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Flitchio turns your smartphone case into a gaming controller

Making gaming controllers is a competitive business, but we do feel like Flitchio is winning at least in the innovation department. This thing is something else!
By
June 16, 2015

Smartphone gaming accessories come and go in this fierce industry. A select few stick around for a while, an even more select group sticks around for long… but most simply wither away. This is because the market is congested and a manufacturer really needs to stand out from the crowd in order to grab people’s attention. We need to accept this Flitchio gaming controller that just hit Kickstarter did catch our eyes.

So by now you already get the gist that this is going to be no average controller, and that’s because it is kind of out of this world. It’s pretty much a smartphone case that doubles as a gaming controller. What makes it unique is that it puts the controls on the back of the device, where they claim there is mostly dead space (unless you have an LG G4, ASUS ZenFone 2 or something of the like).

So it has a couple joysticks and a shoulder button on each side, taking at least most of the action out of the screen. Furthermore, this is said to be no gaming slouch. Data is delivered at 60 Hz, which should keep lag to a minimum, and the buttons are pressure-sensitive, making for a much more interactive and tactile experience.

This Flitchio controller is really a piece of work. Do you want to hear the best part? This thing has no battery and needs no Bluetooth or WiFi to function. It runs on the phone’s idle energy and connects with the handset via enhanced NFC (communicates both ways). And because it’s so slim and wraps around your device, it is pretty much the most portable mobile gaming controller we have seen (except maybe for that Impulse Controller, but that is in another ballpark).

How does it work?

flitchio-gif
All the user needs to do is snap the case on and wake the display, as the case doesn’t work when the phone is sleeping. It will activate as soon as the smartphones turns on, but some of you may not like that, so the Flitchio guys did include a toggle you can use to turn the device “invisible”. This would also allow the user to do other things with that NFC chip, so if you are a contact-less payment buff you may want to just keep it off when not gaming.

The free Flitchio app will be used to control your gamepad’s settings and discover compatible games. The application automatically detects when you are playing a supported title, so gaming is really just a tap or two away after launching your game.

Supported games and other use cases

flitchio-games

So the Flitchio controller supports a bevy of titles and emulators. They have a complete list of compatible games at their website, but some popular ones include Dead Trigger 2, Tomb Raider 1 and Wave Blazer.

Because this is a case and you will pretty much carry it with you at all times, Flitchio did add some extra functionality to it. This convenient accessory can be used to pilot drones, release the shutter for a selfie, control music, unlock your phone and even browse the web.

Supported devices

So far the only compatible smartphones are the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. They are adding support for a third one soon, but a decision on which one it will be has yet to be made. In fact, they are letting customers choose by conducting a poll. You should go participate if you want your phone to be part of the party!

flitchio-phones

Here are some demos and reactions

Price, launch and conclusion

So now that you know all the details, you probably just want us to get to the point and tell you how much this phone will cost. Right now you can get it for as low as £39 (about $61 USD), but that is with the Super Early Bird special. Early Bird backers can also get it for £59 (about $92 USD), but the regular Kickstarter price for a controller is £66 (about $103 USD). So there you have it, it’s not exactly cheap, but you do have to consider it’s both a case and a controller… and a pretty awesome one, at that.

The device will start shipping to backers first, on January 2016. That’s a bit too much to wait, if you ask me. I mean, I would no longer have the Galaxy S6 or S5 Edge by then! Regardless, it seems like a promising little gadget.

flitchio-gaming-guy

I do wonder it will be hard to get used to using joysticks with something other than your thumbs. Not to mention, they are pretty much backwards, compared to what we are used to with regular gamepads. Also, it only has two buttons and two joysticks! That is a bit limited, but the controller is a novel idea and still seems pretty awesome. I am hoping it can live to see it evolve into something much better when/if the next iteration comes around.

Do sound off in the comments and tell us what you think of it, though. Will you be signing up for one?