updated 04:57 pm EDT, Wed June 6, 2012
Gamepads geared for Tegra-powered devices
Most of the gear at E3 has focused on traditional game consoles, however Nyko brought along its PlayPad gamepads for Android tablets. Electronista stopped by the company's booth to try out the Bluetooth-connected PlayPad and its larger sibling, the PlayPad Pro.
Both PlayPads attempt to address one of the biggest problems facing tablet gaming: the lack of hardware controls. Alternative accessories, such as the Fling Joystick, adhere to touch screens and serve as a physical extension of the virtual touch control, but Nyko's controllers are proper gamepads that enable users to achieve a classic gaming experience without touching the tablet.
Both models integrate dual analog sticks, a directional pad, four lettered buttons on the facade, and four buttons on the top edge. We preferred using the larger analog sticks of the Pro variant, rather than the smaller circle pads on the basic model. As expected, the Pro handles like an Xbox controller--both offer a similar form and control layout. We found the smaller version to be a bit more cumbersome, lacking the ergonomics of its larger counterpart.
Overall, both controllers offered a much better experience than on-screen virtual controls when we played Samurai II: Vengeance. Born of a collaborative effort between Nvidia and Nyko, the gamepads are specifically geared for Tegra-powered tablets. We suspect that many upcoming "Tegra HD" titles will be geared for such controllers.
Nyko has yet to announce a ship date or pricing information, though both controllers are expected to sell for less than $50.