Android home gaming consoles are pretty cheap, but are you buying them?
As of today only the Ouya has made it to people's households and the reception hasn't been great. Given the continued delays behind the GameStick and "premium" price of the MOJO, will both of them also sell high but under deliver?
They're far cheaper than an Xbox One or PS4, and if we use the MOJO's pricing it's dead even with the Wii U. All of these consoles not only will be bringing new games to the consoles but they already have a long established list of great software titles. For as far as Android has come it still isn't delivering on titles that can rank up there with some of the titles on these devices, let alone something like the 3DS. Even if you take the Wii U at its current state they at least give you the Virtual Store and Wii emulator mode for some of the back catalog.
There are certainly benefits to affordable devices like this, mainly they allow for a family to give their son or daughter a console on the cheap. The concern comes in a less than stellar delivery (as of right now the Ouya isn't looking hot) and weak game catalog; yes Android has a huge range games but how many tower defense games can one take (same with iOS)?
I just don't see these surviving too long, no matter how affordable they become.
Perhaps I will change my tune when the Firefly MMORPG comes out.
This is something I see come up a lot when they're discussed (XBMC or Plex clients too) but like you said we already have a half-dozen ways to do any of these things. Keeping an emulator collection sounds cool (I did it with my Wii) but what is the frequency you're going to turn to that over another game? I'd wager to say its low. I feel like these tend to cater to the "If I can do it, why not" type of crowd.
- Pure Android, so you have full access to all games in the Google Play store.
- A real controller, the C.T.R.L.R. Mad Catz used to be known as a purveyor of crappy peripherals, but now they make decent controllers and mice (including one of our Must-haves).
- A competitive price point. $250 versus two competing systems that are under $100? You can even buy a top-of-the-line cell phone for less (on contract, of course).
- A library of titles built for it. The best mobile games are games built for a small touch screen. Mobile games that work for a console probably originated on a console and are probably also available for competing platforms like PlayStation or Xbox.
Upon further research, it looks like Android had support for gamepads baked in before Apple. (Available as of Android 3.1 vs. iOS 7: developer.android.com/about/versions/android-3.1.h... )
So, I'll be honest -- I'm really not sure why these consoles aren't taking off. There's definitely a decent selection of high quality games in the Android market (though not everything has baked in gamepad support and maybe this is an issue).
That said, I do think mobile games have some sort of stigma attached to them and they have a specific style of game play (e.g., all these games are engineered to work specifically by touch). Plus, they generally don't seem to feel as epic or serious as a more traditional types of gaming platforms.
I guess it's one of those chicken and egg problems. Maybe people will start buying these once they feel that game developers take them more seriously?
With these, mobile / portable hardware is becoming so much more powerful so much faster that once you start developing a game for this type of console, the hardware will potentially be obsolete in about 6 months.
IF your going to crystal ball this category, then I think there are positive signs. People are tired of paying big dollars for not just the console but more importantly games. $60 a game is the core issue here - that's what this is really about. These Android microconsoles allow you to purchase games for a 1/10 the normal cost - soley due to the Android market place and sales being so huge. 1/10th the price is always going to be appealing.
Looking forward to next 5 years, SOC's are going to continue on their meteoric performance rise. In 5 years time , I wonder just how a SOC will compare in power to a XBone - thats when things will really shake up.
That's probably a long way off, but with products like the Nvidia Shield finding a way to do it, I hope it's sooner rather than later.
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