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GameStick portable HDMI games console project nears completion

by Mark Tyson on 29 January 2013, 16:42

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabr5b

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The final design for the GameStick games console Kickstarter project was revealed today by developer PlayJam. The new controller design is quite a departure from the original, which was illustrated at the outset of the GameStick project, and it is much more curvaceous and ergonomic looking. The Android powered console on an HDMI stick has also been upgraded and tweaked due to the project easily surpassing various “stretch goals” on the Kickstarter site.

GameStick before the redesign

“Putting Big Screen Gaming In Your Pocket”

To recap, GameStick is another Android powered big-screen games console wannabe. The USP of the GameStick is its supreme portability; the controller is the portable case for the games console, which itself looks like a common-or-garden USB thumb drive, except that it is an Android computer on an HDMI stick.

The $79 GameStick is featured in the video above, presented by Jasper Smith, CEO of PlayJam and GameStick creator. Since the video was made the GameStick product has been developed and got the following enhancements, partly due to stretch goals; more colour choices, MicroSD card expansion slot and a compete re-design of the controller itself.

Technical specifications of the PlayStick

  • Processor - Amlogic 8726-MX (dual-core Cortex A9 chip at 1.5GHz, along with a dual-core Mali 400 GPU at 400MHz)
  • Memory - 1GB DDR3 / 8GB FLASH
  • Content Download Manager w/ cloud storage for games.
  • WiFi - 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth - LE 4.0
  • O/S - Android Jelly Bean
  • Controller - Bluetooth, 3 mode controller: gamepad, mouse and keyboard with support for up to 4 controllers.
  • Full 1080p HD video decoding
  • 40GB of internal storage and MicroSD card expansion slot
  • MHL support to take power directly from the HDMI slot (Power options are also available for older TVs)
  • Support for XBMC & DLNA from Sept via optional firmware update.
  • Support for iOS and Android mobile devices to be used as controllers

The GameStick is available for $79 plus shipping and estimated to be delivered during April 2013. If you pledge $109 or more the GameStick will come with a wireless charging dock (you get 40 hours of play per charge) and a carry case.

The redesigned controller

You can see the original boxy looking controller above and the new more ergonomic design below. Redesigning the controller was done following feedback from Kickstarter backers and “after much deliberation and many hours with CAD programs, prototype models, plasticine and even more time with our controller engineering team”. It definitely looks improved to me.

The new GameStick design

The obvious competition - the OUYA console

There are lots of similarities between this GameStick and the OUYA console. The OUYA is a fair percentage more expensive at $99 and larger/less portable but also has more power thanks to its Tegra quad-core processor. OUYA is also making changes to the standard controller; improving the D-pad, following developer feedback. In further OUYA news, it was recently revealed that Xbox 360 wireless controllers, Sony's latest DualShock controllers, Nintendo Wii remotes and even the Logitech G25 wheel work with the OUYA after a fiddle with the console in root mode.

GameStick Kickstarter project closes soon

One more thing about the GameStick – the Kickstarter project finishes in about 68 hours. If you want to secure one of these portable games consoles at $79 + shipping it might be best to do it within the next two and a half days.



HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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Too many of these things now to gain any real traction with developers I think. So many different specs and power in them. Segregation of the market isn't going to help it gain mass appeal.
Kanoe
Too many of these things now to gain any real traction with developers I think. So many different specs and power in them. Segregation of the market isn't going to help it gain mass appeal.

Agreed! Too many varieties of the same thing and all will fail!
I don't think the situation is any worse than already exists for your typical Android Developer, or PC developer for that matter.

What would be nice to see is for screen manufacturers to offer compatible portabable displays with their own power-packs to work with the planned devices. Without the need to include a touchscreen component, hopefully they can be offered as a sensible price
Kanoe
Too many of these things now to gain any real traction with developers I think. So many different specs and power in them. Segregation of the market isn't going to help it gain mass appeal.


How is it different to phones, they're pretty fragmented and lots of people gaming on Android phones with lots of games anyway. All these things are is an Android platform built into a controller and using your TV for the display, you don't need to develop for them specifically, any game that works on Android ARM should work.

Personally I see these type of devices as a solution looking for a problem, surely the better route to Android-on-a-big-screen is actually using your phone, MHL/Miracast etc and a wireless controller, then you could take the same game on the move rather more easily. Long-term I doubt handheld consoles have a future, they'll join MP3 and video players on the "redundant now my phone/tablet/converged-device does it" list. I'd not be surprised if the Vita is Sony's last one but perhaps Nintendo will do another one or two as they have more presence in markets of people who don't have smartphones like little kids and old folk. As a Vita owner it is good but it's no more powerful or better screen than my Nexus 4, cost the same money and has less features except for the all critical controller buttons. Downloadable apps to phones and a controller with extended battery you slip the phone into seems better - it could become a standard phone accessory for gamers.
kingpotnoodle
Long-term I doubt handheld consoles have a future, they'll join MP3 and video players on the "redundant now my phone/tablet/converged-device does it" list.
Perhaps, but I hope not. For one, I find that there is a lack of truly epic iOS/Android games. If the Nexus 4 is as good hardware wise as the Vita, then by association, it is better than the DS. But I find the best DS games far more fun than any smartphones games I've tried so far. Secondly, I think that control will remain an issue. Just because you can theoretically have controllers for tablets, it doesn't mean that it will be common, and we will fall into the chicken and egg problem of developers not bothering to make games that make use of it because there is not enough hardware, yet people don't buy the hardware because there is a lack of support. Kinda like mouse and keyboards on consoles. They exist (AFAIK), but I don't know anyone who play FPS with such on a console.. actually, I am not even sure if it's supported, even though the hardware is there. Perhaps if one of those devices succeed, it will open to that possibility.