ROCCAT Power-Grid turns your smartphone into a PC gaming control board
By Paul Ridden
March 21, 2012
German gaming peripheral specialist ROCCAT Studios has developed a new system which leverages smartphone technology to enhance the experience of PC gaming. As well as being able to use a smartphone to store and activate gameplay buttons, Power-Grid technology also allows users to wirelessly control PC settings from the mobile device, display vital system performance data and keep in touch with the real world - all while staying fully absorbed in the game.
ROCCAT's Power-Grid technology gives players another means of interacting with the game being played on the PC, in this case using a smartphone. It's made up of two parts, the first being a free-to-download app. This presents the gamer with four control grids, which are loaded from tabs at the bottom of the mobile device's touchscreen. The tab to the left is called the Incoming Center grid and routes all outside voice and text communications to the smartphone's display so that the gamer can still keep in touch with what's going on in the outside world while playing the game.
Next is the Stats Control grid. This supplies the gamer with important information about the gaming PC - including CPU status, space remaining on the HDD, available system memory and network traffic - without taking up valuable gaming PC screen space. The third tab grants access to the Sound Control grid, which allows for fine tuning of the game's audio. The fourth block is reserved for user-created gaming buttons and controls, such as game-specific macros.
To link up the smartphone with the gaming PC, players will also need to download the free Power-Grid Launcher from ROCCAT's website and load it onto the computer. This, the second part of the system, enables the app to wirelessly communicate with the PC via the computer's WLAN connection. The Launcher program also includes a powerful editor for the creation of custom blocks for the fourth grid, and saved blocks can be shared with fellow players, colleagues or friends.
ROCCAT is currently inviting beta testers ahead of forthcoming availability on the iOS platform, followed in August with the launch of an Android-friendly version. Once out of beta, gamers who need more than the four supplied grids will be able to buy extra tabs from Apple's App Store or Android Market.
Propping a smartphone up against a PC monitor or laying it flat on a desk are not really the most ideal ways to view and interact with the Power-Grid app so ROCCAT will also have some specially-designed hardware available for purchase by the end of the year.
Project Phobo is a gaming keyboard with a built-in smartphone dock that will also charge the phone while it's housed in the keyboard. Also in the works is Apuri 2.0 - a stand and charger for a Power-Gear-enabled smartphone. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, details of Power-Grid gear pricing were not available.
A tablet-compatible version should be ready by Q4 2012 and ROCCAT is also aiming to develop its Power-Grid technology for gamers using Apple's line of computers.
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