The iPhone’s and iPad’s potential for gaming, just like their Android brethren, is huge. Mobile gaming is the fastest growing segment of the gaming market by far, with billions and billions in yearly revenue. Despite this, the games can be difficult to play. Ports, or titles brought to iOS from other systems, are often difficult to play, with an on-screen joypad serving as a poor substitute for the buttons found on a hardware controller.
To mitigate this, Apple announced new controller APIs during its reveal of iOS 7. The APIs allow game developers to centralize around a standard set of hardware instead of being forced to create their own out of thin air.
Still, the first two offerings, one each from MOGA and Logitech, have been iffy purchases. While the Logitech at least certainly felt good in hand, both suffered from being bulky, one-purpose attachments. You can’t use them on any iPad or non-iPhone 5 series device, and the expensive controllers take up a lot of room in your bag (though at least the MOGA is collapsible, to an extent).
Enter the Steelseries Stratus.
Steelseries is known for producing high-quality PC peripherals, and it looks like they might have done the same for the iOS market. The new Stratus takes advantage of Apple’s previously mentioned gamepad APIs, but it uses Bluetooth instead of hooking up over the devices’ Lightning ports.
As a result, you can use the Stratus with any iPhone capable of running iOS 7, as well as most iPod Touch, iPad, iPad Mini, or iPad Air models running the same.
For a $99.99 pre-order, you’ll get a much lighter, much smaller controller with a d-pad, two analog sticks, four shoulder buttons, and four pressure-sensitive buttons on its face.
Steelseries claims around 10 hours of battery life, likely due to the controller’s use of Bluetooth 2.1 (for maximum compatibility, no doubt).
More info: Steelseries Stratus (product page)