News Article

Weirdness: Say Hello to the Cross Plane, a GamePad For Other Systems

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Well, not quite

In recent years Nintendo has produced some innovative products with established technology, endured some sniggers and confused coverage, and then seen the idea mimicked and reproduced by others. The idea of touch screens in gaming was rather fresh when the DS was unveiled, and some mocked the waggle motion controls of the Wii — touch screen gaming is huge nowadays (though not clamshell designs aside from the 3DS) while Sony and Microsoft jumped onto the motion bandwagon once Wii sales figures came through.

While the Wii U's had tough beginnings and is banking on a major revival starting at the back-end of this year, its concept of dual screen gaming in the home console space is gradually coming to the fore. We're seeing more integration of games with separate tablet apps, with Microsoft going with SmartGlass and Sony going for a mixture of tablet apps and Vita cross-platform support. What they don't offer is fully integrated, bespoke tablet-style options out of the box, like the Wii U; yet a project on Kickstarter, Cross Plane, is very much taking its lead from Nintendo's system.

As you can see in the image above, its design is pretty close to the Wii U, bringing to mind the JXD S7300 GamePad 2 tablet; unlike that device, this isn't a standalone tablet but is actually mimicking the GamePad's off-TV feature for multiple platforms. It's been in progress for two years — not long after the Wii U was revealed at E3 2011, but that may be coincidental — and has Jon Jandran on board, who's known for producing portable retro systems. The backing video does show SNES and N64 emulators running on the Ouya; that's naughty.

Its aim is to provide mirroring (off-TV play) for the Xbox 360, PS3, Ouya and PC, with plans to try and do the same with the Xbox One and PS4. It uses cartridges that utilise bluetooth (PS3, PC and Ouya) and alternative wireless connections (for the 360), which communicate with a HDMI transmitter plugged into the system; it has a wireless range of about 20 feet at present.

What it doesn't do, of course, is anything beyond that core function. What you're doing is shifting the TV or monitor display to the device within that range, whereas there won't be asynchronous multiplayer, motion control or second-screen gameplay; it's basically a limited range handheld for home consoles and PC. Its Kickstarter campaign is asking for $350 for the unit and one of the cartridge options, or $410 for the unit and both cartridges.

Aside from freeing up the TV for others, we're not quite convinced this is worth the price tag that's being demanded. Consumers will decide, of course, and perhaps from Nintendo's perspective imitation is a form of flattery.

Do you think there's any real point to this device, especially at this price? How important to you are the GamePad's other features and gameplay options beyond simple off-TV streaming? Sound off in the comments below.

[via kickstarter.com, joystiq.com]

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User Comments (82)

FX29

#2

FX29 said:

$350 to $410 for a simple add on? No thanks, I rather use that money to buy the Wii U.

RaylaxStaff

#5

Raylax said:

It looks incredibly cheaply made. Even in the promo shots that plastic is all dinged and warped haha. I think I'll pass.

Katzii

#7

Katzii said:

It'd be cheaper to buy another TV for other people to play games on/watch. Plus it does look like a cheap toy; one of those knock-off things you'd buy in the market.

HappyHappyist

#11

HappyHappyist said:

so... it's a controller that displays the exact same thing as whats on your PC or TV? come on. that makes no sense. even if that's what half the WiiU games are doing, WiiU still offers a more unique experience. and if a gamepad is more expensive than a home console that comes with a gamepad of it's own (with a touch screen), you got problems.

VincentV

#12

VincentV said:

Let me see...cheap looking, no exclusive games, unoriginal, even more expensive than a home console...yeah, I think a Wii U will do just fine. What a greedy unoriginal product. I doubt it's a coincidence too. If you want off-screen play for your PS3 / PS4, you're even better off w/ a Vita. Why get this? Who knows, maybe Xbox Smartglass will come to support off-screen play in the future for that matter.

gamingreal

#15

gamingreal said:

I actually really like this idea, out of my price range but i would defiantly get one if i had the money going spare.

AddDavey

#16

AddDavey said:

Wait, it cost as much as the Wii U yet you can't do as much on it and it looks ugly, why would anyone even think of buying one?

JimLad

#18

JimLad said:

"Aside from freeing up the TV for others, we're not quite convinced this is worth the price tag that's being demanded."
Precisely what most people say about the WiiU.

Coldfirex44

#20

Coldfirex44 said:

This looks cheap as heck. You can see how terrible this "device" was made. I don't think it's even worth the title, GamePad. Doesn't Nintendo have a patent for it's GamePad? If they dom they should seriously burn this crappy thing down to the depths of Dead Tech.

SanderEvers

#22

SanderEvers said:

The WIi U game pad actually works as a 2nd screen (like the bottom screen of a (3)DS) the Off-screen play is actually a feature of the Wii U, NOT the gamepad.

This, or project shield, actually works as the primary screen of your console (like your TV or PC monitor).

You could make a DS Wii U with this by sticking it on top a Wii U GamePad and using the HDMI streamer :p

lividd3ad

#23

lividd3ad said:

I like how the first two questions in the Kickstarter's FAQ basically admit that it's an expensive Wii U knock-off and then try (and fail) to justify it.

Goginho

#25

Goginho said:

HO SNAP!! Nintendo, you got competition :D ders a newcomer in town!

lol yea joke aside. I'm impressed, I guess? ..but everything I want, I can get on the Wii U when it comes to home console gaming. Soooo yah, that's just me personally.

ThomasBW84Admin

#26

ThomasBW84 said:

@JimLad I think the second screen is used well in quite a few Wii U games, personally, beyond simple off-TV play. What I think 'most' people say about the Wii U (though I don't generally like trying to claim knowledge of what 'most' people think) may be "is that a new console?". Raising awareness with consumers that don't browse gaming sites is a big priority.

SanderEvers

#27

SanderEvers said:

@ThomasBW84, so true. I often hear people talk about the Wii U claiming that it's a Wii with 2nd screen. They only see the most obvious difference between the Wii U and the Wii: the gamepad. They don't even know it's a complete new console that does full HD and has much more power than the WIi.

As awesome as the gamepad is, Nintendo needs to tell people more about the console itself in their advertisements.

Yoshis_VGM

#28

Yoshis_VGM said:

If this thing costs more than the Wii U (which comes with the console, GamePad, accessories, and a freakin' free game!) and it only comes with THIS...I think I'll pass.

tovare

#29

tovare said:

This looks cool, not sure how well it would work with Starcraft or Civilization V. Those games should have been ported to the Wii U anyway.

ouroborous

#30

ouroborous said:

well i love the idea of off-tv play but with the wii-u i tend to switch back and forth alot. at any rate this device isnt worth the same price tag as the wii u. wait a minute, the wii u isnt even worth it's price tag yet! lol.
maybe if it can emulate every previous-gen system and has a screen as good as the one on the gamepad, it could be kind of fun. and what's up with it needing to use some kind of bluetooth cartridges?

KingH3nrry

#31

KingH3nrry said:

Why not just use the money to buy the Wii U AND a couple of games? And the company's name is a joke: Advanced Gaming Innovations. The production/"invention" of this Wii U gamepad clone completely contradicts with the company's name.

mamp

#32

mamp said:

If you guys aren't supporting this device you guys are crazy this is the most innovative device I've ever seen there's nothing out there quite like it. Totally worth the $410 they're asking for actually I think we're very lucky because this machine could have been worth more and it's totally justified personally I've already given my money and so should all of you. LOL totally trolling if you haven't figured it out by now. One thing though I've been thinking is if this gamepade rip-off gives a general idea of how much a Wii U gamepad costs. Wait have they revealed the price for the Wii U gamepad?

Emblem

#34

Emblem said:

For the money they are asking you can get any of the 3 next gen consoles, its ridiculous that they even have any backers at all.

Mecha_Boo

#37

Mecha_Boo said:

....maybe they should go into making 3rd party gamepads for wii u or something. they really think they masterminded the idea for this controller haven't they. its just a wii u gamepad with hdmi input instead of connecting directly to a certain system.

Shambo

#39

Shambo said:

What's going on? If anyone ever buys this, they are going full silly. For that price, you can get a Wii U premium bundle! And whit the whole Nintendo-bashing community going 'no value for your money' (WORST false argument EVER) and 'the gamepad is a cheap, gimmicky piece of plastic', buying this would prove how utterly dumb they are.
Honestly... Quite a few people should be very, very ashamed. And if this ever DOES get picked up, even more people should sink in the ground of shame.
It reminds me too of ps move and kinect.

'Wii and motion controls are for babies. Oh look Sony made a... Thing with a glowing... Ball on... And it does motion controls! REVOLUTIONARY!'

'Wait until you see my kinect controller... YOU CAN'T 'CAUSE IT HAS NONE! But my kinekt DOES see YOU! That level of INNOVATION!'

And yes, a flood of shovelware followed. This thing doesn't even have the capability to add to your gameplay options, and it's more expensive than the Wii U.

JebbyDeringer

#40

JebbyDeringer said:

First of all it's a prototype so yeah the plastic isn't perfect, second they can't make it cheaper unless they ramp up production. I think it's a great idea, I'd love to play my PC in another room. Price is too high now but I'd consider it for half that or less.

Yes they are copying the concept of the WiiU controller but they are thinking much broader.

kegluneq

#42

kegluneq said:

if I ever need this one (already have my wiiU, don't need a stupid imitation), for that price... I buy another tv like mine. LG full hd and didn't cost me so much.

Ailingforale

#43

Ailingforale said:

It's neat in concept, but I feel he's asking a ton more than it's worth. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a lawsuit, but at the same time I'd tell Nintendo to pick it's battles unless it really has a case.

retro_player_22

#44

retro_player_22 said:

A neat product but if the purpose of this thing is to play illegal roms, OnLive, or iOS apps then no thanks, we got millions of other products like this on the market that could do that already. I would only get it if it got its own library of games.

WaxxyOne

#45

WaxxyOne said:

This comically misses the point. For $350, on top of the price of your console of choice, you can play on your gamepad as long as you stay within 20 feet. So it's not a portable system, it doesn't support any of the other functions that make the Wii U great, all it lets you do is allow someone else to use the TV while you play. For the low-low price of $350.

Or, you can drop $300 (after Sept 20th) to get a game console WITH a controller that offers the same off-TV play, built-in motion control, asynchronous multiplayer and the ability to do much more than simply duplicating the screen.

This project is stupid and I hope it falls on its face completely.

deusy

#46

deusy said:

"...the body style is flat out different from any controller (except the Wii U) on the market."

That is just bad.

Squiggle55

#47

Squiggle55 said:

Not an absolutely horrible idea, but the price makes it absolutely useless. You can buy a Wii U for cheaper. You can buy a Vita for cheaper. You can buy a, what?, 30 inch HDTV for cheaper? Those are all better options for cheaper if you're worried about letting someone else use the TV while you're gaming.

mikeyman64

#48

mikeyman64 said:

Very cool device. Definitely looks like something a game modder would come up with. Can't see it going for that much money though. It's just unrealistic.

AVahne

#52

AVahne said:

Though, I do find it funny that devices like this, the Razer Edge, and the WikiPad are using the same stick layout that Nintendo is now using.
Though, the triggers and shoulders on this thing look horribly uncomfortable to use.

Wowfunhappy

#54

Wowfunhappy said:

This isn't really trying to compete with the Wii U. It's a super niche product for a small, but possibly very sizable audience.

And it's a nice product. Yes, the Wii U can play (most) games on the controller, but not Xbox 360 or PS3 games. The Nvidia Shield can only stream PC games, and only if you own specific graphics cards. Likewise, the PS Vita can only stream certain PS3 games, and because of how Sony designed remote play, it also has some issues with latency that the other devices I mentioned don't.

This should work with pretty much everything in time, so it's a pretty neat product. I'm certainly not interested, as I don't own a PS3 or Xbox 360 and usually don't use off tv play on my wii u either, but I think it has an audience.

Edit: From their own Kickstarter page:
"We're not Nintendo, we're not Sony, we don't have the resources to compete on a level like that, and we're not trying to do that, it's not our goal to make millions of these. We just had an idea, one that we really think people would like, something that would be refreshing and we wanted people to get a hold of one."

Rafx

#55

Rafx said:

I would love to have one of theese. Wold be awsome to sit in the same room as the wife while she watches TV and play xbox.

The price point on the other hand.........

scottsensei

#56

scottsensei said:

This can't succeed. Let's look at this.

Wii U costs the same as this thing but offers more with a Gamepad that does more. By the 20th, the Wii U will cost less while still offering the same components.

Now let's add this thing to the PS4 and Xbox One for giggles. You're adding $350 to a $400 and $500 console respectively and we haven't even gotten games, paid for online, gotten an extra regular controller, or any other peripherals. I calculated that just to fully arm your PS4 and XBox One including the Cross Plane, you could buy almost FOUR fully loaded Wii U's, and that's the system with game, two extra games, and a Pro Controller. I only calculated for the PS4 and XBox One because this thing by itself costs more than the PS3 and XBox 360.

Now add in that this thing does less than a laptop or tablet (PC sales are gone) and undermines the existence of both the PS Vita and XBox Smart Glass and even Sony and Microsoft will find this to be more of a nuisance than a blessing for an answer to the second screen gaming problem.

And if it supports Ouya... it costs over three times the cost of an Ouya. Full stop.

If this guy isn't hit with a cease and desist letter from SOMEONE by month's end I will be shocked.

mystman12

#57

mystman12 said:

@Wowfunhappy You forgot the very end of that quote which says "at a reasonable price point". I undesrstand it may be expensive to produce but even then it's not worth $350.

Wowfunhappy

#58

Wowfunhappy said:

@mystman12 Remember that, BECAUSE it's a niche product, they can't use economies of scale to bring costs down. Buying parts is a lot more expensive when you can't commission mass quantities of them.

From a consumer standpoint, it's pricey, but if you're a super dedicated cross platform gamer who wants to be able to play in bed before falling asleep, there's nothing else on the market like it.

WhiteTrashGuy

#59

WhiteTrashGuy said:

$100 is the most I'd pay for this. Off-Tv play was the main reason I bought a WiiU at launch. This would be interesting. But honestly I've fallen so much in love with all the other things that the WiiU does, I just can't put much stock in this.

Trikeboy

#61

Trikeboy said:

$349 for this? Oh wait, an extra $50 to ship it. If I want the Xbox pak and PS3 pak it will cost me $460. No, definitely not something I want, maybe if it was cheaper.

Moshugan

#64

Moshugan said:

I would love a streaming device like this with my PC!
Off-TV play is definitely one of my favorite features on Wii U and it would be so cool to have with anything.

For this kind of gadget to be worth buying the production quality would have to be high enough (it's already got an HD screen, so that cool, but the case looks quite bulky,), there shouldn't be any lag (!) and the price should be lower. Too bad it's not good enough. :3
Considering the price of this device, it's AMAZING what Nintendo achieved with the GamePad, managing to keep the cost of Wii U relatively low.

I just wish someone would make it possible to use the Wii U GamePad on a PC seamlessly!
I reiterate myself, it would be a small personal dream come true if it was possible to use all the features of the GamePad with a regular PC. Playing games, watching vids, using the touch-screen as a mouse, map controls to the motion sensors - all of it!
for starters, steaming and using it as a pad would be just great.

Moshugan

#65

Moshugan said:

@Bryon15 If your PC can run it, then this can stream it. That's the advertisement.
It's not a stand-alone device, it's just a wireless controller-monitor-hybrid.

PinkSpider

#71

PinkSpider said:

So when you buy this just remember that slag off the Wii U for doing this ;-)
insults are not necessary — TBD

Hit-Girl

#73

Hit-Girl said:

This is butt with a side of butt sauce!
That's how much butt is going on here.

digga

#74

digga said:

itll be tacky,, itll feel really cheaply made unlike the wii u pad,,, scrap it now,,, its a waste of time

rdp223

#75

rdp223 said:

I actually like the idea and I think it's a good start. But price is ehhh...they have 40inch TVs with full 1080p for a lot cheaper these days. I think they would have to add touch screen features and make the device not look so cheap.

SmashAttack

#76

SmashAttack said:

Watch as the same Xbox/PS fanboys who mocked Nintendo for the GamePad buy this and call it "The best thing to come to the gaming world"

UpdateNightmare

#77

UpdateNightmare said:

At that price your better off just buying another screen. Or a PS4 and PS Vita for the same functionality.

tanookisuit

#80

tanookisuit said:

Yeah that'll fail at that price. Get it down to what the cost of a replacement WiiU tablet game pad goes for, then maybe you'll have a shot. Seriously though for anything other than the hardcore or those who see hundreds as kleenex cash it needs to come in under $100 for most to care.

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