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The first iOS 7 wireless controller from SteelSeries has been announced and it's called the Stratus. The controller is small and sleek and designed to work wirelessly with Apple's iOS 7 compatible devices. It could, technically also work with smart TVs via proxy, which could make it a potential living room controller solution for non-console based devices.
SteelSeries announced that the Stratus would be compatible with the AppleTV, the AirPlay TV, iPhone, iPad and the iPod Touch. Basically, all of the Cupertino, California company's devices will be compatible with the device and it's designed to take advantage of the age-old living room controller scheme that gamers have been used to using for decades.
As noted in the press release, Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO, commented about the new controller saying...
“The Stratus Wireless Controller, the first wireless gamepad controller ever to be supported in iOS 7, forever alters the mobile gaming landscape,” ... “With Stratus, gamers have easy and direct access to a growing roster of great games on iPad that were intended for an immersive, controller-enabled experience. We’re incredibly excited to be the first gaming peripherals company to develop a standalone controller for iOS devices and are thrilled to see an abundance of high quality game titles rolling out from publishers everyday.”
The idea is that developers will be able to use this alternative control scheme for iOS 7 compatible titles that diverge away from the typical touch-screen controls. One of the biggest complaints from gamers is that a lot of times the on-screen prompts aren't very responsive and it's difficult to perform complex actions and reactions using the touch-screen analog/digital pads.
The press release also details some of the more practical functionality of the controller, including its battery life and indicators for those of you out there who game seriously on your mobile devices, with the release stating that...
“The Stratus Controller features a familiar console-style layout with the a pressure-sensitive directional pad (D-pad), 4 pressure-sensitive action buttons and 4 pressure-sensitive shoulder buttons, in addition to dual analog sticks, a dedicated pairing button to connect to iOS devices via Bluetooth and a convenient on/off switch to save on power. The battery life is estimated to be approximately 10 hours on a full charge, with an average full charge time estimated at 2 hours. It charges with an included USB connection cable.”
Now that the advertorialism is done and over with, let's talk about this thing honestly and realistically: I don't see it taking off at all.
Even with developers having access to software APIs made available for the Stratus, implementing support is just an additional design barrier I can't see any developer willingly taking on when all it does is add to the overall complexity of the project.
Also, this isn't the first iOS-themed controller for hardcore gamers. There are many out there from other peripheral makers as well. The reality, though, is that it's a bit of an inconvenience trying to play games on mobile devices that aren't really designed to be played as hardcore games. The Dead Triggers and the Infinity Blades are the rare breed of mobile titles, not the norm.
It will be interesting to see how well the Stratus does on the market, however. Logitech has also wedged their way into the mobile peripheral market as well, but they haven't yet stated whether or not their foray into the “financially illustrious” territory of mobile gaming is paying off or not.
You can learn more about the Stratus controller by paying a visit to the official website.