Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
August 21, 2014
arrowPress Releases
August 21, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


The Ouya has company, as the GameStick launches on Kickstarter
The Ouya has company, as the GameStick launches on Kickstarter
January 2, 2013 | By Mike Rose

January 2, 2013 | By Mike Rose
Comments
    18 comments
More: Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing



In the race to release an Android-based video game console, social game company PlayJam today revealed its own hand -- a home console that fits on a memory stick.

The GameStick, due for commercial release in April this year, slots directly into your TV's HDMI slot, and is controlled via a supplied Bluetooth controller. It contains 1GB of DDR3 memory and 8GB of Flash memory, with WiFi capabilities built in, and the latest build of Android, Jelly Bean.

The console can also be converted into a portable device, as the stick slots inside the Bluetooth controller and can then be used to link up to specific portable screens.

It's not necessary to use the supplied Bluetooth controller, however -- any Bluetooth controller that supports the Human Interface Device Profile (HID) will work with the GameStick, including the Greenthrottle Games controller.

A Kickstarter has been launched for the device with a $100,000 pledge target, and the console is currently in a closed beta phase of development, with a working prototype already built.

The GameStick's Kickstarter page notes that as of yet, around 200 Android titles currently work with the hardware, and the PlayJam team is in talks with over 250 developers.

Of course, this isn't the first Android OS games console on the block. Most notably the Ouya console (which was also launched with a Kickstarter) is due to release to the public in April -- the same month that the GameStick will supposedly be released.

At $79, the GameStick is slightly cheaper than the Ouya's $99 introductory price. GameStick also allows for paid games, whereas every title on the Ouya will be free-to-try.


Related Jobs

Disney Consumer Products
Disney Consumer Products — Glendale, California, United States
[08.20.14]

Contract Game Programmer
Cloud Imperium Games
Cloud Imperium Games — Austin, Texas, United States
[08.20.14]

Lead Network Engineer
Cloud Imperium Games
Cloud Imperium Games — Santa Monica, California, United States
[08.20.14]

Animation Programmer
Cloud Imperium Games
Cloud Imperium Games — SANTA MONICA, California, United States
[08.20.14]

Art Director










Comments


Liza Shulyayeva
profile image
I don't think I'd buy it except to maybe experiment with developing a couple of small games for it, but at first glance I'm feeling more positive about this than I did about the Ouya. And I like the paid game option - makes me feel that maybe it won't have to turn into a microtransactionfest.

k s
profile image
You realize games on Ouya can be bought and don't have to be F2P, they must just offer some amount of gameplay for free.

Liza Shulyayeva
profile image
k s: Well, I am anxiously waiting to see what percentage of Ouya's required free-to-play aspect will be trials/demos as compared to "Oh no! It looks like you're out of magic coins! Log into PayPal to buy more now and continue to play the game for free!!!"

I actually hope that does not happen and that this thing succeeds.

GameViewPoint Developer
profile image
This makes more sense to me than the OUYA. I don't see it as a console, and therefore would probably get one along side a new Xbox or Playstation.

Sean Kiley
profile image
Okay, loving the P, L, A and Y buttons.

E Zachary Knight
profile image
Well, my curiosity has been piqued. I am a backer of the Ouya and looking forward to the console when it comes in March/April. I like all these great products being developed around the Android operating system. It really shows the power of a powerful, free and open Operating System. Not sure if I will back this one, but would certainly consider it down the road.

GameViewPoint Developer
profile image
Strangely this could be the best thing that has happened to OUYA.

Jaco Gerber
profile image
The fact that both this and the OUYA run on the same operating system is great for developers. It's this one operating system on many pieces of hardware thing that gave the "PC" such an advantage over systems like the Atari Jaguar / Amiga / Mac in the early 90s.

As long as neither these guys nor OUYA go nuts with exclusives and other such nonsense.

It's this same openness that might make this Valve "Steam Box" actually work - if they can just get publishers to bite.

Ian Fisch
profile image
I still like Green Throttle's idea the best, since it's not hardware dependent. This gamestick will be leapfrogged in 6 months.

Tom Baird
profile image
These 2 platforms can hopefully work together. I.e. if GameStick is android-based, I don't see why you couldn't plug it into the Green Throttle adapter and now have both platforms in one. Not to mention the cost of this (and other Android USB computers already out) are much cheaper than buying an entire smartphone, just so you can use a small part of what it offers and hook it up to a tv.

Although, it's important to not underestimate Hardware Dependence as a feature with regards to game quality. Making a stable, reliable Android game is a huge pain relative to a traditional console, because you have to worry about backwards compatibility, varying memory constraints, variable CPU power/counts, as well as the myriad of hardware or OS specific intricacies (Some carriers attempt to force an atrocious Android OS version on their users that is slow, unintuitive, and limited in features).

Knowing your hardware specs are a single set, means you can provide a much more consistent and reliable experience, and drastically reduces both Dev and QA time and costs, which end up affecting the overall length and quality of the game.

Ian Fisch
profile image
@Tom

A single set of specs would be nice, but neither Ouya nor Gamestick are nearly large enough to foster a big enough userbase.

So any Android developer will be mutli-platforming his games, regardless.

The nice thing about GreenThrottle is that it will provide a single storefront where hardcore games (those that require gamepads) can be sold accross multiple devices.

Sascha Tausend
profile image
"GameStick works with any Bluetooth controller supporting HID including, we are delighted to say, the Greenthrottle Games controller..."

k s
profile image
Ouya does allow paid games, they just have to offer some form of gameplay for free ie a demo! Can we get this fixed in the article as disinformation doesn't help anyone!

I don't care for the controller and the fact this is being developed by a "social" game company who I generally mistrust. I'm skeptical this will take off. It looks like they're not going after the traditional market like Ouya and so I'm unlikely to back this like I did Ouya.

James Coote
profile image
I think their big plus is the pre-existing lineup of games, plus being able to use those to cross-promote the GameStick, but will those things overcome Ouya's first-mover advantage in the publicity and visibility stakes?

They probably need to get tens of thousands of backers to make the project really viable. Early days yet, so I'm going to reserve judgement until their kickstarter is over.

The stuff about needing kickstarter money though is bs. Kickstarter has definitely evolved into a marketing and pre-orders platform and away from its beginnings helping projects with artistic merit

Jeremy Reaban
profile image
You forgot the Otonx which launched about a month ago.

But the catch here is that it's just an Android stick. One of the complaints about the Ouya is that there are already similarly priced android sticks readily available on places like Amazon and ebay.

While the Ouya isn't vastly different, it's at least running on its own power supply in a case. It's not like they took an existing product and sold it.

I'm not saying that is the case here, but there were a couple of KSes that simply did that, the Pocket TV and the Equiso Smart TV

E Zachary Knight
profile image
"One of the complaints about the Ouya is that there are already similarly priced android sticks readily available on places like Amazon and ebay."

Honestly, you are the first time I have ever read that complaint about the Ouya. The most common "tech already exists" complaint was that people could accomplish the same thing as the Ouya by connecting a phone or tablet to their TV and using a Bluetooth controller.

Fernando Fernandes
profile image
meh

George Booth
profile image
Their wording makes me really cautious. The way they say things it sounds like they're working directly with certain developers when in reality they've mainly scouted a bunch of games that are compatible with the controller.

Undercutting the Ouya's price just makes it feel like they're trying to ride the wave of success that the Ouya had.

And I'm not sure about this whole business with HID controllers. How common/inexpensive are they? Because if they cost as much as (if not more than) the console itself, there may be some backlash.

Pass.


none
 
Comment: