PowerA said on Tuesday that its Bluetooth gamepad add-on for Android devices, MOGA (opens in new tab), will be available in more than 7,000 stores in the U.S. starting October 21, 2012. Consumers can now pre-order the MOGA gadget online from Amazon.com, Toysrus.com, Best Buy.com, Walmart.com and PowerA.com.
PowerA's add-on controller answers a demand from Android mobile gamers who want the old-school style of input rather than depending on unreliable touch-based controls. It's not the first Android gamepad on the market, but this solution is specifically designed to cradle an Android smartphone, creating a single, handheld gaming device. It's also compatible with Bluetooth-capable Android tablets, too.
Android 3.1 "Honeycomb" and above already features native gamepad support, and baked-in support for the Xperia PLAY's slide-out gamepad has been present in Android since v2.3 "Gingerbread" was introduced. It's this latter feature that would presumably make it easy for peripheral makers like PowerA to develop physical gamepads with directional, trigger and standard action buttons for the Android platform.
According to PowerA, the MOGA features dual analog sticks, two shoulder buttons, four action buttons and standardized start and select buttons – the Xperia PLAY is similar, but replaces the analog sticks with touchpads and throws in a directional button. Again, it would seem possible for PowerA to tap into this pre-baked support already available in many Android games from Gameloft, Electronic Arts, Sega, Mojang and more.
But PowerA said it's now offering the MOGA Software Development Kit (SDK), providing mobile game developers with "greater precision, robust control and enhanced display abilities while enabling fast, efficient development of rich new game titles and MOGA enhancement of existing titles."
The company is also following in the footsteps of Nvidia (which is something Sony should have done with the Xperia PLAY) by launching the MOGA Pivot app. This app, available soon on Google Play, will list all MOGA-enabled games in one location rather than making customers hunt through the jungles of Google Play.
At launch, consumers will be able to try out MOGA before they buy at Toys"R"Us and select Best Buy stores. MOGA will also be available in more than 2,000 T-Mobile stores starting in November.
"T-Mobile has an incredible line-up of smartphones with amazing screens and lightning fast processors," said Brad Duea, senior vice president of marketing at T-Mobile USA. "We partner with innovative leaders like MOGA to provide our customers the best mobile gaming experiences and we're excited our customers will be able to take their Android devices, pair them with MOGA, and turn their phones into a complete mobile game platform."
For more information about the upcoming Android controller, head here (opens in new tab). In the meantime, here's a list of games that will be ready for MOGA later this month:
Atari’s Greatest Hits
Duke Nukem 3D
Dungeon Hunter 3
Gangstar Rio: City of Saints
Mike V: Skateboard Party
PAC-MAN by Namco
Painkiller: Purgatory HD
Sky Gamblers: Rise of Glory
Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode II
Virtua Tennis Challenge
3D Hunting: Alaskan Hunt
3D Hunting: Zombies