By Malcolm Owen
Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 09:12 am PT (12:12 pm ET)
Gamevice, an Apple-authorized MFi game controller accessory for iPhone and iPad, has been updated to support a number of other devices, with users able to control the DJI Spark drone and the Sphero SPRK+ robot via the iOS companion apps using the peripheral instead of on-screen controls.
Using theGamevice controller with an iPhone or iPad, it is possible to directly manage the flight of the DJI Spark camera drone, via DJI’s official app. The physical controls offered by the Gamevice is said by the manufacturer to provide improved precision, control, and ergonomics compared to using the iPhone on its own, with the buttons and directional controls changing the orientation of the drone and triggering various functions.
TheDJI Spark is notable as a compact drone that can be controlled via hand gestures, as well as via a smartphone and a dedicated remote control. In effect, the Gamevice offers the benefits of physical controls but in an accessory that can also be used in other applications, one that is not limited to just flying a drone, as with the $119 Spark Remote Controller sold by DJI.
The extra support also extends to SPRK+, Sphero’s rollable remote controlled robot. As with the DJI Spark, the Gamevice accessory replaces the companion app’s on-screen controls with a physical version, potentially making it easier for users to interact with the toy.
Gamevice’s compatibility with the two devices are the result of the company’s Works with Gamevice initiative, where the firm works with other consumer electronics manufacturers to enable support for the controller in their apps. Along with other devices, the Gamevice also works with more than 1,000 mobile games, including “Street Fighter IV,” “Minecraft,” and “NBA 2K18.”
Firstlaunched in 2015 and refreshed in early 2017, the second-generation Gamevice consists of two controller sections featuring thumbsticks for directional controls and a number of other buttons, connected by a folding hinge which attaches to the head and base of the iPhone or iPad.
Originally powered by its own battery, the newest version uses the connected iOS device as its power source, with an included Lightning connector allowing for power to pass through to the host device. The accessory also includes its own headphone jack, allowing players to listen to gameplay in private.
The Gamevice starts from $59.95, with different sized versions covering the iPhone 6 and later, Plus models, iPad mini, 9.7-inch iPad, and both the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro.