Talking tech since 2003

When Apple announced support for MFi gamepads way back at WWDC 2013, I thought big things were on the way. Two shoddy products later — yeah, I’m looking at you Logitech and MOGA — we still don’t have a lot to get excited about. Or at least, we didn’t. The wondrous CES has brought forth two more contenders in the iOS game controller battle: the SteelSeries Stratus, and the most recent entrant, the RP One from Signal.

The RP One looks a lot like this bad boy, doesn't it?
The RP One looks a lot like this bad boy, doesn’t it?

The RP One is the first iOS controller I’ve seen and thought, “Yes! I could play with that.” The — ahem — inspiration of the pad is evident; it’s basically an exact clone an Xbox controller, save for the swapped locations of the left joystick and d-pad. That isn’t a bad thing at all, as the Xbox controller is perhaps the best in its class, but there are still a couple of red flags that have me suspicious.

First off, the company. Have you heard of Signal? I have not. And digging around online got me nowhere. This is a company that not a lot of people know about, it seems, and they’re jumping into a brand new market with a product that looks exactly like someone else’s design. It doesn’t exactly scream “trust” as much as it does “back-alley counterfeiting.” But who knows — Signal could prove me wrong on that.

The second is the price, and perhaps there’s something I’m missing, but how has every iOS controller unveiled so far been priced at $100? I can understand that price point for the Logitech product, as it had a built-in battery that also charged the iPhone, but the others? The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers top out at $60, and they’re arguably the best of the bunch. Dropping a Benjamin Franklin for a copycat Xbox controller from a company I’ve never heard of? That doesn’t sound like a wise investment.

There’s no word yet on when we can expect Signal’s RP One to go on sale. And when it does, will there be a larger library of gamepad-supporting iOS games to go along with it? To this point, the pickings have been slim. Perhaps that iPhone/iPad portable gaming utopia I wrote of is farther off than I imagined. Or maybe developers have just been waiting for more controllers to make their way onto the market. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.

[Source: Touch Arcade]

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