The idea of using a PlayStation 3 controller to play games on an Android device isn’t new. For some gamers it’s superior to using on-screen controls. But a 23-year-old University of Washington student named Ryan French has figured out a way to improve the experience.
His product is called the GameKlip, and it has been getting lots of buzz on gaming forums and Android news sites. It attaches the phone to the controller in the sweet spot close to the controller’s center of mass. The effect is to make the phone/controller combo feel like a unified product while eliminating the need to put the phone on a table or balance it on your lap while playing.
French is a senior at the University of Washington, studying Applied Computational Math Science, but he took a computer aided design class that gave him the experience and confidence to press ahead with the GameKlip after coming up with the idea.
As with many good ideas, it resulted from his desire to solve the problem for himself. He had discovered the ability to play Android games with the controller but struggled to get comfortable.
“I had issues where I didn’t know what to do with my phone while I was holding the controller,” he explained via phone today. “I went around and found a whole bunch of stands. It just really didn’t give me the experience I was looking for so I thought, I need to figure out a way to actually mount the phone onto the controller.”
He was originally planning to make a GameKlip just for himself, but as he developed the concept further, he realized that it might be cool enough to have broader appeal. He made the first prototypes and started taking preorders about a month ago, and is now producing and shipping the product.
French is selling the GameKlip online for $15 for people who want to use it wirelessly in conjunction with the Sixaxis Controller app on a rooted Android device. Some newer phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III, offer the option for a wired connection to the controller without rooting the device or using the Sixasis Controller app. For those situations, French is selling a version of the GameKlip with a cable for $23.
He’s working on a version for 7-inch Android tablets, as well. A version for the Xbox 360 controller is also a possibility, but he needs to overcome some technical challenges first.
GameKlip is manufactured in the Seattle region. French tried to fund the project through a KickStarter campaign but his submission to the crowdfunding site wasn’t accepted, for reasons that weren’t clear. So he’s paying the up-front costs on his own as the business gets up and running.
“It’s been quite an adventure,” he says. “This is my first experience with anything like this.”
Here’s a video of French showing the GameKlip in action.
(Thanks to Ian for the tip on this story.)