MFi-standard and Stratus XL for Windows/Android
Someone with a little insight who might have an idea about why the MFi-standard does not to include some buttons that are more or less industry standard by now, like the start, select and clickable joysticks?
I bought the Stratus XL primarily for playing streamed PC-games via Moonlight but the lack of these buttons makes me have to resort to on-screen buttons, which may or may not be used very frequently as it differs from game to game, but it's less than ideal.
The upcoming Windows/Android version of the controller has all these buttons which makes me want get that one instead. But since it's marketed as an Windows/Android-controller I can only assume that it won't ever be able to connect to an iPad (without jailbreaking) even though it uses bluetooth...
I think it's important to keep in mind just how intimidating a game controller can be to casual gamers. Buttons all over the place, multiple d-pad / analog layouts, hidden buttons... Controllers have gone a bit overboard.
I get the feeling Apple wanted to simplify things a bit. Did we really need a Start AND Select button, when most games could be written to combine them into one function? Do we really need clickable analog sticks with nonsensical L3 and R3 designations?
Apple added a Pause button instead of Start and Select, which makes infinitely more sense that either of those phrases in the context in which those buttons are used.
But yes, this does make emulating / streaming a bit more challenging. Non-MFi controllers cannot be used on iOS, at least not without jailbreaking and installing a mod
Yes, of course they could be simplified and we may not 'need' all those buttons, but they've been there since I don't know when and Sony, MS, Nintendo and Valve (well, sort of) are all sticking to the tried and true formula which in turn makes it easy for developers to get their games out to all systems without having to worry about different controller layouts.
Now when the portable devices are starting to become powerful enough to run really advanced games, it's a golden opportunity for developers to get their multi-platform titles out to yet another format. But that possibility gets hampered by decisions like this. Sure, the could probably work around these input limitations, but they wouldn't have to, if Apple just for once had chosen to stick to a 'standard' instead of always having to go their own way.
It would also be a golden opportunity for Apple to get a foot in yet another market. But they don't seem especially interested in that part, since gaming get about five minutes in the spotlight at their events, and those minutes is spent showcasing the graphical capabilities of the devices and rarely anything else.
Anyway....On the subject of non-MFi controllers. I've been thinking about getting a Gamephone Controller Pro from Big Ben (http://goo.gl/m4xdBO), because of it's multi-platform capabilities. But your comment about non-MFi controllers not being usable on iOS made me wonder if there's any use in getting one of those? Remember that I rarely ever play any iOS game, and when I do it's almost always one which can easily be controlled with the touch-screen. The controller, as mentioned previously, is going to be used for streamed PC-games, so as long as it works with that, then it's ok. If it happens to be compatible with iOS-games, then that's just a plus.
If Apple had only allowed the Standard layout (IE the one used by the Logitech PowerShell) I'd agree with you. But the Extended layout used by bluetooth MFi controllers is really good. I don't blame them removing a few superflous buttons.
It wouldn't take a competent developer long to modify their controls to make sense with Apple's layout. I don't believe it would stop any developers from adding controller support - the lack of a Select button and clickable joysticks won't be a factor in whether or not console games are ported to iOS.
A sign that consoles have too many buttons is that in many cases, I've seen console-to-iOS ports use this as an opportunity to remove superflous controls. FPS games removing the jump button, GTA losing the Crouch command... these games didn't need these functions in the first place, and probably only had them because controllers had extra buttons for actions.
And let's not forget the Gamecube, with arguably the best controller ever made, lacked many of the buttons of a PlayStation or Xbox controller.
Anyways, as for streaming with non-MFi controllers, it depends entirely on the app. To my knowledge, Moonlight only works with actual MFi controllers. You COULD try to map the controller directly to your PC, instead of relying on Moonlight's controller mapping, but then you run into bluetooth range issues.