iPhone gets its first officially licensed controller

Moga's Ace Power controller utilizes the new framework built into iOS 7 and gives any iPhone 5 or 5th gen iPod Touch console-like controls

PS4 and Xbox One may be the focus right now, but for some consumers the iPhone in their pocket is good enough for games. That "good enough" experience can now be taken a step further for players who'd rather have the precision of a game controller over a touch screen. Moga, which has created mobile controllers for Android devices, is now selling its Ace Power controller through Apple and its own online store. It retails for $99.99 and is compatible with any iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, and iPod touch (5th generation) running iOS 7.

The Ace Power looks very similar to an Xbox 360 controller and its design allows it to collapse when not in use for better portability. It plugs in to the iPhone's Lightning connector and doesn't need to use a Bluetooth connection (as was the case with previous Android controllers). Additionally, it includes a built-in 1800 mAh battery featuring "Moga Boost" technology, which charges the iPhone during gameplay, enabling longer sessions.

"Moga controllers were built for real gaming by real gamers," said Eric Bensussen, President and Co-Founder of PowerA. "We're excited to deliver Moga Ace Power to iPhone and iPod touch users in time for the holidays and have them experience the precision, console-style controls that promise to revolutionize the gaming experience on these devices."

For console genres that have been adapted to mobile with clumsy touch screen controls, such as first-person shooters, platformers and racers, the Ace Power is likely to be advantageous. Moga said it's expecting "a flood of game developers to take advantage of controller support."

Update: It's worth noting that the Logitech PowerShell launches today as well, but it does not feature any analog sticks and it's also $100.

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Latest comments (14)

Steven Hodgson Programmer, Code in Progress Ltd5 years ago
$99 are you frakking kidding me?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Steven Hodgson on 20th November 2013 4:20pm

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James Brightman Editor, North America, GamesIndustry.biz5 years ago
Yeah $99 seems a bit much, I agree.
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Good to see an effort being made to bring buttons to touch devices for gaming, but this doesn't look like something I'd pay for. I'd rather just bring a 3DS/Vita/GBA with me.
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Show all comments (14)
Any price is better than the built in "controls" with the phone. I want to see the screen, not my thumbs when I play.
A controller makes it easier to add more uses for the phone as well a better gaming device. Nice job!!
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I like the idea. That's a bit of a steep price though considering I can plug in my existing XBox 360 controller (or indeed mouse) into my android phone. The trick is convincing developers to support controllers as well as touch though.
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Benn Achilleas CEO and Founder, Playabl5 years ago
There is a great Jailbreak app that let's you use your PS3 controller for iphone/ ipad and it works flawlessly. Obviously it will never be released because of the utterly ridiculous patent battles going on that do nothing to help the industry or the consumer.

This controller is pointless. Ignoring the argument of adding buttons to a touch device being counter to it's original proposition, a $99 price tag puts this outside of the justifiable purchase levels for most casual gamers. This means it won't have a big enough user base to justify specific controls for it in apps, so it will be a token add-on or inclusion - like a Kinect was/is - so it fails to justify the investment.

And seriously, $99 for a control pad? I can buy a console for that.
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Sean Kauppinen Founder & CEO, IDEA5 years ago
Sorry - the PR person needs to be shot for submitting those quotes. They're excited for people to experience the experience of real gaming for real gamers. That's just pure crap writing.
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Jed Ashforth Senior Game Designer, Immersive Technology Group, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe5 years ago
So with different controllers like this, do devs have to support multiple types or is it a common set of drivers to rule them all?
Surely Phone users who invest that much to make their phone feel like a real handheld are going to expect a first-class play experience with it out of the box, and the hard truth is that without bespoke tuning for each controller a game supports, it's never going to make an 'Oceanhorn' suddenly play as sweetly as a 'Zelda' (for example) that's been designed from the ground up around a single controller.

Seems to me it's pricing itself out of consideration - It would have a tough job to sell at that price if it was already guaranteed 100% compatible with every title you threw at it, and it won't ever get near that level of support if nobody buys it because of the price. It's not like there can't be cheaper options (certainly there are on Android). Surely it's only going to be either the cheapest or most widely supported devices that can expect to be successful in this space?
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Dave Wolfe Game Developer, Cosmic Games5 years ago
I don't think it's pointless to sell gamepads for phones, PC's and consoles have had 3rd party controllers for a long, long time. My PC's "original proposition" is keyboard and mouse, so was it pointless to buy a game pad and a flight stick? Or what about adding steering wheel and pedals to my PS3? Why is touch so sacred that alternative (and arguably better) inputs shouldn't even be attempted? And it might not entice casual gamers, but I think it's pretty obvious that this is intended for more hardcore gamers. You don't need a gamepad for Candy Crush Saga or Angry Birds.

iOS 7 finally added native gamepad support, and Android has had native gamepad support for a while. It's still up to the developers to actually make use of it, but you don't have to program support for specific gamepads.
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Peter Bond Studying Art & Design, University of Bedfordshire5 years ago
i will await for controllers that cost less than $40, they'll come, eventually! ;)
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up5 years ago
20 sounds about right for this.
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Dave Wolfe Game Developer, Cosmic Games5 years ago
There are already cheaper controllers, but I don't know if any of them support iOS 7 controller api yet. I think the reason this and the powershell are so expensive is because they also have a 1800mAh (1500 in the powershell) battery that recharges your phone as you play (the phone battery is 1570 mAh). The cheaper gamepads don't have that feature.
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Rod Franklin Game Designer, Concept Specialist & Business Developer 5 years ago
Personally I am just not that into mobile games to invest $100 into a peripheral, that's the cost of a stand alone device. They are being greedy instead of taking the wise route because all they are doing is setting themselves up for a flop that pushes the business closer to the cliff. Now, if Nintendo comes out with a phone/3DS that would gain my attention and my money over something like this.
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Rod Franklin Game Designer, Concept Specialist & Business Developer 5 years ago
Onlive's Bluetooth controller also works.
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