This New Google Controller Looks A Lot Like... A Controller.

Folks digging around in preview builds of the latest Android OS titled 'Android L' seem to have stumbled across what appears to be an early look at a brand new controller made by Google for use with TVs. Against all better judgement, I like it! It looks like a controller. A sleek, well-made controller.

In fact, if you were to show me it quickly, I might mistake it for an Xbox One controller.

The controller, we assume, will be used with Android TV, a service Google showed off at I/O 2014. It appears that plenty of developers have already had versions of this controller arrive as part of Android TV devkits. I'm keen to see what comes of this. A new, relatively cheap gaming option? I can't see a problem here.

In fact, one could argue that a gap exists in the market for a well branded device that does just that: provides gaming for TVs at a cheap price. The Ouya crashed and burned, but Google might have the capacity and the brand to do something special.



    I'm liking the way more controllers these days are using 4 separate buttons for their d-pads rather then a cross. I wish the xbone controller was like that but it's still a massive improvement over the 360.

      I bought Mortal Kombat on a steam sale the other day foolishly thinking I would just use my 360 controller. It was so frustrating I stopped after about 15 minutes. Last time I played a fighting game was on my PS2 and the Dpad on that was pretty good.

        if you have a One controller there are Windows Drivers for that now, MUCH better d-pad than either the 360 or PS3.

          Agreed. I got one for my PC and it's leaps and bounds better than the d-pads on the 360 and PS3. I love the higher analog sticks too. So comfy too...

      I've never liked it, I've always been partial to the mega drive dpad (much like the x360 dpad) where there is actually a diagonal button. Maneuvering your thumb over the up and across buttons of the segmented dpad is awkward as hell.

        Yeah, I agree. I ended up with a blister from playing way too much Street Fighter EX Alpha 2 (or whatever) on the original Playstation.

    If you're going to copy the X1 controller then have the decency to copy the asymmetrical thumb sticks.

      Or, if you're going to rip off the Wii U Pro controller, at least have the decency to put the thumbsticks at the top.

      Or, if you're going to rip off the Dualshock 4 layout, at least have the decency to make it the same shape.

        Or if you're going to rip off the N64 controller, at least kill yourself.

          < meme > well that escalated quickly < /meme >

          Last edited 01/07/14 5:06 pm

      They are all ripping off the Nights controller for Sega Saturn. So they should at least have the decency to make a brilliant, groundbreaking game.

        I remember arguing this when people said the Dreamcast controller ripped off Playstation/Nintendo/whatever.

        Unfortunately, nobody but you and I remember the Saturn analogue controller...

    I really hate that abxy button config

      I got so used to the Xbox button configuration that I am permanently screwed whenever I pick up a Nintendo controller and press B instead of A

        I've been quitting everything on my Wii-U all day :(

      Yeah, I tend to use the Dual Shock so when I use my Logitech controller on PC (and x360ce for compatibility) it takes a fair bit of mental effort to keep on remembering what button matches the name. QTEs are a nightmare ;)

      "What? You said press X, and I did! Oh...that's A. You mean X, and not cross...dammit".

    Straight from the school of "Chinese Ripoff Design"... Why innovate when you can just rip it off?

    R & D are the initials of the guy in legal fending off patent claims over at Google.

    EDIT: I think its Roger Dapperman... Or Raymond Dilinger...

    Last edited 01/07/14 5:05 pm

      The flip-side is that a) why reinvent the wheel that's been rolling for 40 odd years and also b) why reinvent a wheel that's pretty damn near perfect?

      I mean, that's subjective of course, but the Xbox controller is pretty ace. So it's getting harder to improve on it. Not saying it's the pinnacle of controllers, but it's getting close.

        Agree to a point.... But they've taken everything and then got the stick positions wrong... It's like building a Ferrari and then putting bicycle wheels and tires on it...

          Yeah good point. Mind you the symmetrical sticks seem to work on the PlayStation. This is almost a hybrid between the PS and Xbox controllers.

            Exactly. What works for one controller may not work for another, and why should it? Both the X1 pad and the DS4 (And the WiiU pad actually) are very comfortable to use this time around, regardless of stick position.

            As far as reaching perfection... IMHO there are problems with the DS4, X1 and even the 360pad.

            If I had to nit-pick:
            - The DS4 is nice, but the analogs and triggers are, lets say, not built to last.
            - The X1 pad's analogs are small, the bumpers are, IMHO, too clicky and still has no built in rechargeable batteries (Some people like that).
            - The 360 pad had a dud D-Pad and the triggers were a little narrow.

            That said they are all improvements from the last controllers. Sony especially upped their game. I still want to see a DS4 version with better rubber on the sticks though.

            Controllers are all nice ATM, what buggs me is the battery life.

              Eww built in batteries is never a good thing...having a choice is always you never know how long that controller has been on the shelf and you could end up with a fraction of the capacity. Batteries are perishable.

                I said in my post some people prefer them...

                I, personally don't, but I respect that you do, as I say, I mentioned in my OP that some people do like normal batteries. TBH, I would like to see a hybrid where the battery is rechargeable, like the DS4 or WiiU pad, out of the box, but also changeable like the xbox pads. If I had to choose one though, it has to be rechargeable. To me (My personal opinion), having normal batteries in a controller is archaic.

                But as I say, I acknowledge some people prefer normal batteries (Which again, I did mention in my original post) and I think they do for a very good reason, as you mentioned. What I said are my personal views and are not meant as a blanket 'all gamers feel this way' thing.

                My point was that everyone has different views of the controllers and they all have undeniable strengths and weaknesses, so arguing at this point is redundant... Because all the pads this gen are great in some ways, and perhaps not in others... Regardless the pro's out weigh the cons and all have crappy battery life, the thing that matters most anyway.

                  With the Xbox plug and play kit I guess it kinda gives you a hybrid option and I agree its convenient but as you mentioned its just a shame the batteries inside these are average at best and down right shocking in some of the cheap after market stuff.

                  I use the Sanyo Eneloop XXX black series LSD NiMH AA in my controllers and they out perform those polymers or typical nimh batteries in a big way, even after a year on the shelf they are still like 85% full and with 2500mA you can't go wrong...unless that extra few grams of weight are an issue.

                  when it comes to standard non rechargeable go with industrial ones if you can...Panasonic, energizer or procell ( Duracell ) are the way to go.
                  stay away from the 1.5V Lithiums AA cells as they are x10 the cost for very little extra benefit.

                  fyi, wiiu pad has a user changable battery. just replaced mine with a first party high capacity one without voiding my warranty.

                  @nemalive and @shk

                  I agree with you both. The plug and play kit, to me is essential but still not perfect. Having rechargeable options from the start are far more convenient for me, even if that means that they loose effectiveness and need to be replaced. In my personal experiences my 6 axis (Non DS) that I got with my chubby PS3 still works and holds 'decent' charge, well over what my original play and charge kit does. TBH it lost some of it's capacity after I got a DS3 and the sixaxis went too long without being charged up. That said, both needed replacing, the SixAxis would just be harder to get too.

                  As for replacing batteries, it's something I'm serious considering doing ATM.

                  And yeah, I know the WiiU pad's can be changed, it was the first thing I noticed about mine when I unwrapped it. I love that, I just didn't mention it because I wasn't sure if it would void your warranty and I didn't want to start an argument over it lol.

                  Edit: I also wanted to say, that while for me on console wireless is the only way to go (On reason being my old PS2 got flung off the shelf several times in it's life because of cables in the way), on PC I still use my old wired 360 pad. It's reliable and convenient. I'm waiting to upgrade my PC situation to the X1 pad in the hopes that they release a wired version.

                  Ridiculous how many layouts you have to be used to these days isn't it lol. I have all the major consoles and multiple pads. It's still confuses me when I play a game with QTE's.

                  Also on a side note: My original SixAxis controller still looks and feels great. It out lasted my first PS3! (My sister put a lolly stick in the drive bay so I can't blame the machine...) With a reputation like that I did not expect my DS4 sticks to be coming apart this early. I think I will be buying some X1 sticks on Ebay with a bigger battery and doing some DIY soon.

                  Last edited 02/07/14 12:57 pm

    Hooray for an A/B/X/Y button layout/color I'm selfishly used to!

      Saves on changing those awesome QTE prompts!

        Haha yeah. The amount of times I switch between Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox controllers and scratch my head trying to intuitively remember which button is which! :P

    presumably this is bog standard bluetooth and will thus work with my phone/pc/other?
    would be cool if it worked with ip(ad|hone) too, but tell me i'm dreamin'! ;)

    I read something somewhere, that the guys making this controller made the xbone controller.....unless I am corrected?

      who? Microsoft?

        Nah their called Carbon Design and they are working for Oculus Rift now.

      i think they did the 360 controller

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