Who would have thought when the first iPhone appeared a little more than a decade ago that smartphones will become the biggest hit in the world of gaming? Those thinking the iPhone was nothing but a novelty, a gadget doomed to fail have to admit they were wrong: not only did smartphones become the most successful devices of the early 21st century, but they also became the gaming device of choice for hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of users all over the world. The rapid spread of mobile gaming has spawned not only a flourishing game development industry but another one for Android accessories for gambling and video games as well.
New games, new ways to play
When the first smartphones with big touchscreens (and without physical buttons except for the home button that has completely disappeared in the meantime) appeared, the games running on them were simple, cute, and built with touchscreens in mind. Back then, the hardware of smartphones was rudimentary and primitive compared to even the most affordable handsets today. In time, as the hardware of phones developed further, so did the games running on them. From match-3 games and endless runners, we’ve reached the stage where racing games and shooters have become the norm.
Today, we have games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, and such running on smartphones – these games, while they can be controlled through a touchscreen, ask for a different way to play.
Mobile controllers, wired and wireless
What at first was a feeble attempt to break into the mobile gaming world by a few Eastern companies became a big business embraced by dedicated gaming accessory manufacturers, too. On one hand, smartphones became more capable not only through Bluetooth – the obvious choice, considering that this standard was already implemented in smartphones to be used with headsets and car kits. On the other, an increasing number of smartphones have support for USB On-The-Go – a technology that permits connecting various USB accessories to them directly, through a dedicated cable.
Among the most highly appreciated Android game controllers we find the 8BITDO Zero, a small, minimalistic game controller that fits on your keychain. It combines portability with a ton of functions: under its 6.7 x 1.4 inches, it has a d-pad, four action buttons, bumpers, and select and start buttons, respectively. It’s a battery-powered device that can even be charged from the phone, and it costs under $20.
In the middle, we find the Moga Hero Power, a controller modeled after Microsoft’s Xbox accessory. It has all the buttons one might need, it chargest via MicroUSB, and it can also act as a battery pack for your phone. When it comes to gaming, though, it is a great accessory: it comes with a fold-out phone stand so you can dedicate all your attention to playing games. It has a Pro version as well which is slightly bigger and a bit more expensive, too.
Finally, here’s a truly great controller from a dedicated gaming accessory manufacturer: the Steel Series Stratus Xl. It’s not a dedicated mobile game controller but a universal Bluetooth game controller that can be used with PC games and Android games alike. It is in a lot of ways similar to an Xbox controller which, surprisingly, has a layout similar to that of the PlayStation. To make it appeal to Android users, it has dedicated buttons to control various functions of the phone. It’s the most expensive option of the three but for its price, you can be sure you’ll get a high-quality, durable accessory.