When the iPhone broke into (and established) the mobile gaming market back in 2007, a new era of console war was born. Many hardcore games enthusiasts would boast that while mobile platforms could deliver some great bite-sized fun, they couldn’t deliver traditional hardcore experiences. This was first challenged by Epic Games and Chair whose Infinity Blade made hardcore gamers salivate with its stunning visuals and intuitive game mechanics.
Over time we’ve watched as titles like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope have made their way from mobile devices to home console and even onto dedicated gaming handhelds like the 3DS as full price retail games. Well, Android has gone a step further and is hoping to find a snug little spot there under your TV, between your Xbox and Playstation. There are many Android boxes in development but a few have significant brand power behind them and carry the ability to truly secure their spot in the gaming ecosystem. Let’s take a look –
Ouya is easily the most well known of the Android “Consoles”. After an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign the Ouya validated consumers desire for Android based console devices. It certainly helped that the console was a developers dream and rang in at a simple $99.
However since its conception the Ouya has had a relatively complicated life. Technology website The Verge slammed the device giving it a lowly 3 out of 10. Ouya were quick to respond stating the version tested was unfinished and should not even be reviewed. For many indie developers the promise of Ouya doesn’t necessarily lie in the content provided from the Ouya store – but from the homebrew content that will be so readily create-able from the consoles release.
Ouya is the public face of the Android Console movement but time will tell as to whether it revolutionises the living room – or goes the way of the dodo…
At a paltry $99, it certainly seems worth investing in out of curiosity alone.
The Nvidia Shield certainly appears to be a beast. Rocking some damn impressive specs, including a Tegra 4 processor, the Nvidia Shield will make you pay for it’s damn nice setup. Coming in at $349 its one of the more pricey Android Consoles coming this year, but it has all the potential to be the best.
Nvidia have made their career on building hardware. Damn good hardware if you ask me… and the Shield seems focused on continuing that legacy. The controller looks to be one of the nicest on the market. Not only will it function as a high fidelity Android gaming device, but it will also stream games from your PC over a wireless network. Thats quite a bit of bang for your three hundred and forty nine bucks…
The 5″ touch screen displays images at 720p and going by reports is ridiculously sharp. Nvidia seem to be ones to watch in this emerging war and should be entering the space either just before or just after Ouya drops.
The Madcatz Mojo is one of the most recently announced android consoles, showcasing itself at this years E3 conference in LA. Madcatz are a large scale peripheral giant who have been quite prevalent through the last few generations of console -where they surely learned a thing or two.
The Mojo is a considerable powerhouse boasting a Tegra 4 processor and can display 1080 visuals through HDMI. Unlike the Ouya, any games developed for Android will be accessible through the Play Store. The consoles controller is interesting in that it can be used on any bluetooth compatible device – including your PS3, iPhone, PC and more.
Much like the Nvidia Shield, the device sports a screen for gaming on the fly and also translates touch input to joystick commands. Madcatz have made it clear that this device is out to simplify compatibility for budding mobile developers.
The console is expected to launch this holiday season and although no price has been set, early speculation looks to be around the $140 mark.
The Gamestick is one of the more interesting little Android Gaming devices coming out. The device resembles a bluetooth dongle or USB stick, but in reality it turns any compatible big screen into a HD android gaming device. It helps that the console racks in at a tiny $79 with a controller.
You simply pop the Gamestick into your HD TV and bam, away you go. All your google play games are available and can be played from the comfort of your couch with the Gamestick controller – which kind of resembles a Wii Classic Controller.
Although I don’t expect the Gamestick to rock the world of gaming, it seems like an interesting low cost, entry level device that will make Android gaming (and particularly classic emulators) more comfortable. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Gamestick finds its own little niche in this expanding market and resonates with developers and gamers alike.
This is a fresh new war and one that has clear value to many manufacturers given the enormous amount of players entering the “Mobile-at-home” market. What are your thoughts on Android Consoles? Is there one in particular that tickles your fancy?
Shout out in the comments below.