Thanks largely in part to Kickstarter, we've been absolutely drowning in various bluetooth gamepads for iOS devices ranging from actual shipping products to obscure prototypes. Today, Gameloft with the help of Duo have announced the Duo Gamer, the first bluetooth gamepad to make it through the Apple certification process. Comparatively, all other bluetooth gaming devices (including the would-be OnLive controller) work via the entirely Apple-unsupported method of pretending they're a bluetooth keyboard and barfing a barrage of key presses to your device which various iCade (and similar) supported games can interpret as control input.

With the Duo Gamer paired via Bluetooth, it works, well, just like a game pad. You still get the keyboard popup for typing (Something iCade-like devices "break") and if you don't have any supported games installed when you first pair it you even get a slick little popup suggesting titles that are supported. The way it all works is shockingly seamless and feels how using a device like this should. Unfortunately, the down side of this compatibility and the same Apple certification process that's going to allow them to have the various made for iOS devices branding on the box and distribution through the actual Apple Store is a significant one: The Duo Gamer only works with Gameloft games, and as of this writing only five are supported:

Presumably, future Gameloft titles will be supported as well as other previous titles as it's in both Gameloft's and Duo's best interest to get this device supporting as many games as possible- especially for the $80 price tag.

We've got our hands on one, and so far we're not that impressed. Yes, playing these Gameloft games with a gamepad either on the iPad or plugged into a TV via HDMI provides a very console-like experience. Also, the precision of the dual analog sticks allows you to basically clean shop in online matches. However, the price point just seems crazy, especially when compared to other similar although uncertified bluetooth devices like the 8-bitty and the potentially Kickstarter funded iControlPad 2- Both of which will work out of the box with far more than five games.

Also, the controller itself has a very unfinished almost prototype-like feel to it. Where the Xbox 360, PS3, and even OnLive controllers' graceful ergonomics fall right into your hands the Duo Gamer almost feels closer to those all-in-one game controller systems that you plug directly into your TV which were popular at shopping mall kiosks and drug stores around the holiday season a few years ago. Holding it for extended periods of time feels awkward, especially as the games attempt to stick to a traditional FPS control scheme relying on extensive use of the shoulder buttons- Forcing you to always hold the Duo Gamer in a way that seems strange.

The Duo Gamer should be available soon via Apple Stores, Amazon, Best Buy, and Target. I'm not entirely sold on it, but if you've got $80 burning a hole in your pocket and you are are stoked for the presumably supported Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour or you just get super excited and fist pump when you see the N.O.V.A. 3 title screen like the guy above... Rock on, I guess.

  • k1lljoy_89

    ... Awesome.

  • zergslayer69

    Man I wish I could have such a blast looking at the title screen of a game.

    • Firetruck94

      Maybe he just killed the last enemy and it was loading another map?

    • lecti

      And a spouse who's that happy to see the husband playing video games.

      • Firetruck94

        Yeah that's a new one

      • yomachaser

        Is my gamer wife really that rare? 

      • ConceptNormal

        Um I'm pretty sure that's Robert and his sister Margret?? LOLOL

      • GSJ1977

        Yeah, $80 for a spouse who thinks I'm awesome when I play video games is a bargain.

    • Pete Morris

      You've misunderstood - he's just happy that he's actually found a game that works with his stupid controller

    • regkilla


  • Ahiru Nakamura

    at least their games at some point cost only .99c.... still too expensive for a semi-iOS (due to gameloft-only compatibility) accessory... come on, an xbox controller is around 40 bucks... and works with every xbox game....

  • SPL1TR

    Way too expensive.

  • Valentin Bataille

    I just pledged iControl Pad. I hope this project gets funded; For the same price tag,  icontrolPad 2 will works basically with any games, whether it supports it or not.... 

    • 148Apps

      Only if your iOS device is jailbroken. iControlPad likes to hide that fact at the bottom of their page.

      • Warner Skoch

        Actually, any iCade game will work out of the box without a jailbreak, as will several games made specifically to work with the iControlPad (Vertex Blaster, for example [shameless plug note: I wrote this game]).  You'd only need a jailbreak for certain input modes on it, as well as the controller overlay functionality that they mention in the kickstarter.  There are a LOT of games you can use without jailbreaking.

      • Valentin Bataille

        My understanding is that the jailbreak is only required for game configuration (button overlay);  The pad can still work without it.Anyway, i can't wait for ios6 jailbreak; i miss my themes and sbsettings :'(

  • DotComCTO

    One word comes to mind: hubris. So, right then, Gameloft thinks consumers are going to cough up $80 for a controller that only works with their games...and only FIVE of their games at that?! Wow.

    • Pete Morris

      My thoughts exactly. This product isn't just niche, it's micro niche! Bizarre idea indeed.

      • Adam Gibson

        I am sure quite a few will buy it just to get higher ranks in games.  Hopefully gameloft somehow shows which games were played with the controller in the rankings though so that they still mean something.

  • R Skse

    Lets get a full sized BT fightstick only for Capcom games.

  • iqSoup

    What an ugly brick of a controller   I'd almost rather use the NES brick and end up with corners in my palms and circles stamped into my thumbs.  Oh Super Mario Bros.

    Its a shame this thing doesn't work better and its a shame it only works with Gameloft.  A good, ergonomic, universal controller that anyone is free to develop for could really change things up in the app store.  The number one issue with iOS gaming is the controls.  Either an app needs to figure out a way to use super simple touch friendly controls (ie single button games like Jetpack Joyride or Tiny Wings) or an app is forced to utilize cumbersome virtual controls that typically leave much to be desired in terms of accuracy, not to mention take up block half the screen with your thumbs.  A well built controller that is free for everyone to dev for AND sold at a proper price point would not only make millions for whoever makes the controller but could really mean a great innovation for iOS games--freeing gamers and devs alike from the shackles of virtual controls.  Again, a shame this thing seems to be off in so many areas.

  • ducksFANjason

    Seriously absurd price point and a lack of compatibility have me woefully unimpressed...

  • Jaime Coston

    Well, it is a Gameloft product, so I expected it to be priced high! I however also expect it to go on sale in several months for about $9.99 (roughly a 7th of the price) just like most other Gameloft games do!

  • Jaime Coston

    Well, it is a Gameloft product, so I expected it to be priced high! I however also expect it to go on sale in several months for about $9.99 (roughly a 7th of the price) just like most other Gameloft games do!

  • rpgmind

    No way.

  • rpgmind

    No way.

  • SoyGreen

    I read about this on another site... just glanced at it really. Didn't realize until your site it was for GAMELOFT GAMES ONLY!?!?!?!!? GEEZ - enjoy selling 10 of them Gameloft!

    • cyberpyrot

      I just preordered so I guess they have 9 left to sell

      • SoyGreen

        You must love you some gameloft games!

      • cyberpyrot

        yes I do but not only that. There will be others watching this possible big controller manufacturers so me throwing down $80 for somthing that is usable now vs a kick starter project that ends up vaperware is a small price to pay for somthing that may explode.. Also I plan on cramming the guts into a 360 controller 😀

      • SoyGreen

        Good Answer there...

        I'm hoping they make the API just generally available. That's about the only way I would personally consider it... But for only Gameloft games... that's a swing and a miss in my book.

  • CrimsonSquall

    Everyone band together to STOP talking about this controller! The less coverage and conversation on this, the better.

  • riggysmalls

    That last pic is epic!

  • Jin Jinathin Pitts

    Oh guess what, android phone has an app to connect ps3 controller and etc to the device...
    God I really wish AppStore would have that : caz that's only thing I am jealous about androids

  • Jin Jinathin Pitts

    Well android phones have app to connect ps3 controller to the device....
    God I wish app store would release that app :

    • Karzay

      You can say that again...

  • witedahlia

    I feel sorry for those actors 🙁

  • bigrand1

    What a rip-off! And an ugly clunky-looking controller to boot! There's a sucker born every minute! Wouldn't buy that new Duo Pinball controller that's only good with their Pinball HD app either! If you've got a hole burning in your pocket, just send me your money! Some people will buy ANYTHING!

    • Pete Morris

      Yea, it's one ugly hunk of plastic that's for sure.

      I'm VERY surprised Apple are planning to let this nasty little piece of design grace their stores!

  • JohnnyJ301

    Yes, I think this will be on sale at Christmas.

  • JohnnyJ301

    I love how in the ad, the guy keeps looking over at his girlfriend when he gets a kill on modern combat, ( I really don't think she would be that impressed )

  • ImJPaul

    5 out of a couple hundred thousand games can be played with this controller?! Where do I sign up?!

  • Dr. Mark Lipschitz

    They forgot to mention that for $80 you only get a working "D" pad... all the other buttons are in-app purchases! 😉

  • Rothgarr

    This is getting so stupid... Apple REALLY needs to come up with a standard, maybe even their own controller. Then third-parties can come up with different controllers all based on the same standard... (just like how consoles come with a controller but you can buy controllers from non-MS, Sony, Nintendo, etc.)

    • Pete Morris

      Apple applied for some patents a while back for a way of implementing touch controls on the back of an ipad that would adjust to a persons finger positioning. Obviously, if that ever sees the light of day, it won't be for years. But I think it shows their thinking. Personally, I don't think they'll come out with their own controller - not in a million years.

  • mudd

    The girl in the picture is thinking, "This is the worst date ever. Kill me."

  • Gamer_Kev

    Interesting, but I think I'm going to stick with my plans to get an iCade. The iCade control scheme is starting to standardize psychical controls for iPad gaming. By introducing a game pad that works only with their games and no iCade emulation mode, I really don't the Gameloft is doing the iPad gaming community a favor.

  • wetmoist

    It's a shame their games are awful

    • Adam Gibson

      I really like the NOVA series and a few other games they have.  NOVA has the best FPS touch controls on the iOS platform IMHO.  The sensor controls are mainly used for fine tuning the aiming instead of using them for turning around.  Love it.

  • xDyNaMiiCx

    This reminds me why I should play Xbox 360 and ps3, point of iOS games is to experience the mobile feel for the game. When you start adding mobile games to iPads, air play takes the purposes out of iOS

  • Skuddmuffin

    Cool, but over priced. Id go $20 maybe but hey, I'm 14 xP

  • Mike

    HAHA 80 dollars. Yeah, good luck.

  • blackryn0

    If you pay $80 dollars for a controller and a stand  your dumb. Do not support this gameloft its very greedy. 

  • mudd

    Ha. Exactly.

  • JCat_NY

    The person that gave the OK to release SuperMan for the N64 wants his/her job back.

  • Lamar Taylor

    How stupid can you be by pricing a controller at $80 that only works on 5 games? Even worse is the fact that this controller won't work with newer Gameloft titles like Dark Knight Rises and Amazing Spider-Man.

    I guess I'll wait for the user reviews from the 3 people who buy one of these.

  • {SQUEEK}

    Love the concept hate the price

  • Firetruck94

    If I had something like this for battle bears royale, maybe I wouldn't suck as bad

  • NPeart

    The controller looks bad and it takes away the good stuff that iPad has control wise, and 80$ on top of 700$ device to play mobile games...

  • ConceptNormal

    I use my iPhone 5 for a totally different experience then anything with a controller. My Ps3 specializes and that... So dumb.

    • Pete Morris

      Exactly - spot on.

      I know the odds are against this bizarre project taking off, but I hope it doesn't get any traction at all. I want devs to thinking of new and innovative ways to use the touch screen, rather than trying to keep shoehorning "hardcore" game concepts onto mobile.

      If this controller is supported for more than 12 months, I'll be very surprised.

      • {SQUEEK}

        Most likely parents buying it for their kids. Just in time for holiday season. Im in the cheap ... I mean frugal group.

        Only way I could see this making any sense is if you buy the controller and they give you some sorta redeem card for the five games it works on.

      • Pete Morris

        still a tough sell though... I wonder how many people will buy it without realising that it's Gameloft only games (and a tiny minority of those) that it supports

  • Serene Grace

    Never mind the silly controller nonsense, who in their right mind would spend hours playing video games at a kitchen bench? 

  • B3nlok

    @Pete Morris

    I think you are not seeing the whole picture here. Thing is, because of a new generation of CPUs/GPUs (A-15 + Rogue) in about 6 to 12 months  these mobile devices that today are very capable casual gaming machines will reach the processing power of ps3/360. Now imagine an ipad with the same form factor  that is not only a great device for browsing , media consumption, apps , but also with enough  horsepower that allows it to function as a ( PORTABLE) console, capable of running full fledged games like GTAV or Dead Space 3 either with virtual buttons or with bluetooth gamepad + HDMI. IMHO its not  an unlikely scenario now that Jobs is gone. And while i cant imagine this Gameloft thing being successful, its the first step on this direction.

    • Pete Morris

      I see your point, and you're right that with Jobs gone all bets are off. If Apple see gaming as a big enough market, they would do what it takes to compete.

      But personally, I disagree. Just look at the patent I mentioned; whilst few patents do see the light day, they can help to give a picture of the direction a company is looking in.

      In terms of mobile devices replacing consoles, I can see it happening, sure. But, if we're talking big picture, why do you assume that a transition from console to mobile will leave the "hardcore" gaming experience unchanged?

      GTA IV and Dead Space 3 may well be possible on mobile, but is that a mobile gaming experience that people want? Personally, I think that you only have to look at Sony's PSP to see that you can't make that kind of assumption.

      I just can't see us all sitting playing games using a handheld controller for the next 50 years. Handheld control has had a good run, but it's time for new gaming experiences, in my opinion. Apple are a company that look far into the future when planning their products, they aren't going to throw their weight behind a technology that's had its time.

      Just my opinion, of course. Happy to come back with my tail between my legs if I'm wrong!

    • cyberpyrot

      inovation in any form is a good thing. it is what drives advancements of technology. this is a first step to getting analog on an ipad I know its clunky.. but it paves the way for a real manufacturer to step up and create a universal controlled and SDK for everyone to use. I for one am excited being a modder I purchased one to tear apart and stick it in a 360 shell for a real controller experiance.

  • Derrythe

    Awesome, now you can play the connection lost game in modern combat 3 with a controller. Because failing to be able to play multiplayer without the controller was so boring.

  • JJE

    I'm strangely excited about this.
    Getting the obvious joke out of the way first: Gameloft clones the 360 controller! Same as it ever was, and a leopard never changes its spots.
    OTOH. GL has shown an interesting shift this year with the support of its engine starting around Nova 3. They want to be known for providing a console-like experience, that much is clear. I suspect their reasoning is that their catalog is deep enough with "original" IPs, which can be upgraded, along with whatever is currently moving through development. They own enough content they might just break the iOS/controller bottleneck we're currently stuck in. If they "own" the controller communications space, developers will have to come to them or Apple will have to step up. Add to that its an additional revenue stream with decreasing manufacturing costs. It's a gamble but I have a difficult time arguing that its an altogether bad one.
    In a few short years we will have tablets that will be capable of running any game currently on the market today, at better than native resolution and very high FPS; Moore's Law. In order to operate them we will need more than touch and swipe; we will need keys, buttons and sticks.

    • cyberpyrot

      I already preordered mine if you order from sharper image use coupon code INSTCPN10 for 10% off. I for one think this is and awesome idea as swipe controles are note very good for shooter games and get you tired of playing fast. gameloft currently has over 300 titles and im just there going to add the jostick to there biggest hits... I have the apple TV and love the mirrioring ability this just makes it so much better..

    • Nick_Germ

      I'm actually excited about this also. As others have said this is a niche market but I fit in there.
      I'm always traveling for both work and pleasure, and when I do my iPad and iPhone are always with me. I'm lucky enough to have an unlimited plan on my iPad so I usually use it while away to play online games and stream movies.
      As for it only being able to work with game loft games is a little disappointing, but my iPad only has a couple of games that this would be ideal for and lucky me they are all made by gameloft.
      As for price it is about 30 bucks high, yes it is a cheap looking controller but it has new tech in it. The controller shows up as a headset and somehow sends the commands using that protocol not the standard gamepad protocol. This way it circumvents apples restrictions for Bluetooth.

  • pinchez

    Why can't Apple just support the Bluetooth PS3 controller in iOS like it does in OSX. IMO this would be the simplest, easiest an best option for all concerned. 

    The only good thing about this Gameloft effort is that someone might be able to take this and hack it into a XBOX 360 controller.

    For the love of god, please Apple just release a BT PS3 driver in your next iOS update and be done with it! 

    • Naraka

      Because Sony makes PS3. Will never happen.

      • pinchez

        I think this is a issue with Apple not Sony, I have a MacBook Air and OSX recognises and installs drivers for the PS3 pad. I would imagine Sony will be only too pleased to sell a few more pads to iOS users 😉

      • Naraka

        Agreed, all on apple. Think this a small (expensive) step in the right direction. Hoping to see apple approved controllers become more common, driving down price points. And a apple controller as the grail. With Sony making a competing tablet (but not operating system on macs) I doubt they would encourage the ps3 controller. Granted that would be great.

  • dasker

    Con la mala calidad que se nota que contiene por que parece de funstation , sin nada de estética y a ese precio será todo un fracaso debería costar 5 dólares como mucho

  • dasker

    Con ese alto precio y falta de estética seguro será un fracaso debería costar 5 dólares o 10 cuanto mucho

  • Naraka

    I'm excited. Having the first apple approved, sold in apple stores controller is great news. I see it as apple testing the waters and hopefully come out with a standard controller soon. The price tag is steep, but that won't stop me. I travel a lot for work and this will be great for hotel rooms, most have hdmi tv's even. Already sold out on amazon....

  • WeMeet

    Not paying more then $30
    For such an ugly brick

  • Kim René Mossige

    The iControlPad2 will be a solid gamepad! I hope they reach their funding goals. It's open source and can be used to play anything you want

  • Eduard Laczi

    I understand the business logic of this controller only supporting their games. It would reinforce consumers into purchasing their software. I just don't get why I would purchase this hideous controller, when there are tons of companies (Nyko, Gamestop to name a few) making solid controllers with end game result of supporting both IOS & Android.

    If they were really smart; they'd enhance their games to have special functions with this controller and support other games in either market that supported controller function.

  • Tom Melbourne

    Do you have to buy tokens to use it? $2.99 For a shitty turn at NOVA 3?

  • dasker

    Serious confortable to play games since it nongoes for the chamber but the control serms of nes and one notices that his manufacture is very simple for the cost must to them go out in 3 dollars produce it and they want to sell it in 80 it is great