I know you saw this one coming. Gaming is a huge part of 2 Shots of Geek, and while CES isn’t a gaming focused convention, we did find a good deal of gaming accessories at the show. There were a lot of expected items, and a few surprises as we walked the show floor. Nyko is looking to make a big splash by supporting two important sectors: Wii U and Android gaming. Let’s take a look at what they brought to CES.
Nyko brought a bevy of Wii U accessories to CES 2013. They tackled a real problem with the Wii U: the gamepad battery life. The Wii U gamepad is an innovative piece of technology, but the battery life isn’t near optimal for a device of its nature. Nyko stepped in with several options, the first being their Powerpak. The Wii U gamepad battery is a lot smaller than the compartment that holds it, so Nyko stepped in with a battery that takes up all the space. It is three times the capacity of the standard battery, and doesn’t feel any heavier than the stock battery. This seems like a no-brainer upgrade to me, and will retail for $24.99. For those people who don’t want to open their gamepads, Nyko is offering their U Boost. It is a battery pack/stand for the gamepad. It just attaches on the back of the unit, and has a built-in kickstand. It will provide twice the capacity as the standard battery, and will still allow you to use the standard cradle. It will also retail for $24.99, and will be available in black or white. Next up we have the Charge Station U. It will charge one Wii U gamepad and two Wiimotes at once. The cradle comes with two batteries and covers for the Wiimotes, has two LEDs that show charging levels, and places the Wii U gamepad at a viewable angle. This will retail for $34.99
Next up is their Pro Commander. This is an alternative to the Nintendo Pro Controller, which seems to be in short supply right now. It has a feeling closer to an Xbox 360 controller, which makes it better in my book than the first party option. It has a built-in battery, comes with a USB cable for charging, and is compatible with all games that use the Pro Controller. This will retail for $34.99 and comes in black and white. Last is their Charge Base Pro. It is in the same vein as their previous Charge Stations for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. It’s lightweight, and charges two Pro Controllers at once. It uses a standard outlet, uses magnetic USB charge adapters for ease of use, and comes in black and white. It retails for $29.99.
Now we move on to the Android offerings. These units aren’t new, but we did get some insight as to how Nyko made decisions on how the controllers work. Bluetooth gamepads are becoming more common, but they all function in different ways. I got a MOGA controller for Christmas, and while it feels like a quality piece, it uses a proprietary SDK, so in order for a game to support it, it needs to be written specifically for MOGA’s SDK. Nyko went to nVidia and decided to follow their example, and the controllers use the open HID protocol. Nyko has also included an app to program buttons for games that don’t support HID. This makes their offerings very full-featured and compatible with almost all games. Nyko has two models, the Playpad and Playpad Pro. Both are modeled after the usual console offerings, main difference is the size. I tried them both in Dead Trigger and they felt great, so much so that I would feel guilty playing Shadowgun online using one of these instead of the touchscreen controls. The Playpad is made to be ultra-portable, and comes with a case and a small stand for a tablet, while the Playpad Pro is a little smaller than an Xbox 360 controller. They are both available in black and white, and retail for $39.99.
All of Nyko’s offerings look and feel solid, and we can’t wait to spend more time with them. Nyko is looking to make a bigger impact in the accessory market in 2013, and by targeting these two viable markets, they seem to be on the right track. We will keep you posted on Nyko’s offerings as they are announced.