So it started off like this, over at ControllerOrBust.com:

Alright, this is ridiculous. The iPhone was introduced over three years ago and there still isn't a game controller peripheral available to the masses. I've seen several prototypes that have kicked around the internet for some time now, but nobody has stepped up to the plate and actually delivered. You know the old saying, "If you want something done right you've gotta do it yourself?" Well, I'm going to follow that wisdom and do it myself. Well, not entirely myself, which is why I'm soliciting the help of the entire iPhone 4 community. I know there are many out there who've wished for an iPhone gaming controller and have a piece of the production process puzzle necessary to create one, but need the rest of the pieces. I'm suggesting that we band together and create a group of talented individuals who can make an iPhone 4 game controller a reality.

Benjamin Morrise got tired of waiting and began seeking assistance from various capable types to form a production team to build the iPhone controller accessory we've all (well, some of us anyway) been waiting for. The team he hopes to assemble consists of an Industrial Designer, a Mechanical Engineer, an Electrical Engineer, and a Software Engineer. The hope is for them to come together and build a controller for the gaming masses.

And it will look a little something like this:

Morisse hopes to secure funding through Kickstarter.com, to which I'll let Rocket Boom introduce you. It's a project that definitely sounds good to us. Let's hope that Morisse meets his goal, and that other such controller projects see the light of day, soon.

  • Anonymous

    So...this would only be compatible with specific games, right? I mean...wouldn't the games have to be made with this specifically in mind?

    • Adams Immersive

      Yes, each game would have to specifically support it. But no, games wouldn’t have to be designed solely for users of this hardware. Games could easily be made that work both with and without it.

      If a standard were to be agreed upon starting with this hardware, so that even future hardware from different controller-makers supported the same basic signals, then many developers would find it worth their (relatively minor) effort to support the standard, adding one more bullet point to their game description and pleasing a certain market without detracting from anyone else. (Much like how gamepads are supported by some Mac/PC games, even though most people don’t use one. Or how iPhone games sometimes support inverted aiming, even though most people don’t use that.)

      In any case, I don’t like the sliding backplate (due to scratching), but I’m all for starting somewhere! I game at home a lot, and I’d be likely to use a physical controller for added comfort. (When I’m on the go, I’d play without it.)

  • Nick

    Pretty cool idea, just hope the iPod Touch isn't neglected.

  • Russiaone1

    This looks phenomenal. It looks even better than the one that has been kicking around the net for a while now... I'm reluctant to believe this will ever see the light of day, but it still looks very nice.

  • Russiaone

    This looks phenomenal. It looks even better than the one that has been kicking around the net for a while now... I'm reluctant to believe this will ever see the light of day, but it still looks very nice.

  • Robotron2084

    Yeah, it would be nice if one of these dang things would actually be available for purchase. *sigh*

    Good luck, and make sure it also works with Touch 4th gens!

  • Gunwalloe

    It is already being done over here http://icontrolpad.com/

    • http://twitter.com/NoSuperMan ImNoSuperMan

      Ya, and its already been in development for 2 years.
      2 YEARS for a controller?!?!!?Another one which has been in development for well over an year http://www.22moo.com.au/GameBone.htmlThats exactly what got onemanleft to take things in his own hands and get his own controller ready coz he's been sick of waiting for these things to show up. Now lets hope this either gets launched soon or atleast gets the guys at icontrolpad to wake up and get their controller ready for sale asap.

      • E_Domina

        yea, but it's about to be released this month

      • MadPlanets

        As E-Domina says, if you follow the blog at icontrolpad.com, it's in production.

      • ryan

        I'm sure it is. My theory is that if it were me and I knew for a fact that my product would be ready to sell shortly, I wouldn't be avoiding the community and potential customers who just want to know if I'm still alive. Plenty of news regarding their other product though :(

  • Debtofskittles

    i would much prefer it if the directional pad and the joystick were on opposite sides, quite frankly. you couldn't play an fps with the current layout

    • http://twitter.com/NoSuperMan ImNoSuperMan

      I wont use a controller for an FPS. The touch controls have been a lot more easier and responsive compared to analog sticks for me. Aiming with 2 analog sticks is quite difficult compared to a touchpad IMO.

      People keep on claiming kb+mouse as the best option to control an FPS (which I agree with) but when it comes to iPhone gaming, they somehow forget that the touchpad is the next best thing after a mouse. For me, its even better than twin stick controllers of 360 and PS3.

      The only thing a controller might be useful in a FPS will be that it'll free up some screen real estate as it wont be blocked by your thumbs anymore.

  • Cletis Van Damme

    Agree with Debtofskittles.. Although I would keep the current layout and just add an additional analog stick on the right side.. Shoulder Buttons FTW!

    • Adams Immersive

      Yes, shoulder buttons would be a very important benefit: a comfortable way to use the fingers that would otherwise be “wasted” holding the device. And it’s an easy way to hit buttons without moving your thumbs from their positions.

    • http://twitter.com/NoSuperMan ImNoSuperMan

      Ya, shoulder buttons will prove to be really useful.

    • Drew

      I agree 2 analog stick and shoulder buttons are a must, I also really like the idea of speakers and headphones jack, I have a question though my ipod touch 4g heats up like nothing else when I'm playing Modern Combat BP online, would the lack of air flow possibly be damaging to the device with a large amount of use?

    • Chris

      One analogue stick makes this lots better than the GameBone, but dual-stick is a standard control mechanism now. Shoulder buttons - well, it goes without saying. I'd like controls more like the PSP than a Gameboy...

      Chris

      • Chris

        Hang on, people.... there's two analogue sticks already!

      • E_Domina

        yea, on the icontrolpad

      • Chris

        Follow the link to ControllerOrBust.com. The image is different to the one TouchArcade has embedded.

      • MadPlanets

        Two words: Robotron 2084.

        :-)

  • chris

    . be sure to code in a a public api.. as thats the only way this would kick off.. i think with a community base it could work.. programmers would be willing to add the little bit of extra code if there is a community for it to grow.
    good luck.

  • OscarJ76

    Great Idea... nice to see someone motivated enough to make this happen. I would personally love to support someone independent... and I am sure the community thinks the same.

    A little feedback... Additional buttons on top of controller... and to the right... somewhat like the PSP.

    Otherwise best of luck with the venture

  • Naga_bruce

    I think this is silly. I'd rather see new gaming experiences on the iPhone that take advantage of it's strengths, then try and hamfist the iPhone into a PSP so we can play games that shouldn't really be played on the iPhone.

    The reason nobody has done this is that the public doesn't want it. There is no market. You can get fantastic gaming experiences (see Cut the Rope, Helsing's Fire, Space Miner) without a giant bulky accessory. The games that were never designed for a touch interface (see ports like Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man) make us wish we had "better" controls like this thing, but really we should be wishing for less crappy game experiences and more unique iPhone games with depth and polish.

    • Adams Immersive

      There’s a limited market, not “no market.” Some people do want it. (Even me: I don’t desperately need it, but for the right price I’d buy it!) And having even a limited slice of the massive overall iPhone/iPod market is not a bad thing!

      As for games that “shouldn’t” be played on the iPhone... those rules don’t exist. People will play whatever is fun, and not everyone likes the same things. If this controller helps some games be more fun for some people, that’s hardly a bad thing.

      You’re right: the iPhone has its strengths and doesn’t need a controller to be a great game machine. But that expansion connector is yet another of its strengths! I look forward to seeing the different things people (finally) create to use that connector for gaming.

    • http://twitter.com/NoSuperMan ImNoSuperMan

      No demand? Go to kotaku, gizmodo, or any other non iPhone gaming centric blog and every single time there is a news about an iPhone game, most of the commenters just dismiss iPhone gaming with just one comment "No buttons, No Sale". Having a standard controller is going to attract a lot of gamers which dont think of iphone gaming as serious business only coz of lack of controllers.

      Yes, I'd much rather play games which are unique and intuitive to control on iDevices without needing a controller, but we cant ignore the countless number of games out there which are fun but will be even more fun with a controller. If a controller can enhance my Sonic 4 experience, why shouldnt I have this choice?

    • Heiko

      And still there are a ton of dual stick shooters and SHMUPs on the iPhone which could win a lot with such a controller.

    • Warlockimran

      I would be happy to have it for Street Fighter 4 alone. Also, who knows if this would open up the fighting game market for the iPhone.

  • Jason

    not on my iphone or itouch...

    I'd rather get a 3DS and skip iphone games completely... he's saying our only option is use a controller or forget it...

  • capiendo

    needs dual analog sticks! for minigore, battle bears -1, and their ilk.

  • Sometime

    Apple specifically disallows multiple app game controllers. I can't discuss this due to industry NDAs, but many companies have unapproved prototypes sitting on shelves. As a commercial product it would make no sense to incur the cost of bringing it to the Cydia market only; niche of a niche, a highly technical segment of iPhone users, not what the iPhone is about at all. As a personal project, I doubt you'd be able to get enough quality for the price you'd think it'd be worth paying (i.e. $40 or less).

    • Adams Immersive

      “Multiple apps”—sounds like that could be the key factor. Interesting if true. So Apple only allows custom control devices that are for use with a single app?

      Maybe they’re too afraid of fragmenting the market and causing buyer confusion. Sounds like the kind of bad call they’ve backed down on before, though. A better call: require games to be playable even without the controller! Fragmentation solved.

  • Baseley09

    What's the point, the idea of iOS gaming is that it offers something different from other systems. Waste of time and it will never be properly supported.

  • Anonymous

    How about mapping the buttons to keyboard emulation? D-pad mapped to the arrow keys, action buttons to the appropiate letters (abxy) and shoulder buttons being the left and right shift keys or something? 8-way number pad?
    Then it'll get round those reported controller restrictions, and there's incentive to support keyboard AND controller with little effort.
    Of course, analogue is harder, and there may be benefits to direct support.

    • http://www.facebook.com/BillKeeter Bill Keeter

      Agreed. Take a look at MAME. Probably could just copy their button/keyboard layout.

  • Holdapp

    What about buying a PSP for an old style experience and keep the iPhone as it is, enjoying the touch screen.

    I don't get why people are trying to turn the iPhone into a PSP.

    The touch screen is just great.

    • Adams Immersive

      It’s great with the screen alone—but another great thing about the iPhone is that it’s an adaptable platform. Carrying a phone AND a PSP is unreasonable on a daily basis, when a phone alone (even with added controller shell) is more portable. (Though personally, I’d only use the controller at home and wouldn’t travel around with it.)

      It’s not about turning the iPhone into a PSP, it’s about making a device which already does a million things do a million-and-one! And the best thing: people who don’t want to do that one added thing won’t be forced to.

      If people shouldn’t “turn the iPhone” into other things, then there shouldn’t be apps at all! And that blood-sugar monitor device should be disallowed too...

      • spiffyone

        Hate to bring it up (as it will most likely be modded), but, y'know...if you really want to game at home on iOS, then maybe the bone to pick shouldn't be adding physical controls to the iPhone/touch devices, but, y'know...getting Apple to add App Store support to Apple TV. That way, y'know, you can game using an iOS device on your HDTV all nice and comfy on your sofa. Hell, a controller peripheral for that particular iOS device would actually make more sense than one for the iPhone/touch devices, or it would if it were capable of App Store support. Just sayin'....

  • http://twitter.com/AzAfterthought Aaron

    Sounds great, but you just know that at some point you'll get yourself sued by patent trolls :(

  • Buklau

    Lol and what tells us that this won't be another vapor ware??

  • http://twitter.com/silentrocco Rocco Menzel

    The first design, that looks great.
    Still a tool I really don't want. People can get this elsewhere (PSP, DS and so on), I got used to my silent touch.

    • Jonny30bass

      but what if you dont want to spend more money on another handheld device and just get the control pad for a lot less.

  • Skip

    +1 for shoulder buttons / triggers. Absolutely a must.

  • Cause007

    +1 for shoulder buttons as well, plus... there are many dual stick shooters on the iOS right now, so a stick on the right side is also a must (I realize the control is intended for games that simply don't work without a gamepad, but it would be good for additional support from existing games).

  • reznor

    This case is great for kids around 12 years. I think a simpler solution is to make use of the volume buttons in-game: this can be done, Apple just needs to be persuaded.

  • Anonymous

    Do not want. I already own two portable gaming devices designed for use with buttons, and a third is due soon. I bought an iPod for touch gaming.... TOUCH GAMING.

    • spiffyone

      And motion sensing gaming too. Remember that. ; )

  • E_Domina

    This is the worst controller i've ever seen. the icontrolpad was first and still is the best with the gamebone in a close second

    • E_Domina

      JUST IN THE ICONTROLPAD WILL WORK JAILBREAK OR NOT. BETTER THAN ANYONE'S CONTROLLER NOW. DUAL JOYSTICK SHOULDER BUTTONS! ICONTROLPAD WINS!!!

  • Baloney

    This is so stupid. There's no controller peripheral because of SUPPLY AND DEMAND, not because of any technical or corporate reasons, it's because most users just don't want one.

    On top of that why does thus guy keep spamming "iPhone 4" in the text when there's far, far more 3GS style cases in use today?

    Guys go look up "investment scam" and I think you'll see what's really happening with this baloney little website..

  • Anonymous

    The problem is that no game will support this if Apple doesn't specifically approve. It seems that the great Steverino wants touch to be the only form of control and as usual the church of Jobs will follow His command. I do like the option of a bluetooth controller though and my favorite emulators all provide that.

  • Philipp Lenssen

    Any way the iPad could/ should be involved in planning this stick too?

  • Bmorrise

    The website went down as a result of too much traffic, but should be back up shortly.

  • Aeroflux

    I dont see any attention to ergonomics with all controller designs. Touch range, the axis' of movement for the average thumbs, and the natural cup of the human hand must be considered. These designs are typical engineer crap, attention to function without attention to form. Take the xbox 360 controller for a good reference to ergonomics and function. Buttons have the right resistance. The hand naturally folds around it. Clay modelingl and vacuum injection molding is all it took...well that and testing by someone who actually plays games.

    So far all I see are beveled boxes on the outside, which should ONLY be on the inside, conforming to the largest iphone with insert adapters for every generation.

    If there wasnt demand for a controller then why are we talking about it on a website devoted to iphone games?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZSH34UP6R2TTHTDQ2UQIUCHGNU andrzej raczynski

    can't say i would have any use for this on the touch, but maybe the ipad :)

    the whole point of the touch is portability, if i were to wrap that in 'stuff', its not going in my pocket and going to get left behind at home, if i have to choose between leaving it at home or not wrapping it, i'll choose to not wrap.

  • E_Domina

    ok i saw the site and maybe this controller might have some competition against the icontrolpad. only if they have the motivation to get it to mp. (possibly)

  • Izzynobre

    The reason these controller add-ons for iPhone/iPod touch will NEVER catch on is because they are trying to fix what isn't broken.

    The iOS devices have taken the gaming market (developers and gamers alike) by storm WITHOUT any physical controls; that in and of itself should be enough proof that iOS gamers aren't that bothered by the lack of tactile feedback in games.

    Not enough to spend money to carry extra plastic in their pockets just for gaming, anyway. That defuses the purpose of having games on your phone/mp3 player - if I need to carry extra stuff to game, I'll bring my PSP/DS.

    So touch controls aren't ideal. Guess what? Neither were gamepads for FPSs. That hasn't stopped the Halos, the Modern Warfares and the Killzones. People adapted to the new control scheme, became good at it, have lots of fun playing them and more importantly - keep spending money to buy them.

    The exact same thing happens with touch controls. PC geeks may argue day and night that Modern Combat 2 on the iPhone will never be as good a game (control-wise) as, say, Half Life 2 on a PC.

    You know what? It doesn't matter. No one is making that claim. I'm still having a blast headshooting my buddies on Gameloft Live. The debate is moot - touch controls might not be ideal but they aren't stopping companies that put games out that use them from making a profit. Just try to remember how PC gamers opposed playing FPSs on consoles and you'll see what I'm trying to say here.

    This thing - and anything like it - will flop.

    • http://twitter.com/mattsimonato Matheus Simonato

      Non-official peripherals usually don't work as expected for the simple reason that not every single developer is happy to adapt their games to a small public that would even consider buying something as crappy as this new case.

      Some people have tried to design motion sensors and touchscreens for the PSP. Have they succeeded? No.

      I pass.

    • Anonymous

      Adding a controller doesn't need to remove use of the touch screen; there's no reason the screen couldn't be used for aiming, and hard buttons for move and fire (for example).
      It's alsoonly going to be usable for a small subset of games. Innovative and touch games will still be published.
      What's so wrong with adding choice? So long as it's never a REQUIREMENT.

  • Izzynobre

    Oh, and lemme add one more thing - I play FPSs waaaaaaaay better on my iPhone 4 than I ever did on my PSP.

    Actually, you know what? I'm better at online Modern Combat than I ever was on online Gears of War, for that matter.

  • Grem28

    Dual Anolog

  • Adam

    Dual analog control is a must. You get that with the default touch screen. Anything less than that would be a downgrade for controls.

  • Ledmikew

    Need a right stick for sure.

    • E_Domina

      the website shows the new design with a second analog stick

  • Anonymous

    I really like this and the design is killer. The problem will be getting developers to agree on a standard for button input from external devices. Once that is out the way, more devices will appear to enhance game play.

    There are plenty of great games that I own but don't play because virtual controls don't respond well. A device like this is greatly needed and I'm glad to see someone getting up from the sidelines and actually doing something about it.

  • Ryan Dickinson

    Looks ok, but you NEED two analog sticks. NEED NEED NEED two analog sticks. The psp made the mistake of neglecting the second. If you can get the second stick along with some shoulder buttons I will have to buy one of these. FPS games will actually be more fun and less work if this pad comes to life.

  • Kapone1992

    agree with the guy up me :D 2 analog stick would be awesome and if you sell the controler for ipod touch 2nd gen in mexico i'll buy it instantly!!

  • spiffyone

    agreed with other comments stating that this isn't really needed for the majority of the market. Can it be an extra for the small minority that wants it? Perhaps...but if it's such a small minority, developer support won't be there in large droves, which defeats the purpose.

    Besides which, other than a few genres here and there, the majority of games control just fine using touch controls and the accelerometer. It's just that a few developers (*points at Gameloft) and quite a lot of GAMERS themselves that don't "get" how touch screen controls work even when extremely well implemented. Example: Gold Miner Joe had an initial control scheme of swipe/hold for movement on the left side of the screen, with taps on the right side for jumping. It was simple, it was elegant, it was uncluttered, and it worked really, really well. What happened? A few didn't "get" the controls, and screamed to the mountains for a virtual dpad. some gamers couldn't wrap their minds around swipe and HOLD and just swiped, swiped, swiped for simple movements left and right which showed they didn't understand the new paradigm. The developer (Donut Games) relented and added the virtual dpad option, the "gamers" who wanted it rejoiced, but it really wasn't necessary as the original control configuration controlled EXACTLY like the new option. The difference was that the new option had onscreen indicators.

    Some folks are just wrapped into what they're used to, not grasping touch controls. Some here seem to think dual analogs would be better for FPS than the touch screen...which is just NUTS, IMHO. But, yeah, sure...bring it out. And watch it be under supported, because, in the end, it isn't really needed.

  • Qwde3

    i dont think this will get any apple support as it looks like it could damage, crack/ scratch over time the iphone or ipod. and god knows they are easy enough to damage already.