We love CES. The best and brightest tech companies roll out their latest kit for all to see, proudly touting the latest innovations in gadgets, gear and gaming. However, it's also a great opportunity to point and laugh at some of the more ridiculous excesses the industry has to offer.
Cue the Mad Catz L.Y.N.X. 9.
This hybrid controller can expand and adapt to fit any Android smartphone or tablet, offers PC connectivity, resembles the spawn of Frenzy and a Batarang and can be yours for the low price of only £24.99.
Oh, wait. Sorry. That should read £249.99. Let the pointing and giggling commence.
Let's accentuate the positive first. The LYNX 9 is an ambitious bit of kit to be sure, capable of transforming into multiple different permutations in order to cradle Android phones and tablets into its nightmarish plastic talons. You'll then benefit from physical controls while playing the relatively small number of Android apps this actually benefits. An integrated microphone allows access to voice communication or hands-free calls, plus it comes with some cabling to plug your tablet into your television. There's a full QWERTY keyboard too, plus PC compatibility. Admittedly this functionality comes at the cost of the device consisting of three separate pieces.
I love to see hardware companies go completely gonzo when it comes to designing new gear, so I applaud Mad Catz for showing some ambition. It's a slow clap, though. A very, very slow clap indeed.
A picture tells a thousand words, so I'm not going to dedicate any more words to the aesthetics. Just look at it.
LOOK AT IT.
If you can. Though functionality always means more to me than looks -- as a fan of the R.A.T. gaming mouse series, I'm all about function and form over aesthetics -- this is something else. As I'm feeling slightly nauseous, I'm not going to dwell on it.
What I would like to dwell on, however, is the price. £250.00 (officially confirmed as the UK price point) is an obscene amount of money for this plastic 3-piece monstrosity for oh so many reasons.
Partly because you could buy a 3DS and a Vita for that money in one of the many recent deals, thus getting yourself two dedicated gaming systems with physical controls and games libraries designed around them. Partly because you could buy separate third-party controllers/docks for your specific Android devices, and an Xbox 360 controller, with enough change left over for a whole load of games. Or an NVIDIA Shield clamshell, which lets you stream your PC games too. Partly because, and I hate to be this guy, the amount of Android games that are actually worth using a Bluetooth controller for are fairly limited. Partly because it doesn't even have the decency to do anything ridiculous, unique or crazy for its price!
But mainly because it's pointless and a huge waste of energy. Why would you want to spend ages fiddling about with a £250 controller to make it fit multiple devices in the first place?
When the mood to play an Android game takes you, are you seriously going to dig out a controller-sized peripheral, unfold it, assemble and reconfigure its three parts (putting the unnecessary component/s in your pocket?) bolt it onto your phone, play it for a bit, then remove it, reconfigure and attach to a tablet, play that for a bit, then reconfigure it again just so you can play PC games with it in the evening? What problem is the LYNX 9 solving, exactly? Where's the utility in all this? What's the point?
£249.99. It's your money, I suppose.