updated 03:30 pm EDT, Sun June 29, 2014
Controller images found in Android L SDK, confirmed with picture of dev kit
Those thinking that Google wouldn't be taking any real step into gaming with the Android TV set-top box may want to reconsider. A Reddit user digging through the system developer kit (SDK) for Android L, discovered a directory full of images of an Android TV controller, which also detailed all of its pieces. Photos from Google I/O of the developer kits for Android TV would affirm its existence.
During Google I/O, the company showed off the gaming capabilities of the unit at the keynote, indicating that it could be controlled by a hardware or software controller. However, the controller wasn't shown on stage during the presentation. While demo units at Google I/O would show off a controller, it wasn't widely known what the hardware controller for the device would look like or if the ones at the show were the final design.
The Reddit user posted the findings of the Android L SDK, revealing that the controller would have a D-pad, two analog sticks, four buttons in a familiar square configuration, three navigation buttons and at least two shoulder bumpers. Pictures of the controller and parts can be found under the "sdksamplesandroid-Landroidtvvisual-game-controllerresdrawable-xxhdpi" directory.
A photo from Artem Russakovskii of Android Police provided evidence that the pictures from the SDK are the true design that Google went with. Developer kits that were handed out at Google I/O included an Android TV unit and the controller. Russakovskii posted the photo from the conference to Google+, prior to the findings posted to Reddit.
Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any revolutionary approach to the design of the Android TV controller. Those familiar with the Amazon's Fire TV or the Ouya will be able to point out similarities at first glance. Then there is the idea that all of these controllers draw some sort of design inspiration from Microsoft's evolving line of Xbox controllers.
It will be interesting to see if other manufacturers will have to make controllers similar to the one Google has created or if they will be given some leeway. Since one gaming company, Razer, declared that it would be making an Android TV mini-console, a custom controller may not be out of the question.