The iPhone was clearly not built specifically for gaming. Not having tactile buttons that you can feel is a major problem for any serious gamer. In addition, making mistakes in games in infinitely more frustrating, than say, writing an email. In an email you can just backspace and fix it, whereas in a game you are penalized much more.
Thumbies solve this problem by sticking onto your screen, and providing a tactile D-Pad and buttons. It feels just like a game controller, and it works out of the box. Since it interacts through the screen, it is incredibly easy for developers to support.
I started working on this concept over a year and a half ago. I first built a playstation to iPhone adapter, and had that 90% complete when this idea struck me. I figured, the user’s thumbs are already taking up space on the screen, why can’t you just put a button pad ontop of the screen? Within 30 minutes I had my first prototype, loaded up Mario, and I knew I was onto something.
It’s a very simple concept, which results in interesting responses from people. I got quite a lot of people scoffing at the idea “Why would you put buttons on a TOUCH screen?”. But those who took time to think it through, saw the advantages:
- It’s a simple product, making the development cycle short.
- Since there are no electronics, the cost is fairly low, making a $14.99 price point possible.
- Developers don’t need to write additional code to support it; don’t have to depend on developers for it to be adopted.
- The market for iPhone, iTouch, and iPad gaming is HUGE.
- The most common complaint about iPhone games is the lack of tactile feedback. The market is clamoring for a solution.
We are contacting more developers, who so far are thrilled. It will be interesting to see how it is adopted over time.