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Y-Combinator and Kickstarter Backs Coco Controller, May Kill Gaming Portables

Radford C. Aug 15, 2012 0

The Coco Controller

We’ve always reached a fever pitch when it came down to mobile games vs. portable debate. But the Coco Controller may change all this if its Kickstarter project meets its goal of $175k to build and distribute the controllers. As of this writing, the project has reached $16k in 2 days. If the rate of crowdsourcing the peripheral continues the trend, we could potentially see the project meet its pledged goals within the next two weeks.

The best part of this project is that it isn’t limited to iPhones or specific smartphones. The philosophy behind the project includes making it available and adjustable for any type of multitouch smartphone – which most of them are nowadays.

Kickstarter excerpt:

coco controller – Let’s Level Up Mobile Gaming

coco is a phone case that turns your mobile phone into a true handheld gaming platform. Smart phones have put everything in the palm of your hand – your social network, your contacts, your calendars – but they have not yet provided the immersive gaming experience we see on other platforms because there are no physical buttons. There are good handheld gaming consoles on the market, but it just doesn’t make sense to buy them when you already have a phone that’s capable. coco can make gaming on your phone a console level experience for the price of a typical iPhone case.

We’ve kept things simple: step 1) put phone into coco and step 2) play one of our many compatible games with it. Coco works through the audio jack and does not need a battery. But most importantly, coco has the gaming developer community behind it. By the time you get coco in your hands, there will be hundreds–hopefully thousands–of awesome games you can play with it.

Real Games Need Real Buttons

We’ve grown up playing games with real, tactile buttons, but with the recent trend towards touch only interfaces, many games are less precise and, in turn, less engaging. We don’t blame them for fitting the hardware, but we think we can save them from the perils of virtual controls and free up screen real estate for more gaming.

coco has all of the physical buttons you’re used to, including both an analog stick and a directional pad. By having an analog stick as well as the d-pad, we make sure that you can play any game with the case – not just arcade games. And we’ve put special thought into the analog stick/d-pad combo. The analog stick is low profile, but provides great control and is comfortable to use. The directional pad is capable of 8 directions, but we’ve learned from past commercial controllers and it’s also super responsive when you only need 4. You can play pretty much any game in the app store that requires joysticks with this control scheme.

We realize this is probably the most critical part of the whole case, so we’d love to have a dialogue with you, the community, on what you want (see stretch goals below).

Games Matter

The gaming community has been overwhelmingly supportive of coco. The number one thing we hear from developers is that past controllers have been too pricey yet lack an ergonomic control scheme and build quality. When we share with them our designs (audio jack, no battery, button layout, highest quality buttons), they’re already impressed. When they hear the price, they’re ecstatic.

Beginning a dialogue with a developer, coordinating with them, and forging a path towards support of a typical SDK is usually both arduous and time consuming. So, to have over 30 hand-selected games already signed up before we even make the controller available to customers is a testament to where coco is going. Right now, we’re talking with a ton of other studios and with a successful KS campaign, we hope to have hundreds – if not thousands – of more games by the time coco ships. That is why your support is so critical beyond just a “pre-order”: you are sending a message to game developers that you are ready for mobile gaming to evolve.

Via »Kickstarter