The Next Generation of Mobile Game Controllers

09 Jul 2012

Mobile is big. So big, it's defining the next generation of mobile game controllers. Mashable highlighted the trend in a recent post, explaining that everywhere we look, we are surrounded by iPhones, iPads, and Android devices and tablets. Because people are using laptops less often, the realm of gaming is making an interesting transition towards casual gameplay. Thanks to apps like Angry Birds, a whole new generation of gamers has been born. At the same time, gaming platforms like Wii and Kinect have helped make gaming a mixed-reality experience by allowing you to use physical movements to control virtual things.

But what's in-between? Is there a way to bridge these two worlds? That's where Sphero comes in. Up until now, Sphero has mostly been known as the first robotic ball you control from your smartphone. Cool, right? But there's more. The technology and software behind Sphero can handle a whole new level of gameplay. Sphero is now emerging as a full-blown robotic gaming system. You can race Sphero in the real world while controlling it from the virtual with your device, and seconds later launch a new app like Sphero Exile. Now you're holding Sphero in your hand and using it as an intuitive game controller to interact with the virtual world.

Don't think Sphero is high-tech enough to be a next generation game controller? Think it's just a ball? Think again.

Sphero is sophisticated. Not all game controllers have a built in accelerometer and gyroscope. Sphero is also simple. Everyone is familiar with the ball, and as a result can instantly grasp the concept of Sphero. And lastly, Sphero is intuitive. There are no complicated buttons, joysticks, or commands. Simply hold Sphero in your hand and tilt, turn, move, twist, and shake, and you've mastered the controls. Sphero is the perfect device for the new generation of mobile and casual gamers who want to have fun without making a huge commitment to learning how to play.

Great, so you've got a mobile device and you're ready to game. But why use Sphero as a controller for an app? Because it adds an entirely new gaming dimension in a small and convenient package. It also enhances gameplay, because you no longer need to cover up your device with your fingers. You'll also look like a ninja spinning and tilting a ball around to control gameplay on your app.

This sounds good, but still not convinced? Sphero has an open API, and software developer kits (SDKs) are available for both iOS and Android. This means third-party developers and app companies can use our code and develop games for Sphero – resulting in a limitless potential for gameplay. We have already seen Last Fish and Shapesynth update their apps to include Sphero as a controller in their games, and we've been working with a number of other mobile gaming companies and app developers to do the same. You can expect to see many of these released in the coming months.

Imagine using Sphero as a controller to play Angry Birds. One day, maybe you won't have to use your finger to pull back the slingshot – you can simply hold Sphero in your hand, pull it towards you, adjust up or down, and launch with a quick shake. Angry Birds could become a completely new type of mixed-reality game. Now wouldn't that be fun?

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