Turn your PC into a portable console with an Xbox 360 controller, tablet, and Splashtop [Video]

I’ve written a lot about using various game controllers on Android on this site, including how you can use an Xbox 360 controller for Android devices. I recently discovered a new use for the USB wireless adapter used for that connection, namely using it to get the controller working on my desktop PC. It’s not exactly a beast of a machine, but it runs most PC games just fine, and console game ports that are a few years old by now are not an issue.

I decided to take it a step further, and test to see how well the entire setup worked if I also connected to my computer using Splashtop 2 on the iPad mini. Splashtop is actually fast enough on a peroper local WiFi connection to let you stream both movies and games by remote controlling your PC, and it just so happens that this works fairly well when you throw a controller into the mix. By running the computer in the iPad’s native 1024 x 768 resolution, running the game Just Cause 2 in windowed mode at the same resolution, and then remote controlling the PC from the iPad, I ended up with  a wireless Xbox 360 controller that controlled a fully fledged console/PC game on my iPad mini.

You first reaction to this might be why anyone would want to do that. The Wii U just came out, and it actually uses the same principle. Its main controller has an LCD screen, which either works in conjunction with a game, or to actually act as the main screen. When it does this, it essentially streams the picture from the console, giving you a wireless controller/screen combination that utilizes stationary hardware for the actual computing. OnLive is based on the same concept of remote computing.

The benefit of the solution used on the Wii U is that, while you’re still restricted to where you have a signal to the console, your powerful gaming console suddenly becomes a couch device. After seeing how well the Splashtop/iPad mini/controller combination works, I’m going to look into whether or not I can successfully split an Xbox controller in half, making a Wii U-esque gamepad for the iPad mini, where the mini is held between two controller parts. That might be difficult, but luckily a PC is very flexible with regards to what controllers it supports, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be a complicated Xbox 360 controller.

This trick has been done before, but I’m surprised at how well it “just works” with apps and accessories I already have. I already use the 360 controller to play a lot of games i buy on Steam, so bringing it to this more portable format is only a Splashtop connection away.

Liked it? Take a second to support Pocketables on Patreon!

Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets and tends to stick with his choice of device for a long time as a result of that. After a five year break from writing, he's back to share this view with the world once again.