It isn't a surprise to us that 60beat's new GamePad controller made some major waves last week. It's a proper, corded controller with a full range of button and joysticks. Also, it requires zero technical savvy. Just plug it in and go.

This all sounds great... but since we still don't have a GamePad in our hands, we decided to quiz Pangea Software's Brian Greenstone about it. Pangea is behind Bugdom 2 [$2.99], which is one of the two games currently supporting the controller.

I asked him three questions. The first was what it was like to develop for the device, and if it was easy or hard. Greenstone's answer leaves us hopeful that other studios will pick up support, provided the GamePad sells well enough.

"It was very easy. All I had to do was add their SDK to my project, change my Audio Session type, and then make some basic calls to start the data flowing. Bugdom 2 already used a virtual gamepad in the game itself, so the code to work with that kind of control scheme was already in place which made things very easy.

I had it all up and running in less than an hour."

There are no developer  or game limitations, by the way -- all the buttons and directional control work, straight-up. It sounds like voice-chat support is out, though, when the device is plugged in.

"No developer limitations other than the forced use of a particular Audio Session mode, but I don't think that would affect most games, unless there are games that require the microphone to be working. So, probably no voice-chat games.

The user limitation is just that having the gamepad plugged in causes the audio on the iPhone / iPad to go thru the audio jack. That means that you have to use the supplied splitter and listen to the game with headphones."

Greenstone said Pangea will continue to support the device if its successful and Bugdom 2 sees a sharp spike in sales. That sounds pretty reasonable.

We're looking forward to telling you all about this thing first-hand in the coming days. Come on, Mr. Postman!

  • Anonymous

    Would have been kinda cool if there was a version of the gamepad where there are speakers on the controller, and a mic if that would be possible? As long as it would sound better than the iPad 2's cruddy back facing speaker, which shouln't be hard to outperform.

    • Adams Immersive

      You can still have headphones: this device only uses the “in” direction, sending your actions as sound signals (the same way the remote Apple’s earbud clickers do, only more complex and constantly). You can still have audi-out, with the splitter.

      You just can’t have audio-in: your voice and the GamePad signals would fight. So headphones Yes, 2-way voice-chat No.

      Hope this takes off, although moving toward one “standard" (even without Apple’s blessing) sounds ideal. Maybe some standard SDK, compatible with a whole range of controller brands, that accepts a wide range of possible signals, analog and digital alike, over ANY of 3 methods: Bluetooth, dock connector or (for lowest cost) mic input. Each device might not use all the different supported signals, but if two devices from different companies have, say, dual analog sticks and 2 shoulder buttons, those signals would be compatible. You’d never have a game that can detect the shoulder buttons of one device but not another.

      Some day!

      • J.Shamblin

        Why not plugin in some small portable speakers? That's what I use when I'm on the road.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder why it isn't possible to go into speaker mode like when on a phonecall. Also wondering why they decided to go with a tethered solution instead of bluetooth with bluetooth 4.0 up and running on (probably) all future iOS/Mac hardware.

  • Web

    Will this work with bluetooth headsets?

  • Alberto Ramirez

    Why is not bluethooth from the beginning?

    • Chris

      "..Bluetooth, dock connector or (FOR LOWEST COST) mic input."

  • Aaron Sullivan

    This is promising, but it would make more sense as an attachment or something more compact -- iPhone/iPod NEED it that way. Of course, this could come with time using the same basic tech.

    I'm loving my big bulky iCade though and I just wish more games would support it. Maybe with the apparent big sales this Holiday, more people will be asking for iCade support.

    As far as questions go about why no bluetooth: It takes time to develop hardware like this. The bluetooth 4.0 thing just arrived on the 4S and there are no promises about what will be allowed in the future regarding it. The limitation on bluetooth devices with previous iOS devices right now is from Apple, isn't it?

  • Anonymous

    This controller is cool, but my biggest issue is that it requires headphones (or an external speaker). Can't really think of too many games I'd use it for though. Kind of ridiculous having a controller so big for devices so small (the iPad is small relative to say- your typical TV). Are they unable to use the dock connector port?

  • R E

    Looks cool. Wonder what the CPU overhead and latency is due to decoding the inbound audio signal accurately?

  • The Red Thing Games

    I am waiting for the gamepad in the mail:) added code to our game already, just need to test:)

  • Anonymous

    I got the 60beat game pad in the mail today.  It works fine with Bugdom2, but does not work with Aftermath yet.  The Aftermath update is due out on Jan 5, 2012.  The enclosed flier says more games will be supported coming Feburary, 2012.

    I see this as an interesting controller using either an iPad 2 or an iPhone 4 connected via HDMI cable to a big screen tv or monitor.  The game play would then be much easier since a game pad doesn't require you to look at the screen, and, I think, the use of physical joy sticks and actual buttons has a better physical feel to it than touching an area on a piece of glass.  This is why I like the Fling joy sticks as opposed to using the  on screen, glass circle buttons.  Either way, this game pad seems to work well and has great potential when other games (all games?) support it.

  • Nooskewl Team

    Just ordered one. Gonna add support for it in our games.

  • Mayhem911

    DOA at that price tag. 

  • Adam Gibson

    Why not use the onlive Bluetooth controller that is already available for its? I definitely don't want to use headphones or have something plugged into my headphones jack causing the internal speaker to be disabled.

  • Peter Pashley

    Hi guys,
    I'm the developer of Aftermath and am glad to say that Apple approved the update bringing 60beat support yesterday.  Can't wait to hear what people think - everyone I've shown it to has been impressed so far!  I hope other developers support it, it's very easy to integrate the SDK and 60beat have always responded quickly to queries.

    • Laszlo Tuss

      Hy there,
      It will be awesome if we get support for games like Minigore, Spice Miner or maybe RealRacing and all iCade/iControlPad supported games.Can i somewhere subscribe for newsletters?

  • Yousif

    I would love to play Aftermath through airplay to AppleTv in my big TV screen. I will be a big hit! The gamepad will make ipad and iphone head to head with playstation.
    The problem you can not get connected as I try to mirror my iphone display to appleTv and when I plugin the Gamepad my iphone loss the airplay! I don't know why!
    Please fix that so We can mirror games to TV and enjoy them as playing playstations.

  • Joe Burns

    Hope you have support for Dungeon II that would be killer.   I think the game pad addition is nice because it takes the IPad from a tablet to a literal portable gaming device.   I don't think the price tag is excessive in lue of the fact that the IPad alone is $500+.  If you can afford the device, I don't think an extra 50 for the controller is outrageous.   Not to mention that you only need one, and XBOX / PS3 controllers are about the same cost.  Nice work 60Beat.   I'll be buying one in Feb. when you launch more games.