Tucked away in the Singapore pavilion at gamescom asia is a booth that's not quite like the others.
JoyTact, makers of mobile joystick TactJoy, is the only product booth among the other game developers from Singapore.
Created by inventor Daniel Quek, the mobile controller has already won praise from Frank Keienberg, game lead of Brawl Stars at Supercell Games.
"They are the best and pretty much never break and actually work, especially if you have sweaty thumbs after a while," posted Keienberg on Twitter.
He further added that he had tried 25 different models and that the TactJoy was the best he had tried and it had "knocked everything else out of the park".
Inspired by the original Fling controller, Quek told Yahoo Gaming SEA that he decided to create his own version after seeing it win at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at Las Vegas.
He had thought to himself that he could have created something better, especially a controller that doesn't rely on suction cups.
Quek, who had worked at HP on traffic light LEDs, left to do his own thing when he was 38. He's now 61 years old and claims to have started working on the controller since 2006.
And after years of refining, this is the US$11.99 TactJoy we see today, a tiny controller about the size of your thumb, and stays on the screen without slipping off.
Quek says this is due to a special "nano material" he declined to reveal, saying it was a trade secret. It stays on and removes without any sticky residue, and doesn't lose any stickiness after multiple uses.
And from my quick test, it stays reliably on while you're moving the joystick around, perfect for games like Wild Rift, Mobile Legends, or Diablo Immortal.
But sticking on the phone isn't just everything.
You'll still need a great joystick, and that's where Quek's special custom spring comes in. It gives the tiny joystick a great feel that's reactive, snappy, and yet accurate.
"It's something that the Chinese can't yet copy," said Quek.
One reason is because he keeps his cards close to his chest, only trusting his right hand man for production, and basically doing the research and designing himself.
He also manufactures it in Singapore, though he's planning to make more in another country – just not China.
While the TactJoy is 95% there, Quek says he still plans on tweaking the design more, but plans to launch a final version at the end of the year.
The current version retails for US$14.99 on TactJoy's store, but it's been out of stock since Oct 2021. But if Quek keeps to his timeline, we'll get to see a cheaper, newer version soon.
Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com