Accessory manufacturer Power A debuted the Moga game controller at E3. The device is a wireless Bluetooth controller compatible with any Android phone or tablet running Gingerbread (2.3) or higher.
Bluetooth controllers are dime-a-dozen these days though, so what is the Moga's hook? There are a few actually. Dual analog slide pads (think 3DS) lead the charge. But the real trick is that the middle of the controller unfolds, revealing a cradle for Android phones as large as the Samsung Galaxy Note — and the Note is pretty beefy.
At the company's booth, I saw that the cradle could handle a variety of Android devices. The Droid Razr, Samsung Galaxy S II, and HTC One S all fit snugly in the controller. Reassuringly, when I shook the controller a bit — as I am wont to do mid-game — the unit held the phone in place.
There are four face buttons on the right side of the Moga. Each button emits a satisfying click when depressed. Its two shoulder buttons manage to feel remarkably similar to the shoulder buttons on the Xbox 360 controller, which is a good thing. The slide pads are a bit tight, but they certainly work better than virtual analog sticks.
Playing the classic game Asteroids using the Moga was mostly a lesson about how easy games have become. Controls were responsive — except for those slide pads. It was difficult to steer the ship out of the way of oncoming asteroids. Unsurprisingly, the Moga made first person shooters much easier to control than touch screens alone.
Power A's John Moore said that developer support was gaining momentum. Sega, Namco and Gameloft are already on board. Others are on the way. The Moga is currently scheduled to launch this fall, and should the slide pads improve by then, Power A has a winner on (or should that be in?) its hands.
Posted on location at E3 in Los Angeles, California.