The iPad mini is a unique device in that it offers much more portability than the standard iPad, while still providing a much bigger screen than the iPhone for more enjoyable gaming. Techdy has recognized that as an opportunity to build a game controller specifically for Apple’s smaller tablet, which aims to turn it into a much more capable gaming rig.
The Game D is a controller designed with a standard physical d-pad and four-button arrangement, as well as start/select buttons. The controller is designed to fit inside a slim aluminum shell, not unlike Logitech’s Ultraslim Keyboard for iPad mini, and it also uses magnets to operate. It can be used in two gaming positions, either with the iPad mini mounted in a slot on the keyboard itself, or snapped magnetically to the back of the iPad, for a more traditional gaming layout. Plus, it doubles as a smart cover.
Techdy is looking to crowdfund the development of the Game D, with its own self-run campaign. Reservations for the Game D start at $39, and there’s a Pro version upgrade available for $59 that adds backlit keys, vibration feedback and two analog gamepads. There’s also a Nexus 7-specific model available for Android gamers.
A lot of aspects of the Game D’s eventual design and branding are still up to backers, including its final shipping product name (“Game D” is just a placeholder) and custom color choices, as well as app interfaces for controlling the hardware itself. The development for the Game D is progressing nicely, with a working hardware prototype designed to function with iCade-compatible games, according to co-founder Cyril Chang. He also says that they’ll eventually offer their own open-source game developer kit (GDK), as well as continue to support iCade games at launch.
I’d love a gamepad for my iPad mini, even if it might be a little more taxing on the forearms and biceps than using an iPhone. Techdy hopes to ship these in August of 2013, if it meets its $500,000 target funding goal by the middle of May.