MOGA Interview – A Compact Controller Compatible With Android Devices
These days a lot of us older gamers don’t have a lot of time to play on our consoles; that’s why you’ll see most of us gaming on our smartphones on the way to work, on breaks, or during long travels. It can be fun, but because of limitations of touch-screen controls, gaming on smartphones can also be a frustrating experience. That’s why Power A’s MOGA caught my attention. It’s a compact mobile gaming controller that connects and works with Android devices, giving players the ability to play their favorite games with precision.
I had recently a chance to try out the MOGA and to talk to Steve Cherrier, Public Relations for Power A about what the MOGA is, what it brings to smartphone gaming, its design, and price point. Check out the full interview after the break.
JTM Games: Could you tell us what MOGA is and what it brings to smartphone gaming?
Steve Cherrier: MOGA is a complete mobile gaming system for Android; so it’s a Bluetooth controller component that works with any mobile Android device tablet, phone 2.3 and up. You look at mobile gaming and it’s great for games like Angry Birds where you’re swiping and touching the screen but the minute you try to play a shooter, racing games, or sports games you’ve got to have both hands on the device; you’re taking up half the screen and it’s not very precise.
We wanted to bring that console experience to the mobile gamers. So what we’ve done is we’ve designed a controller from the ground up. Power A is known for making high-quality controllers over the last few years on consoles and what we wanted to do is to take a controller, build it with a lot of the specs that gamers are used to from console experience but also make it portable enough that it fits in your back pocket still. You’re already taking your phone with you, you don’t want to fit a full-sized controller in you pocket as well.
The MOGA has dual analog sticks, four face buttons, a start and select button and your triggers. It’s all very compact and we’ve got a cradle that you pop your phone into and all of a sudden you’ve got a full blown gaming system.
JTM Games: Could you talk about the app designed to get MOGA to work with Android games?
Steve Cherrier: The other component of this whole system is the the application called the MOGA Pivot App; so you’ll be able to download the app on Google Play once we launch. What the Pivot App does is it allows you to take any of the games that you have on your device currently and it’ll tell you which ones are MOGA Enhanced, games which will work with MOGA. The app will compile the games and show you which games you can play with the MOGA. Once the game works with MOGA, it’ll work with MOGA. The app makes it easy for users to be able to know which games they can play with the device.
At launch, you’ll be able to go to our marketplace and you’ll be able to see all the games that work on MOGA and if you haven’t got them already, you can pick from there and it’ll take you to Google Play, or Gameloft, or Amazon so you can download it then. Again, once you’ve got the games, the Pivot will compile all the compatible games on the Pivot app.
JTM Games: So the controller will work perfectly with games designed by your partners?
Steve Cherrier: MOGA isn’t just a controller where you just map buttons to games and hope that they work, we want to provide a true analog experience so we’ve created an SDK and went to publishers and developers and offered it to them to help get their games to work with the MOGA framework and the control schemes that they want and to make it work the way they designed the games to play.
So for flight games for example, you’ll get true analog control on your thumbsticks so when you pull back a little your plane will pull up a little, if you pull back hard, it’s gonna come all the way. All that combines into a whole system, the controller, Bluetooth, the app, which in a few quick steps will sync with games that are supported. It’s not just a matter of sticking a controller and throwing it on and hope that it works, we really wanted to make sure that the controller works perfectly with the our partner’s games. We’ve got over 30 games so far that are MOGA enhanced from a number of big publishers like Gameloft, SEGA, Namco-Bandai, Atari and a number of other big publishers that we have yet to announce but closer to launch we will. We hope to have around 50 games supported at launch and maybe 75 by the end of the year.
JTM Games: Your partners (SEGA, Gameloft, Namco-Bandai etc) have a huge back catalog of titles on Google Play, will they be compatible with MOGA later on?
Steve Cherrier: That’s up to them to decide if they want to do that. For example, a couple of games that are supported like Modern Combat 3 is MOGA enhanced; if Gameloft decides that they want to enhance Modern Combat 2 and 1 we’d love it, but I’m not sure if that’s what they want to do. Another new one that’s supported is N.O.V.A 3 and in a perfect world, we’d love to see almost all other games on MOGA, but the beauty is that we’ve given the developers the SDK’s and some have taken a day or so to map one game on it and once they figure it out, it only takes hours to get it working perfectly with their game. Depending on the complexity of the control scheme, it might take a little longer.
JTM Games: Is the MOGA powered by an internal battery or with regular batteries? How long will the batteries last with the controller?
Steve Cherrier: The MOGA is powered by two triple-A batteries where you can get up to 18 hours of battery life which we feel is absolutely substantial for something this small. Now you could use rechargeable triple-a batteries however they’re not built in to this. We also wanted to keep a friendly retail price-point as well and not adding too much. The triple-a batteries made sense for this design.
JTM Games: Are there plans to build a MOGA that will have rechargeable batteries built-in?
Steve Cherrier: Absolutely, we actually have a second version coming that I cannot say too much about right now but it does contain a rechargeable battery, it’s even more of a console feel however, it’s not for portability and compactness; its more that real-sized controller.
JTM Games: There’s a big market out there for iOS games. Do you see the MOGA working with the iOS in the future?
Steve Cherrier: We’d love to be everywhere, but we’re starting off with Android. Android gave us the best opportunity to get started with this. We’re talking with Apple, we’d also love to do something on Windows Phone because it just makes sense right? There’s lots of opportunity there, but that’s down the road and we’re looking at all opportunities.
JTM Games: How much will the MOGA cost and when will it be released?
Steve Cherrier: We haven’t announced a date or a price point yet, but the MOGA’s coming out this holiday seasons, probably around October. In a couple of weeks, we’re going to announce the price point it’s going to be comparable. You’re looking at a price of a first-party controller, roughly be around that. So it’s not going to be an astronomical price point. You’ll also get other stuff when you get MOGA, you’ll get Pac Man and we’re probably also throwing in a game download.
After trying the device, I could see why why the MOGA is making waves in the industry. It’s got a unique and compact design, the device itself fit into my back, side, and jacket pockets easily and with more space to spare. It also provides players who prefer traditional controllers to be able to enjoy their smartphone games without being stuck with touch-screen controls.
For example, I love playing Modern Combat 3 on my phone but the touchscreen controls (all schemes) irritate me to no end. With MOGA, I think a lot of players will be able to finally play their favorite Gameloft, Namco-Bandai, SEGA smartphone games with more precision. Look for the MOGA to launch later this year.