Between crowd-funded consoles, gamepads and handhelds it would appear that Android has a bright future in gaming. Today, yet another company is throwing its hat in the ring. Led by Guitar Hero co-creator Charles Huang, Green Throttle aims to turn any Android device into a gaming platform by pairing it with a dual-stick gamepad and what they call a multitiered gaming system housed on an Android app.
For now the free Green Throttle Arena app is available to Kindle Fire HD owners only, but it will be rolling out to the Google Play Store by the end of the month to support other Android tablets and smartphones, starting with the Samsung Galaxy S3. The app highlights compatible games -- there’s only a handful of them but more will be added on a weekly basis -- and enables users to easily pair controllers with their device.
The Atlas controller makes up the other half of Green Throttle’s solution. It bears a resemblance to the Xbox 360 controller and connects via Bluetooth to the Kindle Fire HD, which itself pipes out video and audio from the Arena app to an HDTV via a micro HDMI cable. Fire everything up and you can start gaming on your living room TV.
But the real magic is the ability to support local multiplayer on an Android device. As Huang explains, tablets and smartphones presume a single-user experience, but once you hook them up to TV it becomes a shared experience. So while Android doesn't natively support pairing multiple controllers to your phone or tablet at a time, a special protocol written into Arena lets players connect and use up to four controllers.
Green Throttle's Arena app sorts out Bluetooth data from each device and separates them into four definable players. It's a neat trick, although unfortunately this level of integration also means that the Atlas controller will only work on Green Throttle enabled games -- and vice versa.
As the hardware inside phones and tablets keeps getting better, Green Throttle seems to be betting on a future where dedicated console hardware becomes redundant -- with gaming duties taken care of by hundreds smartphone and tablet devices that iterate on a yearly basis instead. Whether that vision realizes or not will depend on their ability to get developers interested in the platform. Either way it looks to be an interesting year for independent game developers and gamers in general with projects like Ouya, GameStick, Shield and others.
Video source: VentureBeat