Android Central

While Ouya is trying valiantly to create a new Android-based home gaming console, a new start-up founded by the guys behind Guitar Hero is trying to see if your existing device can do the job. Today Green Throttle released a software developer kit that will enable Android devs to map games to their Bluetooth hardware controllers. Once an Android phone or tablet is plugged into a TV over HDMI, users will be able to play games just as they would on any other traditional console. You'll even be able to play with two separate controllers for the real multiplayer experience. When out of the house, players will be able to continue playing the same game with standard on-screen controls. An on-device app will enable discovery of compatible games and quick access to any existing favorites. 

It sounds promising, and with devices with 1080p displays becoming more prevalent, games that properly take advantage of the high resolution won't look bad at all on the big screen. Of course, optimizing titles for TV isn't something all developers will have the resources to do, nevermind going through the trouble to map in proprietary controls. On the upside, Green Throttle will be making some of their own games within the framework, which should set a solid bar for what to expect from other devs and provide at least a few titles for end-users to enjoy. I'm also worried that not every player is going to have a phone powerful enough to play a wide selection of high-end games optimized for 1080p. For those that do, a real, solid, controller will be more viable than on-screen controls for some game types, like first-person shooters and racing games. 

Developers can get testing with the hardware controllers by pre-ordering two controllers with connectors for $89.95, with shipments heading out December 12. The included HD connectors are compatible with the Galaxy Nexus, One X, Galasy S2, and Galaxy Note. The SDK can be downloaded from the Green Throttle developer page. Any developers interested in giving this a shot? Gamers, are you willing to pitch in for an Ouya system, or would you just as soon see if your phone or tablet could do just as well? How many of you already use separate Bluetooth hardware controllers for your Android games? 

 
There are 13 comments

vawwyakr says:

Sounds awesome, the question I have is how is this all that different than what we have now? I already have a gamepad that I can play some Android games with, all that needs to happen is to have more devs support the concept and devices.

I'm all for someone pushing that adoption but not sure why we need a separate ecosystem to do it. Throw in Miracast that is built into Android 4.2 and all you need to do is have your phone sitting next to you, use it as you normally would to start up the game/pair the display and then grab your controller and go.

I think the idea is fantastic but I don't see why we have these companies like Ouya and Green throttle trying to make it into something proprietary. I don't see what that gets me?

I agree totally with you. Now by having all these different proprietary gaming devices and software technologies, android not only has fragmentation among it's own devices, but now it's peripherals and gaming apps will be fragmented as well. I think that google needs to come up with one universal standard for gaming peripherals. Not to control the design of the devices, but just the technology and software that runs them. Kind of like what Microsoft did with the xbox 360 controller compatibility for pc. "If you are going to utilize gamepads, then you must at least utilize this technology as well". You could use any additional technology you wanted, as long as you support the standard tech upfront. I know Android is an open platform, but there should be some base minimum stardards and requirements that should be supported also, so that everyone, with any device, can enjoy these features without having to either go out and purchase a new and expensive device or have to do without the features all together.

This sounds kinda neat. Could actually be promising if the game developers join in with their support. I'm a little curious about one thing though. If you are playing a game on your phones 720p display, wouldn't it be able to automatically scale to whatever screen size as long as the resolution on the phone and the external display match? It seems like there wouldn't even be a need to scale the apps up. Isn't a 720p display the same 720p no matter what size the display? Seems like you could just let the MHL feature of the phone do all the scaling. The only modifying to the game really should be the gamepad support, and to add two player split screen or use a feature similar to the ps3/vita combination. If, in fact, it is as easy as I'm making it seem then I think the game devs will jump on the opportunity to release compatible software. It seems like the trend is that the easier you make it for game developers to adapt their software to or create new software for a feature like this then the more they will be willing to support this. Then the more game developers support this the more the consumers will be purchasing devices and peripherals that have features like this. I do understand that not all phones will be capable of utilizing this new feature, because not all phones are equipped with strong gpu's. This is why Google needs to set up a standard on device types, for example; entry level phones, media phones, and high performance/gaming phones. It would be similar to the options that have been around for years on pc's. If you want hardware capable of playing high end games, make sure to purchase a phone with a capable gpu. Those catagories already exist partially, but they aren't marketed correctly. The general knowledge is that if you buy an android phone then you have access to all the features of android. That is not even close to being true. So many of my friends have bought cheap Android phones only to find out that they can't play games or run high quality apps on them. Then they get disgruntled and think that android phones are no good and quickly decide that another phone platform is better. Android phones should be marketed for what features they are designed for, not how they are now, that when you get an android phone, no matter which one it is, that you get all the features that android provides. This is misleading to the average consumer and really hurts android's reputation.

movielover76 says:

I agree, It's amazing how many friends with low cost or free Android phones are aggravated when they can't play the latest game, or thier phone is a little sluggish when they really push the phone.

Since Android is open to being put on a wide array of hardware, just like a pc. It should be sold that way. Categories like

Light User - calls, text, web browsing, social media and Angry birds type gaming.
Average User - same stuff, but more power better cpu for multitasking and pushing the smart phone.
Heavy user / gamer - Latest games and heavy multitasking.

So my ideas aren't too far fetched or unimaginable? Finally someone shares my thoughts on this issue.

Uh, we don't need another company creating another ecosystem for devs to conform to. Why can't all devs just code their games to work with generic bluetooth controllers?

Suntan says:

Agreed.

If they want to package and sell a controller, that's great. But don't go making a new framework when the current standard isn't even used much by developers.

-Suntan

movielover76 says:

It's not a bad idea, but I think Ouya has more potential as a game changer in the gaming industry.

Games made for green thunder will have to deal with all sorts of different hardware and compatibility issues. Not to mention the fact that for most using plugging their smartphone into their tv is something they've never done.

Ouya on the other hands feels and acts like a console, plug it in once, games can be optimized for the specific hardware in the Ouya. Plus it has potential for other applications like media centers.

I'd rather spend the money on an Ouya than this.

youareme7 says:

i do really want to be able to use a controller for games, especially with FPS games. As long as I don't have to buy their controller this will be good since i'm already on the kickstarter for the icontrolpad2.

FireyFate says:

I already do this... I have my Asus Transformer TF300 paired over Bluetooth with a PS3 controller. HDMI out is there and I play Shadowgun on my 50" TV.

FireyFate says:

**double post**

BaMaDuDe87 says:

I'm with others, how is this any different than what is out there now?

Except for having and SDK to work with I did this on Evo Desktop PC almost two years ago. Not sure why this is news?