Power A has the MOGA. Nyko has its PlayPad. Steel Series has gone Free. Everybody's trying to get into the mobile gaming controller market, looking to deliver a game pad solution that all game developers can embrace. Mad Catz isn't just building a mobile game pad. They're creating a universal Bluetooth technology initiative called GameSmart in order to deliver a full range of traditional gaming accessories to the mobile market.
With GameSmart, Mad Catz is essentially attempting rip the mobile gaming peripheral market wide open and fill it with their products. Apple isn't keen to create a controller standard for iOS devices, which leaves peripheral creators tricking iPads and iPhones into thinking a game pad is a Bluetooth keyboard in order to function. Meanwhile, Android has the capability to hook up a game pad built right in, but the many hardware solutions available don't play well with each other, and not a lot of game developers are chomping at the bit to use controls other than the touchscreen anyway.
With the line between PCs and tablets blurring further each day however, I can imagine a time when mobile gamers will want more. I've already been shopping around for a convenient (read: wireless) way to hook my various tablets up to my television set. The company that can deliver a universal Bluetooth mouse and keyboard control option for the next mobile Call of Duty-clone could stand to make a little dough.
Perhaps Mad Catz will be that company. Their GameSmart technology uses Bluetooth Smart in order to ensure easy compatibility with all of the latest smart devices — iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches, Android tablets and phones and Windows 8 tablets and PCs. GameSmart accessories will be simple to connect for the end-user, while offering game developers and publishers "standardization, ease of implementation and scalability."
"There are a number of point-to-point solutions in the market today that provide proof of concept, but the industry needs an agnostic operating system solution to provide standardisation, ease of implementation and scalability," said Mad Catz president and CEO Darren Richardson via official announcement. "With our long history in the gaming industry, Mad Catz has the technical capability, product breadth, global distribution, and developer and publisher relationships that uniquely position our company to make this ambitious initiative a success."
It's definitely an ambitious initiative, but it also sounds a great deal like many prior attempts to provide a standard for mobile controllers. Many have enjoyed limited success, but none have really stuck.
Mad Catz plans to reveal the first GameSmart peripherals next week during the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, with plans to launch shortly thereafter. Will they succeed? Can they succeed? Check back in a couple of months.