The Android TV controller was an inevitable concept, with Google attempting to try again where the Kickstarter funded Ouya failed. With Razer, a top manufacturer, designing everything this time, we can assume that the cheap and clunky feel of the Ouya will be upstaged by something more along the lines of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Sony and Microsoft had reportedly put hours on end into making their controllers feel and function as solid and comfortable as possible.
It’s yet unknown what games will be developed for Android TV, but given Google’s brand value in today’s market we can expect some big names like possibly Ubisoft and Electronic Arts to at least “test the waters” and see how profitable it is. That’s only speculation, but it seems possible if they don’t want to just stick with the Android game market that already exists.
— Eurogamer.net (@eurogamer) June 30, 2014
The Android TV controller should look very familiar to veteran gamers, featuring two analog sticks side by side like the PS4, with equally mirroring directional pad and action buttons above them. Featuring letters instead of symbols, it appears that the controller also takes design ideas from the Xbox One. The extra navigation buttons appear to be in the middle like they are on the previous generation consoles, with the OS button small and not forcing anything into a corner. The shoulder buttons are not shown beyond a top view, so it’s unclear if there are any trigger style buttons beneath.
The greatest down side to the Android TV box game-wise seems to be that only the first player will have access to the console style controller, while the second player will need to make do with an Android tablet and the “look down” method to see where the buttons are on the screen. This can get very intrusive in the heat of action and give the first player an advantage until the second player can memorize the locations enough to not need to look. Hopefully all multiplayer games are co-op or the second player is going to be stuck playing with what looks like a TV remote.
The Android TV controller appears to be made with the best intentions, but it remains to be seen whether or not the games will be worth the effort put into making them. The controller itself appears to be made for hardcore gamers, but the Android TV controller app is where the concept seems to fall flat for those kinds of games, looking more like a TV remote than anything to do with video games.
Keep in mind that this is all speculation based on early renders and a prototype photo, and not a review of the final product.
[images via imgur, halx]