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iPhone As a PC Game Controller 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-joystick-is-flat dept.
TechCrunch has an article about a startup called iMo, which aims to enable control of any PC game using an iPhone or iPod Touch. The idea is to reduce the need for gaming peripherals while you're on the move, and make motion-control available to more players. Quoting: "The system also features onscreen controls for the iPhone and iPod Touch, as not every PC game will benefit from using things like the accelerometer, obviously. This all works via both Bluetooth and WiFi connections between your device and your computer. The plan is to offer iMo in the App Store for $0.99; the first version should be available new in the App Store. And long-term, the company hopes to make it available on other mobile platforms as well, including Android. And ultimately, they'd love to include support for gaming consoles as well, like the aforementioned Wii, the PS3, and the Xbox 360."
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iPhone As a PC Game Controller

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  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zurd (190663) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @12:12PM (#29441449) Homepage

    Y'know, I was just thinking. I love PC games, but I wish the controls were worse.

    • by rock217 (802738)
      if i had a mod point, you would get it
    • by rant64 (1148751)
      1) Get the most awesome PC game title
      2) Get the even more awesome iPhone controller
      3) ?!??
      4) Lose!
    • by MarkGriz (520778)

      Y'know, I was just thinking. I love PC games, but I wish the controls were worse.

      ... and if only they could be made 10x more expensive and easier to break.

  • With a lack of form-factor to be a proper game controller (no side buttons, poor ergonomics) this just appears to be yet another useless app. Although, it might be decent enough for older games or 2d side scrollers...
    • by Bicx (1042846)
      I guess you could possibly design a case that would make it more ergonomic as a controller. However, at that point, you could just go buy a new controller rather than another $30 iPhone case.
  • 360 Controller (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hadlock (143607) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @12:16PM (#29441509) Homepage Journal

    The off brand (wired - USB port included at no additional cost!) 360 controller at any big box store is only $15-20. A bluetooth!! rumble PS3 controller is $45. I'd rather (and do!) recycle my controllers from game consoles. Most everyone already has one (even if you don't already have a next-gen console), if only to take to a friend's house/dorm room so everyone can play. The chances you'll lose/break an iphone before you do the same to a real console controller is pretty high.

    • meh, back when men were men, we used man sized xbox controllers and had to convert them manually! However i only really use it when running console emulators as i prefer kb+mouse for actual pc games, plugging in 4 xbox controllers for 4 way N64 fun is cool though.

  • by Khashishi (775369)

    what kind of crappy controller it would be without a joystick or tactile buttons

    • by iamhassi (659463)
      And who wants to use their phone like a controller anyway? Controllers take a lot of abuse, would it be a good idea to use your $300 iPhone with no insurance [macrumors.com] as a video game controller?
  • Response Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bicx (1042846) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @12:18PM (#29441541)
    Even with native iPhone/iTouch apps, the touch response leaves a lot to be desired. I often find myself hitting a button several times before the button actually gets pressed. My fingers aren't fat; I just can't seem to get an immediate response maybe 30% of the time. Gaming --particularly PC gaming-- usually assumes that you are using a keyboard/mouse combination, which (at least in my case) allows me to have a faster reaction than even a wired conventional console controller, and PC games are designed wit this in mind. To use the iPhone as a controller interface for a PC FPS seems like an idea destined for failure if the touchscreen can't be calibrated effectively. Aside from that, it is a cool idea.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Im not sure your problem is RESPONSE TIME if you find yourself tapping more than once. I find that with my Touch, it responds fantastically to targetting taps using my index finger (which happens to be kind of pointy... I have a slender build and what some call "artist hands"). If I happen to use my thumb, taps are rarely detected. So something about the tap UI makes "fat thumbs" hard to detect.

  • Who would ever need a PC game controller while 'on the move'? In the only case I can think of (LAN parties), you'd probably want a proper game controller, anyway.
  • Oh boy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @12:26PM (#29441679)

    Gee, I hope Apple's cool with us using their equipment like this.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Another post hyping up iphone. The "there is an app for that" applies to, you know, fucking other platfors too.

    Don't want to spoil the party, but for those on a better and not hyped-up platform, looking for similar (but better) functionality (though I don't see any real purpose of this) can check this out - http://www.gmote.org/ [gmote.org]
    • by E IS mC(Square) (721736) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @12:33PM (#29441805) Journal
      I guess its time for "alreadyonadnroid" (or "alradyon" tag. Just to stop this iphone bullshit.

      I thought /. was different than gizmodo. *sigh*
      • by tsa (15680)

        I had hoped the iPhone was old by now but no, the hype continues on. The Force is strong in this one.

    • I find those adverts more amusing if you take them for what they really mean.
      "Want to share a photo with a shake?"..."We'll charge you for that"
      "Want to search for taxi companies?"..."We'll charge you for that too"

      I thought they had reached a marketing high when they touted cut+paste, but now their advertising slogan is "want to do something on the phone you already paid for...We'll charge you for that!". I mean the same can be said for any platform but the specifics they use in are particularly trivial, an

    • The iPhone has been adopted by the masses. You're going to hear a lot about it. Boo hoo.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Linux version is RightAroundTheCorner!(tm). You'll be able to play such amazing games as Tux Racer using your iPhone as a controller!

  • Now we'll have to cope with people throwing their iPhones around. No straps to tether them to your wrist.
  • Brilliant! Because what I've always wanted in a video game controller is to take the elegant simplicity of the Wii Remote, lag it more, make all the buttons non-tactile, make it incredibly more fragile, have phone calls come in and screw up my game, and sell it for ten to twenty times the cost! Per controller!

  • The lack of physical buttons is so frustraiting that there are attempts to create an add on (like icontrolpad.com that seems to have stalled out) yet somehow this is a good idea? I realize at least half the draw is the accelerometer, but what games are they targetting there?
    I'm really missing the point of this idea/app.
  • I've always wanted to know what it would be like to actually play Marble Madness with an iPhone. Even Jailbroken, there's no decent MAME port for the iPhone.

  • The last thing I want to do is give my iPhone more access to my PC. The only reason I have one is because the executives at my company absolutley had to have one and I am stuck supporting them. They have so many issues with Active Sync and Exchange. You cant even use the push feature unless your ok with 2 hour battery time. The day I use the iPhone for a controller for my PC is the day I replace IE with Safari. However I am very open to using a Wiimote. I have seen a few cool demos on PC.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      lol, you're dumb
  • I wouldn't mind a mouse app, just have it emulate what the Mac does.

    I actually have my computer hooked up to a TV and it'd be nice to not have to drag the actual mouse over. Oh it'd also have to be free because I don't care that much.
    • by EMeta (860558)
      Well, it's not free, but it is cheap. AirMouse is an iPhone/iPT app that does the mouse thing over wifi. It's not perfect, but it works.
  • Old news there are plenty of apps in the store that have been doing this for close to a year now.

  • I'm remembering all of those TVs that are broken from flung Wiimotes. Imagine the pain when someone flings there iphone into their monitor.
  • GRemote [gbmsoftware.com] on Windows Mobile (*shocker*) did it first. Air mouse over bluetooth or wifi, anyone? Click and drag works, on screen scrollwheel works, everything is rebindable. Also works as touchpad, joystick, and game wheel for racing games.

    It can be used exactly like the wiimote is used for menus except there is more than one interface you can use depending on what you're trying to control. For example, one that prominently displays media play/pause buttons.

    On my HTC Fuze, it feels like a very solid, very capa

  • If there were many split-screen PC games.

    Instead of being used for real time control (face it - the latency will suck), it can be used to offload some display and controls elsewhere.

    Think of it as a per-person "screen". Each player would have a compatible device connected via WiFi. Stuff that the player should know, but remain hidden from everyone else can be displayed on these little screens, and input taken from them.

    This might work very well for an RTS type game.

    If we allow consoles to use it, which have

    • Instead of being used for real time control (face it - the latency will suck), it can be used to offload some display and controls elsewhere.

      Nintendo tried that with GameCube + Game Boy Advance, and then with Wii + DS. I don't seem to remember it going over very well.

      BUt that's only for a small subset of multiplayer games that support split-screen

      I've always wondered why there aren't more split-screen or Smash Bros. style shared-screen games for PC. USB hubs and gamepads have existed for a decade, and any new TV has VGA and HDMI inputs to display a PC picture. What's holding up HTPC gaming now?

  • this is significant news? sheesh!

  • Doesn't the 360 use a modified-for-microsoft bluetooth stack that would make it a little difficult to make this work on an iPhone?

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