The plastic instrument music genre is all but dead. Harmonix still puts out new tracks every week for Rock Band 3, but the developer's focus on Dance Central speaks volumes about the state of the music game today. That's why the creator of Guitar Hero, Charles Huang, has moved to the far more lucrative mobile industry.
Huang and his partners announced today the creation of Green Throttle Games. Much like RedOctane before it, Green Throttle will focus on gaming hardware. It was RedOctane that developed the guitar peripherals for Guitar Hero and Green Throttle will be developing hardware solutions, including controllers, that bring mobile games to the big screen.
"Mobile gaming is exploding, and new smart devices are becoming powerful alternatives to traditional consoles. We just need a simple and fun way for people to play games both on the go, and on the couch," said Charles Huang, co-founder of Green Throttle Games. "Our mission is to create great game experiences that bring people together, a big screen experience where you can just start playing games on a television, as simple as that."
Green Throttle's first project is a controller that works with Android devices that feature a video-out. The device must also be running Android 3.2 or higher for it work. The company is now looking for developers to create Android titles that take advantage of its controller.
It's an interesting concept, but it will have to go up against the Ouya. The Ouya has billed itself as being an inexpensive games console that runs Android 4.1. It also features a traditional controller for those who want to play their mobile games on a television. It garnered huge support on Kickstarter and already has a large developer community just waiting to make games.
Green Throttle does have a few advantages though. For one, their hardware will run on any Android device with a video-out. That means that consumers won't have to buy a separate console. That being said, the amount of Android devices with video-out ports are few and far between.
Green Throttle also has the potential advantage of already getting an SDK into the hands of developers before Ouya does. Both the Ouya and Green Throttle's controllers ship in December, but Green Throttle is already making the SDK available to developers now.
It's important to note that both companies are making a huge bet here. The majority of mobile gamers, except maybe tablet owners, use games as diversions. I still don't see many mobile games being that attractive as console titles. Maybe mobile gamers are asking for it, but the core still has yet to find a reason to jump into mobile gaming. Dedicated hardware and controllers aren't going to make a difference.