Official website: gamepop.tv
Background: GamePop comes from startup BlueStacks. The company first entered the mobile scene with its BlueStacks app player, which allows Android users to run Android apps on their computers. BlueStacks is evolving that cross-screen know-how to the GamePop, a microconsole that requires a monthly subscription for access to its large, constantly growing library of games. BlueStacks happily embraces the description "Netflix for Games," and is promising over 500 games available at launch.
Price: Console + controller: $129 + $6.99/month over required 12 month period
GamePop "Mini" + controller: Free + $6.99/month over required 12 month period
Availability: This winter
You keep all in-app purchase revenue. GamePop is already making monthly subscription revenue, so it doesn’t see a need to dip into your in-app purchase revenue. You keep it all.
Yeah, it's Android -- but it will also run iOS games. Using BlueStacks' virtualization software, Looking Glass, the GamePop will be able to run apps designed for iOS devices, all without use of Apple's code. That's good news for iOS developers who want to put their games in front of as many people as possible. It does "take some development work" to get iOS games running, however, according to a BlueStacks rep.
Use mobile devices as controllers. GamePop will have a dedicated controller, but players will be able to use their smartphones as controllers as well, utilizing touch and accelerometer capabilities.
Your game could be buried right off the bat. Getting a lot of games signed for launch is important to make GamePop attractive to consumers, but it also means your game has a greater chance of being buried. GamePop plans on having 500 games at launch, and the company promises a simple, straightforward UI.
An unproven business model (at least in this space). This is more of an "unknown" than a "con." GamePop is subscription-based, and the company plans on paying developers according to how much time players play their games (plus in-app purchase revenue, if that applies). We wonder how this model will pan out for developers.
GamePop says to simply drop them a line. You can email john (at) bluestacks (dot) com -– that’s John Gargiulo, VP of marketing and business development. You can also contact the company here: http://www.gamepop.tv/gamepopDev.html
GamePop does all the development work to get the game to work on television. The GamePop engineering team takes care of the controls for the GamePop controller and for games that use Androids or iPhones as controllers. The game's developer reviews all GamePop-designed aspects before the game launches on the console. If a game company has a catalog of games it wants to bring to GamePop, GamePop will determine which games will work best on the platform.
Full downloads, in-app payments and other common game business models are supported, but GamePop is unique in that its business model is based on a monthly subscription. So the way developers make money is a bit different, compared to other platforms (see below).
GamePop compensates developers according to how much time players spend in the developer’s games. Developers who implement in-app payments keep all of the revenues generated, a rep tells us. The company shares half of all of its subscription revenue with its developer community.
Specs for GamePop are yet to be finalized, but here's what has been stated publicly by the company:
Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
Will have a dedicated controller
Will support smartphones for use as controllers
Looking Glass virtualization software will allow for iOS games to play on GamePop
Note: There will be two versions of GamePop -- GamePop and the GamePop Mini, the latter of which will have lower specs. A company rep says to “stay tuned” about concerns that games will be limited by the capabilities of the lower-spec model.