August 30, 2010 | Andy Boxall
Discovered on the FCC site, the Griffin PartyDock is an iPhone or iPad docking station which can be connected to your television for big screen fun, plus it could see a new glut of multiplayer games released, all using the four controllers lined-up in front of your docked device. A dedicated website has since sprung up from Griffin, confirming it’s coming soon.
According to the site the PartyDock can be used to play media from your iPhone or iPad – YouTube, stored movies, pictures and music for example – plus you’ll be able to play PartyDock games on your TV with three friends. Included with the dock will be one full game and three mini ones to start you off.
While we love local multiplayer games, we’re not sure about the PartyDock. For a start, games are going to have to be specifically coded to be compatible with it, and obviously the game in question has to make sense for more than one player, so we’re hoping that Griffin has already approached some developers to convince them to start making compatible games, as this will live or die by its gaming content. We’re guessing there will be lots of quiz games coming out, as those D-Pad-style controllers don’t really lend themselves to two-player action games that require intricate movement.
The ability to stream video and music to the TV is fine, but relatively superfluous these days, as the PS3, Xbox and many DVD and Blu-ray players all offer exactly the same functionality and probably already have a home beneath the set. Griffin say the PartyDock supports composite and component video, although they don’t mention the resolution which will be available over component. Also, there is no mention of a dedicated audio out, such as coax or optical, to send your music directly to your A/V receiver.
However, these concerns are nothing compared to the unattractiveness of the PartyDock. This is an item which has to be on display, and whose controllers will have to be used by everyone who has been admiring the beautiful design of your iPad or iPhone. Why then, does it look old-fashioned? And not retro-cool old-fashioned either! Honestly, would it ‘fit in’ next to your LED TV, PS3 or Samsung BD-C6900 for example?
Almost all of this could be forgiven provided the game support is there at launch, or thereabouts. A plentiful selection of good quality games and sensible price tag could see the PartyDock carve itself a niche.