Mobile gaming – or more specifically, hardware made with mobile gaming in mind – has been an exceptionally tough nut for the industry to crack. Devices like the Sony Xperia Play or even the new NVIDIA Shield have failed to catch on in any appreciable way, and add-on gaming accessories continue to remain a very niche product. A big OEM just might have the muscle to do something about the latter one there, and we’ve been hoping to see Samsung take a stab at the market ever since it introduced its Bluetooth GamePad accessory when announcing the Galaxy S 4. You might remember the controller from when we used images on Samsung’s site to speculate about the size of the then-still-unannounced Note 3, but even months and months later, the GamePad still wasn’t available for sale. Samsung sure took its sweet time in doing so, but the GamePad is finally hitting retail, as we get news of its European launch.
Samsung’s GamePad works with phones with screen sizes from 4 to 6.3 inches, connecting over Bluetooth 3.0. Of course, Samsung just had to optimize things for its own devices, and recent Galaxy models will be able to quickly pair with the GamePad over NFC and support a “play” button for speedy game launches. The controller gives users two analog thumbsticks, two shoulder triggers, four face buttons, and an 8-way d-pad (though the design has changed since the last look we had, dropping the cross).
Beyond Europe, Samsung says that the GamePad is coming to “additional regions in the coming weeks;” we’re still waiting for info on pricing.