings.

Spawn Labs is a company known for their Spawn HD-720 box that allows players to hook up their consoles and play over the internet on any computer. Impulse is a game streaming service similar to OnLive and Gaikai, that GameStop owns and operates. Especially as PC gaming has been taken over by digital distribution, GameStop has been looking for their own entry point into this market. Why not have it be through a low-cost Android tablet? Sell a device that doesn’t have to be excessively powerful, just powerful enough to handle the streams of games that GameStop would offer, be they Impulse PC games or Spawn console games. Bundle it with a controller, and Offer AV and HDMI outputs, and players have a device that could be hooked up to any TV, easily, with the ability to play their games anywhere. It would also serve as an anchor for Spawn and Impulse services, as people would be more likely to shell out for games and devices on that service rather than OnLive, Gaikai, or even purchasing them on Steam. It would be a great way to introduce people to the service without any difficulty. In short, it could be the killer hook that GameStop needs to help launch their service, and give people a reason to buy their tablet.

Source: Joystiq