Apple’s iOS devices—the iPod touch, the iPhone, and iPad—might have carved out a major niche for themselves in the portable gaming world, but every console player knows there’s just no comparison between touchscreen and motion sensor controls and an honest-to-goodness console-style controller with joysticks, triggers, a D-Pad, and two-handed ergonomic goodness. To that end, 60beat has unveiled the 60beat GamePad, a console-style game controller for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, which can connect to any iOS device via its headphone jack—and works without batteries. The GamePad features two analog joysticks, ten action buttons, a classic D-Pad, and comes with an audio splitter so users can use the GamePad and their headphones simultaneously.
Of course, there’s a catch: since games have to be coded to specifically suport the GamePad, it suffers from a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem: right now only two iOS games work with the GamePad. 60beat claims as many as 60 games should work with the unit by February.
The GamePad works with the iPhone 4 and 4S, both the original iPad and the iPad 2, along with the fourth-generation iPod touch. Because the GamePad connects via the headphone jack rather than the dock connector, users can charge their iOS devices while playing.
The GamePad controller may not be the most portable thing in the world—it’s hard to see even the most serious gamer carting one of these along with their iPhone for a little entertainment on the train—but it may fill a niche for PC and console gamers who wish they could get a little more serious with their iOS gaming—so long as serious games eventually support the GamePad.
The 60beat GamePad is available now for $49.99.