Despite Google seemingly taking the first step towards Old Yella’ing Stadia and putting it out to pasture, cloud gaming is still a major battleground to be won. Whether it’s Geforce Now, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna or Microsoft’s Cloud Streaming, there’s clearly a belief that this is an important feature that gamers want or that could invite new players in. To be fair, the idea of hopping on whatever device you happen to have to hand and playing your games, no matter where you are, is certainly alluring, and with the PowerA MOGA full-size controller, you’re able to get as close to a home console experience as possible.
The MOGA is modelled on the Xbox One controller, which is, I’ll happily argue, the most comfortable controller design out there. That’s probably not all too surprising when you learn that the MOGA is officially tied to Microsoft’s Cloud Streaming brand (nee Project xCloud), and there’s a great big Xbox button in the centre, just as there would be on the real thing. When you’re playing on Android, hitting it takes you straight through to the Xbox Game Pass app, from where you can head straight into gameplay with very little fuss. If you’ve got a WiFi connection, or a 5G one, you’re going to find very swiftly that it’s a setup that just works. Barring a hiccup here or there in the stream, you’ll be able to play games in a way that’s hard to discern from having the physical console in the room.
Perhaps the strangest thing, given all that, is that the MOBA doesn’t have any functionality for the Xbox family of consoles. It will work with your PC or laptop over Bluetooth or a wired connection, with a host of cabling options covering both USB-A and USB-C options, and similarly, you can play over Bluetooth with tablets and mobile phones, with the possibility of a cabled option if your device supports it.
While the MOGA is modelled on the Xbox controller, you will immediately feel a difference in quality once it’s in your hands. It doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as the real thing, and there’s a pervading sense of it being a cheaper option, despite the RRP price tag actually being slightly higher. It has to be said that the analogue sticks, D-pad and the face buttons are solid, responsive and usable, with the sticks offering an experience that’s very close to the official controller.
What aren’t a match are the shoulder buttons and the triggers. The shoulder buttons lack the tactility of the Xbox controller, while the triggers have none of the reassuring weight that you’ll find in Microsoft’s designs. They feel light, and the return motion seems a micro-second or two slower as well. They are the weakest part of the package, and if you’re planning to play something that’s heavy on the triggers, whether that’s Gears 5 or Forza Horizon 4, it’s worth bearing in mind.
They will do the job though, and the MOGA offers a number of other features that you won’t find elsewhere which will make gaming on the go an absolute breeze. First and foremost is the included phone clamp, which offers a frankly unbelievable 220 degrees of articulation, and lets you position your phone exactly where you want it to be. I’ve only seen a similar level of articulation in the Stadia-specific Orzly clamp, and that retails for £17 on its own. As it turns out, you can nab the clip for £15, and paired with an official Xbox controller, and I really think this would be my preferred way to play, at least around the house.
The MOGA also works as a 3000mAh power bank with a USB-A socket for charging your device from. It’s going to keep you gaming for a number of extra hours, which is perfect if you’re planning to put some serious time into Gamepass titles like Greedfall or Dungeon Quest XI. There’s a dedicated switch to activate it, and you can check in on the MOGA’s charge level with another button and its series of LEDs.
The final boon for the MOGA is its additional action buttons, positioned just beneath the tips of each of your middle fingers. These can be programmed on the fly by holding the green programming button for two seconds, then pressing the button you want to re-assign, followed by the underside action button. It’s swift, simple, and the buttons themselves feel reactive while being a decent size so you can’t miss them.
The MOGA is focussed on the emphatic Game Pass streaming user, and as a package it offers a range of benefits that are going to answer the prayers of those using their mobile device as a screen. The clamp is fantastic in its own right, with an unbelievable level of adjustment and a feeling that it won’t scratch up your controller or snap. The only downside versus other physical devices like the Gamesir X2 or Razer Kishi is the amount of space the MOGA is going to take up in your bag. This is a full-size game controller, and while that’s going to do wonders to protect your hands from cramping while you play, it’s not quite the small portable device some might be looking for.