OUYA, the Android-based gaming console that made headlines when it hit Kickstarter last year, may have a new competitor to face in 2013. Created by PlayJam CEO Jasper Smith, and just revealed today, GameStick aims to be the first the portable Android gaming console for your TV. Thanks to it's flash drive-esque form factor and pocketable controller, it may accomplish that goal.
Like OUYA, the project is seeking funding through Kickstarter. The team behind the new gizmo is already hard at work trying to bring games to the new system, which it may be quite successful in doing considering PlayJam has successfully worked with developers in the past to bring games over to Smart TVs.
“We wanted to create a games console that helped further our overriding mission to bring affordable gaming to the big screen". Says Jasper Smith, CEO PlayJam. “Not only that, we wanted to push the boundaries of what has been achieved up to now by packing sufficient power into the most portable of devices, enabling users to carry that experience with them wherever they go.”
What separates the GameStick from OUYA is the actual size of console. While OUYA exists as small set-top box, GameStick is much more reminiscent of the newer Roku sticks that plug into your TV's HDMI port. There's no wires to worry about, as the device pulls power directly from the HDMI port it's connected to. The Bluetooth controller is a bit boxy, which some gamers may frown upon, but the shape lends itself well to traveling and even provides a storage compartment to hold the actual console when it's not in use.
Under the hood, GameStick packs an Amlogic 8726-MX processor, 1GB of memory and 8GB of internal flash storage. The console is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi, and runs Android Jelly Bean. While the console does come with a controller, it will also be compatible with other third-party gamepads, mice and keyboards – a great feature for gamers who aren't impressed with the pack-in. Up to four controllers can be connected at once for multiplayer.
"We are currently in a closed Beta phase of development with a working prototype that our guys are using to test some great games. Next comes the final design stage and live testing of both the controller and the games,” continues Smith. “We are fortunate to have been able to utilize our existing technology to get us to this point and have preferred manufacturers in place and an existing developer network ready to go. However, to get this project over the line and into full production, we need the support of the backers on Kickstarter."
At the time of writing this, the Kickstarter campaign had already garnered support from 325 backers contributing $28,000 toward the $100,000 funding goal. Funding ends on February 1st and if everything goes as planned we may be seeing the first GameStick consoles shipping by April 2013. Early birds can get their hands on a GameStick for $69, while the rest will be expected to cough up $79.
Here's the pitch from PlayJam CEO and GameStick creator Jasper Smith...