It's clear that traditional gaming on a smartphone is frustrating. Games that need more than a tap or a swipe have to overlay controls onto the touchscreen, meaning that gamers will have their fingers hovering over much of the game. The newly released Max Payne for iPhone is a good example of this.
Solutions to this problem are beginning to roll out in the form of Bluetooth controllers, some of which have holders for a iPhone or iPod. However gamers might as well get an older handheld gaming system for all the cost and poor design of most of them. Thankfully, elegant solutions, such as the Ringbow, are beginning to solve this seemingly intractable problem.
Chris Jorgensen and Andi Greisel decided to come at the problem of touchscreen gaming from a different direction. Jorgensen states that the iPhone is too slick for some games and that the iPad is too large for on-screen controls. To solve this problem, he and Greisel have created the GameDock, a dock for iOS devices that turns them into home consoles. The GameDock can be connected to a TV, and will allow gamers to play iPhone games on their TV using up to two USB controllers.
The pair have started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to manufacture the GameDock. They claim to already have all of the technical issues worked out, and are promising to ship early-bird GameDocks to people who pledge $100 or more. Those who pledge $150 or more will get a "retro" USB controller that looks exactly like a controller for the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
Watch the video below to see Jorgensen and Greisel pitch the GameDock and describe where their inspiration for the device came from:
The one thing that is not made clear in the Kickstarter pitch is whether the GameDock will allow users to play any game they have on their iPhone. Will players be able to use usb controllers to play Max Payne for iPhone, for example? While it is stated that the GameDock is compatible with existing iCade games, a broader functionality could help set it apart from other touchscreen gaming solutions.