In just a few short years, mobile gaming has evolved from Doodle Jump to our Game of the Year The Walking Dead. But one potential obstacle remains: touch screen controls. Many control pad accessories (like iControlPad and iCade) already exist, but they require you to lug around an extra accessory. Two current Kickstarter projects want to solve that problem with iPhone control pads that double as cases.
WynCASE's design and concept is simple. The minimalist white case almost looks like an Apple prototype. Rather than transmitting signals to the iPhone via Bluetooth, it sends touch signals to the edge of the display. That means no extra battery drain.
The case is reversible. When you're finished gaming, you can remove the case, flip it around, leaving the controls on the iPhone's backside.
WynCASE's novel input, though, could also be its Achilles heel. The case simulates screen touch by covering a small sliver of older iPhones' 3.5-inch displays. On the iPhone 5's longer display, though, it conceals much more of the screen.
This is an artist's rendering of FlipSide's final version ... by comparison, the working model looks crude
FlipSide takes a more traditional approach to input, connecting via Bluetooth. It diverges from other cases, though, in its charging method. Bluetooth 4.0 and rechargeable thin film batteries allow you to charge it with solar power.
A case that needs constant sunlight won't work for everyone. But Flipside's founders say that it will also charge in indirect sunlight and indoor lighting. They also tout the battery's longevity, saying that it will still work ten years from now (though we don't see many people using an iPhone 4S in 2023).
Like WynCASE, FlipSide is reversible, doubling as a standard case. Here the control pads snap off, and are stored on the backside.
Compatibility conundrumAs ambitious and creative as these projects are, they're faced with a Catch-22. Both require collaboration with game developers. But with thousands of games in the App Store, it's difficult to support more than a tiny fraction.
The more popular these accessories get, the more they'll attract developers' attention. But will enough iPhone owners sign up without support for many of their favorite games?
KickstartingBoth projects have less than two weeks to go. At the time of publication, WynCASE has raised $18,454 of its $80,000 goal with 10 days left. FlipSide has raised $8,311 of its $135,000 goal with with 12 days left. With steep hills to climb, neither project is guaranteed funding.
If you want to find out more, you can check out the source links, and hear their pitches in the videos below.