Samsung have announced the Smartphone GamePad controller and Mobile Console app, in response to what the company describe as "the rapidly expanding global mobile gaming market".
"The Smartphone GamePad instantly transforms the user's Galaxy smartphone or tablet into a portable gaming console or even a home console," Samsung explained.
The GamePad pairs to a compatable smartphone via Bluetooth, and owners of Samsung's Galaxy and Note range of devices will also be able to take advantage of NFC tag support as well as "quicker access to games" via the GamePad's "Play" button.Works with devices from 4-6" in size, converting mobile phones into both handheld and console gaming systems.
A new Mobile Console app (10MB, available from the Samsung Apps application) will act as a hub for supported games, allowing users to "conveniently browse and purchase" titles that work with the GamePad.
There are currently 42 games available in the Mobile Console store:
Ace Surfer (Free)
Angry Dragons (Free)
Army Strike ($1.18)
Asphalt 8: Airborne (Free)
Critical Missions SWAT ($2.46)
Dead Trigger (Free)
Dirt Rider ($1.18)
Dungeon Hunter 4 (Free)
Gangstar Vegas (on sale for $2.67; normally $8.91)
Golf Star (Free)
Granny Smith ($2.40)
Hero of Sky (Free)
I Must Run ($1.27)
Jet Set Radio ($3.50)
The King of Fighters '97 (on sale for $2.38; normally $4.76)
Kinito Ninja ($1.17)
Kungfu Dash (Free)
Lost Mummy ($1.26)
Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour (on sale for $2.60; normally $8.67)
Muffin Knight ($2.39)
Music Hero Rhythm Crasher (currently free; normally $2.50)
Need for Speed: Most Wanted ($6.49)
PangPang World (Free)
Panic Flight ($2.37)
Rabbit Run (Free)
Real Racing 2 ($6.08)
Samurai 2 ($4.82)
Samurai Shodown II (on sale for $3.33; normally $4.77)
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 - Episode II ($5.85)
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 - Episode II Lite (Free)
Sonic CD ($3.48)
Sonic CD Lite (Free)
Super Sonic Racer ($1.18)
Third Blade (Free)
Virtua Tennis Challenge ($5.81)
Zen Pinball (Free)
One of the games announced as supporting the device - Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame - is not currently available; we've reached out to Ubisoft for clarification (the title is otherwise available via Google Play in New Zealand.)
Owners of the GamePad will also be able to use the device (in conjunction with a supported smartphone or tablet) as a "virtual console", using their system's HDMI output or screen-mirroring functionality to display supported games on their television:
Features of the controller, as listed on Samsung's developer support page, include a four-way directional control pad, two triggers, dual analogue sticks, and four face buttons:
No pricing information has been revealed for the Samsung GamePad, and the company has not yet revealed their launch plans (if they have any) for New Zealand. The controller is listed as being available in "selected European territories" and Samsung stated that it will be available in additional regions "in the coming weeks."
The Samsung GamePad enters into a crowded marketplace where it will face competition from established alternatives like Moga, Steelseries, Nyko, iCade, and even a PlayStation 3 controller. Rumours have surrounded Apple also entering the mobile controller space, however the Cupertino-based company is yet to reveal anything for their iOS platform.