LetsGoDigital reported on Nintendo’s new Switch VR headset and Joy-Con controllers earlier. American manufacturer Razer is now releasing a gamepad with controllers that looks familiar to Nintendo Switch. It can be said that the massive success of the Nintendo Switch does not go unnoticed by competitors. However, being in the same vertical, others can also conceive a similar idea for mobile gaming.
Razer is an American manufacturer that develops computer hardware and accessories, specifically aimed at gamers. These products are often provided with Razer’s unique Chroma lighting. The company also manufactures its gaming smartphones.
Almost seven years ago the manufacturer already designed a particularly powerful Windows tablet, the Razer Edge Pro can be used with the optional Edge Gamepad controller so that you can transform the tablet into a real gaming handheld instantly. This gives gamers the ability to play PC games like on a console.
Razer game controllers to attach to tablet for handheld gaming
Razer (Asia-Pacific) from Singapore filed a patent for a ‘gaming controller for mobile device and method of operating a gaming controller’ on March 5, 2019. The patent was applied for in America and was published on August 1, 2019, in the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office) database.
The gaming device at the first instance looks a lot like the popular Nintendo Switch handheld. A tablet screen can be seen in the middle, with a narrow controller on both sides that has the same height as the tablet screen. The patent description reads that the controllers are removable.
In contrast to the Switch, the buttons of the left and right controller are identical to each other. With a joystick at the top and a D-pad directly below it. Both controllers also have a shoulder button, which can optionally be expanded with a second shoulder button, as the patent description states.
The left-hand controller also has an LED indicator and the right-hand controller has an elongated button on the same spot, which serves for various game functions, including pausing a game.
The patent literally refers to the Razer Edge Gamepad Controller. Although gamers get extra freedom in the control options with this accessory, this gamepad is quite large and heavy. It weighs 1.4 kilos. The new solution must overcome these disadvantages and at the same time work as intuitively as its predecessor.
The controllers are held magnetically in place. This works considerably differently than with the Switch because Nintendo uses a kind of rail system in which you have to slide the controller. Therefore, Razer opts for a magnetic solution, whereby the controller is designed so that it fits perfectly with the mobile device so that the user retains a firm grip.
Both Razer game controllers have a separate battery. The controllers offer Bluetooth support and can be connected via USB HID to the mobile device, such as a tablet. The HID transport protocol is used for this.
Most game applications are based on the use of one controller. Since Razer has opted for two controllers, the compatibility problems that arise are solved using the HID protocol. Therefore, the mobile device can recognize the input of both controllers separately. The patent says the following about this:
HID protocol explained:
The HID transport protocol has been adapted to other protocols, such as Bluetooth, to describe when a button has been pressed or a joystick has been moved. The HID protocol defines the capabilities of the game controller attaching to the computer through an HID descriptor, while changes in the state of buttons and joysticks are represented through HID reports. The operating system of a computer or mobile device, such as Linux, Android, and Windows, process HID descriptors and reports to create a one-to-one mapping of devices and interfaces, so a game application sees the input or every attached device in making use of them.
When will these new Razer controllers and tablet be released?
The Razer Edge Pro and the Edge game controller were introduced at CES 2013. It is quite possible that Razer will announce a successor during CES 2020 which will commence from January 7 to 10 in n Las Vegas, America. The company is present at the Consumer Electronics Fair every year to exhibit its latest innovations.
However, it is not known whether the game controllers and the tablet will be sold separately or Razer opts for an all-in package. Regarding pricing, Razer is known for marketing high-end gaming products. These are equipped with the fastest and most powerful components, which naturally also have a price tag.
In 2013 the Edge Gamepad controller was launched for $250, at that time you could buy the Xbox 360 within that price tag. The accompanying tablet received a prize of $1,000 to $1,450, depending on the configuration. However, it was the most powerful and best tablet available at the time.
However, if Razer intends to release this new game accessory with a new tablet, the price will undoubtedly be higher as compared to the Nintendo Switch.