Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 31, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 31, 2014
PR Newswire
View All

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

The Mad Catz microconsole: Out in December for $250
The Mad Catz microconsole: Out in December for $250
October 8, 2013 | By Mike Rose

We've had the Ouya and the Nvidia Shield, while the GameStick and Amazon's own device are on the way soon. Now Mad Catz Interactive has staked its own claim in the rapidly-expanding microconsole market, with a release date and price for its M.O.J.O. console.

The Android OS console will release on December 10, and can now be pre-ordered for $249.99. If you're wondering about that high price tag, it's due to the device's high-end hardware -- the M.O.J.O. includes an Nvidia Tegra 4 T40S 1.8GHz Processor, 2GB of RAM, and HDMI out capabilities with full 1080p resolution.

Mad Catz is positioning its microconsole as a more hardcore way for players to bring their favorite mobile games to the living room TV, and one of its main selling points is that it's totally open to developers -- the Amazon Appstore and Google Play store will both be available directly through the console.

Notably, you're also able to plug a mouse into the console -- or you can use the controller's left analog stick to console a mouse pointer on the screen.

Although Mad Catz hasn't yet talked in-depth about it, there is mention of the console being able to play PC games as well. All signs point to the same sort of technology found in the Nvidia Shield, such that the M.O.J.O. will be able to stream PC games directly from another PC device to your TV.

There are, rather strangely, no solid details regarding this functionality. Gamasutra has contacted Mad Catz for an explanation.

[Update: After Gamasutra inquired about the PC gaming capabilities of the M.O.J.O., Mad Catz removed any mention of the functionality from its website. We haven't been updated with what this means exactly -- whether it was included by mistake, or whether it is not ready to be unveiled yet is unclear. We'll let you know when Mad Catz gets back to us.]

Related Jobs

Next Games
Next Games — Helsinki, Finland

Senior Level Designer
Activision Publishing
Activision Publishing — Santa Monica, California, United States

Tools Programmer-Central Team
Vicarious Visions / Activision
Vicarious Visions / Activision — Albany, New York, United States

VFX Artist-Vicarious Visions
Magic Leap, Inc.
Magic Leap, Inc. — Wellington, New Zealand

Level Designer


Ryan Barrett
profile image
I can't wait for 5-10 years down the line when all these microconsoles end up in "Top XX failed consoles" lists like Pippin, 3DO, Virtual Boy, CDI, etc....

Vinicius Vecchi
profile image
While I think most, if not all, of them will fail, I fail to see why someone would root for them to do so.

E Zachary Knight
profile image

Because there are some people who like to believe that the Big 3 (plus PC for some of them) are untouchable and are immune to disruption.

Kujel s
profile image
@Zachary: this kind of twisted brand loyalty is sad and distubing on many levels.

Brian M
profile image
Why would you be happy about Android consoles failing? It could be an indy paradise, make a great game with touch and controller support, publish to Google Play and hurray!

Jarod Smiley
profile image
Well, I'm more than satisfied from the big three and Steam, so from a consumer's perspective, it's not that appealing to just have all these different consoles out. You just want a great box that plays everything.

It can be compared to TV, where some brands getting certain channels. People just want to have the best experiences on there box of choosing, all of these microconsoles can't be successful, it would just fragment the market. So While I might not be hoping they fail, I'm also not interested in any of them if there aren't helping with game parity across all platforms.

Duong Nguyen
profile image
Why would they be classified with those consoles? These small devices probably cost as much to develop as developing a new mouse line for MadCatz. I don't think there is a list of TOP FAILED SMALL CHEAP PERIPHERALS, they just don't warrant that level of attention. Lots of manufacturers will be developing these if there is a market, which from the looks of Ouya there is a small one..

Brian M
profile image
I agree Duong, people talk about the great "fail" that would come to NVIDIA for the shield, really all they made was a controller around their own Tegra SOC. Madcatz is just making a box around one. With Android no money spent on OS, the only design is around connecting a few inputs and outputs to a plastic box.

Andy Lundell
profile image
I understand that some people think the Big Three are untouchable forever.

But why are people so giddy with excitement over the idea that microconsoles might fail?

It's not as if the Big Three are vengeful gods who will grant boons to those who remained faithful.

Jennis Kartens
profile image
I doubt that this falls under "brand loyalty" or anything close to it...

It simply looks like a slightly misplaced idea with too many people jumped on it. No one wants 10+ different devices with limited abilities in their living room (or elsewhere). The future lies undoubtedly not in small, cheap android consoles that are worthless in doing anything else. This concept needs at least to adapt towards mobility but then it is inevitably competing with the mobile phone market which already is established.

Comments like Ryan Barrett's arise from simple questions, one would be "why?", these android console fail to answer currently.

When we look around in the world of media consumption in- and outside of videogames, the direction society is currently steering to is a unified one and not a clustered one like it has been the past two decades.

William Johnson
profile image
All these microconsoles remind me of all the consoles that were released in the days of atari and nintendo. Funny how things are coming full circle sort of. Games can once again be made by a small group of people(1-3) and every name you can think of is throwing their hat in with the "war for the living room". Should be interesting to see who wins :)

Scott Lavigne
profile image
I don't think any of them win. I think that enough people are already happy just playing either on their phones OR a console/PC that the number of microconsoles competing for an already niche market is just going to spread their niche too thin. The way microconsoles would win would be to convince people they can't do all they want on their phones, which is already unlikely due to how non-"gamers" view controllers as often cumbersome, but people won't care enough either way without a social network to tie their game time to friends, and that can't happen if everyone picks a different point in the spectrum.

Aryadi Subagio
profile image
ouya got their name because they're first. now that mostly everyone are out with their own microconsole, I can see them beating ouya

E Zachary Knight
profile image
At this stage in the game, whose microconsoles are out? Aside from the Shield, which is a portable and cost 3 times as much as the Ouya, the Ouya is the only one that is actually on the market. The Game Stick won't be out till the end of the month, the Mojo won't be out till December. Any other microconsoles are rumored.

So who will "win" is still way up in the air.

Brian M
profile image
The big difference is access to Google Play. If you can buy an app/game that plays well on your phone, tablet and can be fun with a controller on your TV you get a lot of value and exposure.

Leszek Szczepanski
profile image
I agree that the big difference is Google Play. But that actually is the disadvantage of M.O.J.O.

Lance Thornblad
profile image
Seems to me their success hinges on whether or not developers make Android games that target that higher end hardware. Also seems inevitable to me.

Caleb Garner
profile image
I don't think its about Ouya winning as much as surviving. Surviving isn't a bad thing. I mean they should be able to continue to hold their own and while they may never dominate, I really don't see any other platform coming in and somehow completely disrupting the Ouya either.

With so many consoles basically all being basically the same, I see that developers are not going to have to choose which micro-console to support, but in fact supporting them all without much hardware / software challenge.

I see very few exclusives (if any) coming out for these devices. By exclusive I mean being legally bound to only publish on one device.. some devs will certainly choose to not buy / test / implement their games on other app stores for whatever reasons they might have, but they could if they wanted too.

I also see these higher price point devices being little threat to the Ouya because I wouldn't have bought an ouya for $250.. it was the under $100 that i found worth taking a chance on. It's the low cost point and inexpensive games to be attracted to the device.

If i'm going to pay $250 for a console I might as well go all in and get a ps4 or xbone.. i realize that's just my perspective, the only thing that might help some of these bigger companies win like Google, would be if they keep the price point the same, or very very close.. and do some serious TV / Web marketing to make the world aware of it.

I feel like the Ouya has been a huge success for those who know about it, but I know lots of people who still basically don't know what the Ouya is, or where they could buy one if they wanted too and that's just because it's a big world and while the Ouya made buzz in gamers circles, I don't believe that has really become a household name.. and with xmas coming up, any console available by then has a great opportunity to springboard their user base.

The sooner Ouya (or whoever) can get people to buy devices ASAP the better chance they will have to dominate. Ouya has a lead, but I don't think they have done enough to tell the world about it... I imagine most homes will be a one microconsole family so every Ouya that sells now is one less likely candidate for future micro-consoles.. except ones that are in that impulse purchase range (i'm guessing under $100)..

Regardless it will be interesting to see it all unfold

E Zachary Knight
profile image
"can now be pre-ordered for $249.99"

For all those complaining that the Ouya didn't include more RAM and the Tegra 4, here is your answer. There is no way they could have included those and stuck with the $100 price.

That said, I am sure that there is plenty of room in the microconsole marketplace for low, mid and high range offerings.

Bob Johnson
profile image
R.I.P. M.O.J.O.

I do admit the mouse angle is interesting because if this thing could be a desktop pc (Chromebox) at the same time you'd have a nice value add there.

Still a PS4 is $400. A Wii U is $300.

I'd buy this MOJO .............

Kujel s
profile image
@Bob: it's a lot cheaper and offers a far greater variety of games then generic FPSs then ps4, and Wii U is in it's own sphere as are all Nintendo consoles.

Ian Fisch
profile image
Name me 5 android games that can stack up to the 5 best on Xbox 360. Doesn't even come close.

E Zachary Knight
profile image

Let's see...

Plants vs Zombies
Angry Birds
Temple Run
Candy Crush
Rage of Bahamut

But wait, you might say. Those games are near as fancy and graphically powerful as the top 5 360 games. Who the freak cares. They have made more money than pretty much any 360 game in existence.

Bob Johnson
profile image

MOJO isn't that much cheaper.

Bob Johnson
profile image

considering $150 extra buys you a 500gb storage device, BR drive and a ton more processing power and probably a better controller if you get a PS4.

Micah Betts
profile image
It's still a full featured Android device with much more non-gaming use than a traditional console.

$250 is still high, but if the platform gets more quality games it will be totally worth owning as an all-in-one streaming/gaming box.

Salim Muhammad
profile image
Isn't just a matter of personal taste? I wouldn't touch any of those game you named. Not because they're bad games, they're just not my cup of tea. OK... I did play angry birds for a while.

Bob Johnson
profile image
@E Zachary

AT least 2 of those games are on the 360.

E Zachary Knight
profile image

Yes, but they made their debut, and the majority of their profit, on mobile.

Bob Johnson
profile image
P&Z was computer first I believe. But otherwise the rest are mobile first.

And since they are designed for mobile for the most part, it probably is best to play them on those devices. The devices most of us already have.

How much money those games made is up for debate without actual reports. P&Z is one game that is owned by a public company now so the profit figures might be available or maybe can be deduced from financial reports. I'm pretty sure P&Z isn't making as much money as the big AAA games.

I would be surprised if any of those games made more than the big AAA games. Angry Birds would probably be the strongest candidate.

And again nothing stopping any good small game experience from being ported to a console. The 360 was home to a ton of small games.

Leszek Szczepanski
profile image
Money is no good indicator of game quality.

Beyond Good and Evil, Planescape: Torment, are both masterpieces which failed to deliver financially.

The games you mentioned quality wise don't stack up to any decent console/PC title.

Simone Tanzi
profile image
That's not the point and is basically why a lot of people "hope" that microconsoles will fail.
They are afraid that by the virtue of "making more money" the industry will focus on those kind of games... mindless.. cheap.. uninspired... (except for plant vs. zombies. that was kinda good, not a masterpiece but nice)

In the end all the games you listed are time wasters at best, irrational expensive and unrewarding drugs at worst.
I would ask if anyone has ever had a meaningful experience playing any of those games, and quite honestly, I would question the state of mind of someone who claimed to have a meaningful experience on the 264853time he started a Temple run game.

Most of them are purely exploitative.
I don't really care about being graphically powerful.
Actually I found meaningful experiences playing Roguelikes made out of ascii.
The fact is... core gaming is loosing in quality and originality. Many companies just makes remake over remake with no originality anymore.
Many moves to mobile because "you can gain more" and proceed creating games with no soul (and mind you, I work on mobile titles, so I'm definitely not making my own interest in saying this)
If you can honestly say to me that a level of angry birds compares to hunting dragons in skyrim...
That a tournament of Candy crush would be just as epic as any Evo2K Fighting game tournament.
That the story of Temple run is just as compelling as any JRPG of the '90s
Then you are either Lying or I REALLY do not get something hidden in the titles you have listed.

But if you value games just as a way to exploit masses out of their money I really hope you will find a different job.

E Zachary Knight
profile image

I assume you are talking to me when you are referring to the list of games.

I have no idea what you call a "meaningful experience" but I will say that I have had a whole heck of a lot of fun playing Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies, Temple Run and more. I would say my level of fun while playing those games was just as high as when I played games like Final Fantasy 7, Warcraft 3 and many many other games I have played.

And honestly, there are people out there that have very different gaming expectations that you or I. As an example, my dad gets more meaningful play from a round of online Hearts than he ever would trying to play an FPS or an RPG. That is who he is. But just because someone made an online version of Hearts does not mean that the games industry has "lost" anything.

My point is that those games I listed are fun in their own way. Fun in such a way that millions of people have spent money on them. Fun in a way that many AAA game designers and producers could only dream of. Just because you fail to recognize that fun does not mean that it doesn't exist.

Caleb Garner
profile image
yes PvZ was PC first, then mobile shortly after.. etc..

and as for nothing stopping a game from being brought to a big console might be true on paper..

but notice that they are not getting ported.. there are any number of reasons why this is the case, most of them revolving around the fact that its a hassle to publish to console..

For all of the big 3's efforts to be more indie friendly, it's still an even higher walled garden than iOS from what I've seen.

these microconsoles are leaner and more hands off which allows a developer more freedom to just get the game done and out there without any real concern about rejection or dodgy contracts.

Jarod Smiley
profile image
@ Simone

That's not fair, he isn't saying they aren't fun, he's saying there vastly simplified in comparison to quality console/pc games. To argue that would be foolish. I can have fun tossing beer caps, it has nothing to do with the quality of the game.

You enjoy it, great. I picked up Angry birds after seeing so many people play it on there Iphone and could only scratch my head at it's popularity. So just like you alluded to with your Father's taste, different strokes for different folks. But with the rehashes of the console market, you can't seriously be surprised that traditional gamers have a negative association with these more simple mobile games.

And by "meaningful experience" I think he just meant making a connection perhaps with the story or gameplay of a title, and how that's harder in titles like Angry birds which can be likely compared to a mini-game in GTA5.

I agree, they are fun in there own way, but there's a huge market of traditional gamers that see them taking away from innovation in the more complex gaming environment in light of how much money is being made off them. That's a valid argument. And one that does't take anything away from the quality of mobile games. I feel like you're just dissecting his posts for the sake of it, and not trying to respond to what he's saying.

Jarod Smiley
profile image
This is perfectly fine for me, as without review sites or youtubers, it would be almost impossible to find quality stuff on Android/IOS because of it's low barrier of entry.

It's not ALL good to just be open for everyone to get involved with. As much as people think that way. Just look at youtube. Great innovation there, lot's and lots of garbage and quality videos all in need of constant sorting and regulating.

Perhaps a section of the consoles can be open like this, but a flood of 100+ titles every month with 70% not even worth the $2 asking price is not what I want on my console.

Simone Tanzi
profile image
@ Zachary
Oh sorry I took the name of the post you were replying to but yeah, it was actually aimed to you.

I am absolutely ok with your point, everybody has his favorite games and experiences may vary a lot.
but I listed some things as an example to portray what that kind of games will never come near to inspire.
They are casual games, and the very word implies disposability.
You take on them fast, you let them go fast, they do not require, nor inspire dedication.
It's the other way around, accessibility is king.
If a game camnnot be learned and mastered in a couple of seconds is considered flawed, mainly because is not marketed for a gamer.
Is marketed for someone who does not want to commit.
oh don't get me wrong ... is not a bad thing per se.
I'm not saying that gaming should be some kind of elitist group that chase all the non believers away.
It's a great thing that we have a lot of games for every taste and every level of commitment.

The problem is when games that requires more commitment literally disappear because is easier to make simple games with no innovation no vision and a bunch of exploitative mechanics for the people we manage to get hooked than doing a game that people should learn by trial and error and ... God forbid... they may even make us lose the game!!!!

Truth is ... a lot of companies turned their back to this kind of gamer for the vast riches promised by the land of the mobile and the free.

I for once believe that core gaming will never die... actually, it's doing just fine.
But there are a lot of worrying signals.
People from the industry saying "from now on we will focus on mobile only" or "from now on we will only make free to play".
People from the industries saying "we don't need consoles anymore". or "we should only make games that does not require a joypad"
Franchises that try some very wacky turn in a successful franchise and when the things goes bad just abandon the franchise completely instead of returning to what used to work.

There are entire genres that almost disappeared in this generation of consoles. JRPGs? gone...
Survival horror?
Or look at Megaman... Keiji inafune had to leave capcom and launch a Kickstarter to make it happen and even then the name megaman is gone.

Truth is a big part of the industry just lost sight of what made the industry great.
That in the way a lot of people make games today a lot of huge classics of this industry would never exist.
We would have a series of final fantasy that are 2 hours long because some people are not willing to play for a full 40 hours?
We would have a street fighter 2 with a slide forward and back for moving and continuously tap the screen for random combo to adapt to mobile?
We would have a extremely dumbed down Sid Meyer's civilization that even our grandmother can play?

People is hostile to the new microconsoles because they have been reading everywere messages like "disruption is now, big consoles are going to disappear, everything will be free to play and microtransaction from now on. everything must adapt to mobile gaming. every game should be accessible to everyone with no commitment at all."

I see a huge marketing move to try to bury core gaming in favor of mobile casual games.
the truth is there is no way core gamers will change ship.
and when the core gamers see things like diablo 3 perverting the whole hack and slash game logic to a system of auction house to squeeze some more bucks they become angry and afraid... afraid that those kind of logic will in time completely destroy their favorite hobby.
That one day they will wake up and will never be able to buy a full game for a reasonable price but just play games that never gives you the option to play the entirety of it because to give you that would mean to put you in a position where you cannot be further squeezed for more money.
Or find out that most of the mechanics they loved on their favorite games have been removed because someone else that never played and never bothered to learn the game never cared enough to actually learn the game and to the company that you supported for years he is more important that the people who always cared.
Because to them Gaming is not something that they do "for fun" when they can spare the time but something they anticipate the whole day. Something they anticipate for years.
Something they put money on kickstyarter 2 or 3 years before release because they are dedicated.
And the message they hear everywere is "screw you, you will play with only one input and no complex mechanic and you will like it because that's all we are gonna do from now on"

E Zachary Knight
profile image

I honestly can't say that I have the same negative view you have of the games industry. I think there will alwys be room for every type of gaming we enjoy today. The big AAA titles you and other people enjoy will not go away. What has happened is that developers learned that AAA is not the only way to make games and make money. They have learned that there is room for AA, A, B, C and beyond. They have learned that charging people $60 upfront is not the only way to get people to pay for games.

It is a vast and wonderful world out there. Find an area you like and want to call your own and put your stake in it. But don't complain that someone staked their claim right next too you.

Simone Tanzi
profile image
There is a difference between Core and AAA.. and I totally agree on the fact that AAA is not the only way. Is not the best way either...
And I'm totally fine with alternatives to the 60$ pricetags.

Again .. I don't think this market will disappear. but quite honestly I do understand the people who is afraid. Because the messages you get from the industry suggest just that.
And most of the times with announcements that are plain wrong to make the mobile market seem better or more successful that it really is.
Claims like the PC gaming is dead and mobile will soon be the leading platform.
actually... PC gaming is having the time of its life.
It's nearly double as big as the mobile market and platforms like steam are making miracles.
Console gaming is almost worth as mobile and pc gaming together... and we are talking about a declining console generation that is 8 years old.
Nonetheless, communication from the pro-mobile side of the media is incredibly aggressive and menacing.
They don't claim "mobile market will grow" or "Pc gaming will stop growing"
No, they say "PC gaming is dead" or "The next consoles will utterly fail in face of mobile gaming and will be the last consoles ever"
that "microconsoles and free to play is arrived and everything has to adapt or die"

The people who hate these markets hates it on reaction. Is not like they are some sort of extremists that do not accept other forms of entertainment. (well.. maybe some of them exists)
The problem is those other forms of entertainment threats to destroy their favorite hobby on a daily basis, IMHO with not a single chance to be able to do that. But they still claim they will.
And they are not even playing it nice ... just look at the ouya commercial to see the level of aggression the traditional gamers are facing.

Kujel s
profile image
I'll probably pick one of these bad boys up in january, I can't really justify buying something so expensive right before Xmas.

@Zachary Knight: You nailed it on both counts.

wes bogdan
profile image
While I'm going to have PlayStation,Xbox one and already own Wii U vita tv ,kindle or other devices could get a foothold how hard will it be to get vita owner's to use a hdtv @ home provided the ds4 touchpad can get around touch CONTROL or firmware update touch games to be normal games on vita tv.

Leszek Szczepanski
profile image
I can't see how this console could succeed in any way. OUYA already suffers from the mobile syndrome, meaning a lot of games, which have barely been modified to the TV screen. The M.O.J.O. doesn't even enforce games being playable without touch controls. It's going to be filled with barely playable crap (as mobile is) with the added problem of games being totally not fit for the platform.

Merc Hoffner
profile image
People have mentioned next-gen, but not 'last' gen.

$250 Mojo vs $250 PS3? How exactly do they expect the market to react?

There might be a place for microconsoles (I don't see it but I'm not psychic), but surely the 'micro' part demands micro prices.

Kujel s
profile image
Compared to ps3 Mojo offers a far greater selection and game prices that are far lower.

Bob Johnson
profile image

You said that with a straight face?

Merc Hoffner
profile image
:-s I guess?

But I'm also looking at Enslaved used for $3.91 on Amazon right now. Metal Gear Solid 4 for $4.13. Ni No Kuni for under $12!

And, uh, doesn't Ouya sideload pretty much the same selection, but $150 cheaper?

Leon T
profile image
I'm all for cheaper consoles and games so I hope one of these micro consoles get it right. Not many care about a more hardcore way to play mobile games. Instead give me some stellar exclusives made for your console. Right now the main reason to but one of these consoles is to develop something for them for fun.

Mike Gwald
profile image
Kind a late here but I wrote a detail review on the specs, as I dont have one yet.
The Mad Catz M.O.J.O is a high end micro-console with a “MOGA PRO” like controller which can also be used on a Desktop plus more!

My blog is:

@Caleb Garner " I imagine most homes will be a one microconsole family so every Ouya that sells now is one less likely candidate for future micro-consoles.. except ones that are in that impulse purchase range (i'm guessing under $100)" I don't agree, Ouya will release another one in 2014, again it will be underpower.
People will think twice about buying another especially compared to mojo.