Everyone knows that modern mobile phones offer great gaming on the go, but certain games need more than flat, unresponsive onscreen controls. Shooters, platformers, fighting games, racing games -- for the best possible experience, you need a real, handheld controller.
You can buy one, of course; they come in all shapes and sizes. But they all have one thing in common: They're separate, standalone gizmos, usually of the large, unwieldy, inconvenient variety. Something else to remember, something else to have to squeeze into a bag or pocket.
Ah, but what if your game controller was also your smartphone carrying case? That's the idea behind Indiegogo project GameBeat, which aims to make mobile gaming more, er, mobile.
From the outside, the GameBeat resembles a fairly standard bifold leather case. Open it up, however, and you'll find a soft-plastic controller (one designed not to scratch your screen) outfitted with two joysticks, a D-pad, a/b/x/y buttons and a smattering of other controls (including an OK button that doubles as a remote camera shutter).
That controller is held in place via a suction-cup pad, while your phone lies on a no-residue adhesive pad that can rotate, thus allowing you to snap photos without having to remove it from the case.
The two connect via Bluetooth, which is common for third-party controllers. The more interesting news here is the hinge built into the case: It can lock in place at just about any angle, thus giving you what should be the ideal view for gaming.
The GameBeat will come in four colors -- black, white, blue and pink -- and four sizes, one each for different smartphone sizes (from "up to 4.5 inches" to "5.5 to 6 inches"). It's expected to have a retail price of $85, but early backers can get one for as little as $45.
Before you get too excited, though, check out the timetable: The developers don't plan to ship until mid-2016, meaning it could be close to a year before you get to groove to a GameBeat. Are you willing to wait that long?