PAX East 2013

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MOGA Controllers

24 March 2013 | Reporting by Robert J. Pion, with foreword by Maxxum

When Rob and I saw the Moga booth giving away free Moga Pocket controllers, there was a slight pause in our conversation as we made the connection between something free, and something that works well, very well - in contrast to other free products given away that week. It appeared that BDA (the company that merchandising Moga controllers) was putting faith that any money lost by giving away free controllers will be returned to them as enough people get jealous when they see how good these controllers are in the hands of their friends, and I'm inclined to think they'll be successful. Robert Pion interviewed Steve Cherrier, Account Director at Step3 who represented Moga/BDA at PAX.

Steve: So, this is the Moga Pocket, it's been out in the market for almost a year. You've got your action buttons, your dual-analog sticks, your triggers, and it has a rubberized section in the back. ... it runs on bluetooth, on Android 2.3 or higher, it's got the Moga arm - it can easily secure and fit your smartphone. It's got about 60 compatible games, and every month we're coming out with new games. So, some of the biggest out there like 'GTA: Vice City', 'Dark Knight Rises', 'Nova 3', and if you're into old school type of games we've got 'Pac-man', from Namco, and 'Sonic CD'.

Moga Pocket

Rob: Do you have other developers on board for you, or is it a small list right now and you're trying to reach out?

Steve: Every month we're going to EA, Activision, Warner Brothers... we're traveling and getting new games on board - next month we have 'Need For Speed' as well.

Rob: Are you going to be coming out with a tablet version?

Steve: It works with any Android device ... you can lower the [holding] clip and play. This is a version called the Moga Pro ... it's going to be available on April 15th, what we really wanted to do here was get the XBOX/PS3 gamer that's used to playing with a controller for years now, and we did the dual-analog sticks, the directional pad, we have action buttons as well. We've got triggers, and shoulder buttons.

What we did differently [than the previous version Moga Pocket] is we integrated a rechargeable battery in this controller, so you have 15 hours of game-play. Works the same, bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet.

Moga Pro

Rob: Is this connected to charge the USB or wall outlet?

We're going to provide that [USB] cable, and in the bundle it comes with a cable and a tablet stand as well .


Rob's Comments:

My impressions of the MOGA Mobile gaming System for Android 2.3+ devices is that it has a surprisingly good build quality, and is comfortable to hold and game with, especially for the $39.99-$49.99 retail price point.

At first glance, the controller is a reminder of preferred present day controllers from the current big game consoles, just a bit smaller, and more portable. With the addition of the designed rubberized grips below, and ergonomic shaping, it just feels right despite its smaller size. The button layout is all too familiar, so you won't be lost there either.

I tried ours with a major manufacturer's larger screened android phone, and it didn't feel top heavy at all. When slid in MOGA's folding retractable holder, it felt well balanced. It felt as if the phone was part of the system when clipped in place. Selecting a first person shooter game to really check the systems responsiveness.

MOGA is a really great addition to the smart phone, or tablet user, wanting to take full advantage of the untapped gaming power in their new android devices on the go. You'll almost forget you're not playing on a console, especially if your phone has an HDMI port to plug into a HDTV. The expanding clip holder just folds away and becomes part of the design of the controller when nothing is in the clip holder.

Battery life is reported to be about 18 hours with two AAA batteries on the model tested, and comes with a download code for a free game. Ours was Sonic. The game controller will come with a handy leatherette pouch to carry it in. It's even embroidered with the orange MOGA logo, just to let others know you're serious about gaming on your new android OS device (sold separately).

So fold it up, stick it in your back pocket or backpack, and you're ready to game anywhere you go. Now if I could just keep my power hungry phone charged.

For more about Moga Controllers, and upcoming releases, visit their site here.

Photos by Maxxum