A lesson learnt from history
As Nintendo now has the gaming industry “shivering like a shitting dogs” and everyone else scrambles to follow suit as regards to ‘go Mobile or die”. The line between “Console quality” and “mobile gaming” grows ever so thin in 2022. So much so gaming giants such as Sony & Microsoft are pulling funding from major studio’s to focus on Mobile, so are looking for solutions to compete with the outrageously popular Nintendo Switch. But way back before Nintendo had the idea of the hybrid console, we gamers have been trying to play on our smartphones with connected controllers for eons, anyone remember the 1st Formfitting MFi Controller the Moga Ace Power way back in 2013? Handheld gaming has always been a thing, it just took someone as dedicated to gaming and powerful as Nintendo to get it right.
So back to present day, Apple’s latest OS (15.x) now natively supports PS4/PS5 and XBX ONE series S/X bluetooth controllers. <– do you notice something?. yes that’s right, Sony & Microsoft supported hardware on an Apple device. There still isn’t a Sony/Microsoft 1st party hardware solution to “in the hand Nintendo Switch style gaming” , and we don’t think there ever will be, we would like to see an Official Microsoft or Sony Mobile “remote play” controller over licensed 3rd parties. “Remote Play” (<—full thing here), this is Sony’s and Microsoft’s “play” to try & compete with the Nintendo Switch Juggernaut.
Brief Summary: Remote Play are streaming Apps written by 3rd parties such as Sony / Microsoft or Steam and installed on your iPhone. They then connect to your gaming platform hardware over WiFi/Cellular allowing your PC/PS4/PS5 or XBX Console to stream their console quality game video to your iPhones screen and your iPhone streams back the connected controller’s input, whether it be a supported bluetooth controller or for that “In the hand Nintendo Switch style gaming” we will need an MFi Formfitting Controller such as Razer Kishi, BackBone One or a GAMEVICE.
And here is where we pick up our topic, GAMEVICE have announced a new formfitting MFi Controller called ‘Flex” for exactly the purpose of Remote Play Gaming (PC/PS4/PS5/XBX) and direct Apple Gaming (iOS/Apple Arcade)., here’s our thoughts and what we know.
GAMEVICE are back in the game with a new formfitting controller called “Flex” for iOS. GAMEVICE has a track record of being a trusted Apple MFi controller manufacturer so all the latest MFi standards and high build quality are expected here. But why is it called FLEX? and what sets it apart from other MFi Formfitting controllers? And what are those clip inny parts no-one seems to elaborate on in the promo video below?
What’s in a name, why FLEX?
GAMEVICE took on customer feedback from their previous controllers and decided they needed to be more “FLEX”ible in their thinking and approach to their next game controller design, their previous iOS controllers came under gamer scrutiny as many iPhone owners use protective cases which become permanent fixtures, so removing them every time you wish to play a game was a hassle, so good to see GAMEVICE Flex supports most popular protective cases such as OTTERBOX, APPLE, UAG (Urban Armour Gear), CASETiFY, SAMSUNG plus they say thousands more! i’m sure someone will get round to listing them all at some point, and will keep some lucky soul at GameVice customer support v-busy 😉
Apple’s decision to remove the traditional 3.5mm Headphone socket on newer iPhones goes against everything gamers require for private gaming, so it’s great to see the new GameVice Flex has us covered there with it’s built in 3.5mm headphone socket which is a 1up over the Razer Kishi but matches the BackBone One controller.
One question that we have which is not clear, on some of the promo material it declares this socket to be a “headphone” socket while others it says “Audio”. there is a big difference “headphone” socket usually means just that, ie no microphone support, whilst Audio suggests it is, it would be nice to clarify whether mic works also?, we presume it is supported and will update this review accordingly, this is a great USP for gamers, so not sure why GAMEVICE marketing didn’t capitalize on this especially when it is essential for XBX/PS4/5 remote play online gaming.
We would have worded it something like, “Popular wired “gaming headsets’ supported with a 3.5mm audio socket.
Find a Fit: Play with your protective case on.
We see in the promo video, 2 clip in plastic parts that are interchangable, we presume these are to accommodate for different types of iPhone protective cases?
PROS: If a new case becomes available, or popular by demand case is requested, all GAMEVICE have to do is manufacture a piece of plastic to make the GAMEVICE Flex compatible with that protective case, maybe even go as far as release a 3MF/STL model drawing of the part so we can 3D print them ourselves? This is also a 1-up over both BackBone One & Razer Kishi Controllers.
CONS: Confusing for end user to know what part is for what case, separate small parts are often lost, Price is $10 higher than Razer Kishi & BackBone One but not this is not much a difference for the PROS over the competition.
Pre-Order Available now from the GAMEVICE website (Shipping Sept 2022)
Free 1 Month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate included with purchase (code issued digitally from the Gamevice Live App).