Mar 28th, 2013

Android gaming is about to take off in a big way thanks to the the OUYA and PlayJam GameStick getting ready to enter into the mini-console war. Where as the OUYA is emphasizing a beefy NVIDIA GPU to keep graphics relatively console quality, the GameStick is focusing more on portability and the ability to take your Android games anywhere… provided you have access to a television.

At the PlayJam booth, they were showing off both the developer kit (grey) and consumer versions of the GameStick (white)

Successfully funded on Kickstarter in early February, GameStick hit way above their $100,000 goal, raising a whopping $647,000. The GameStick is about the size of a stick of gum, essentially an HDMI stick that nestles itself snugly inside it’s own dual-analog controller for easy transport. When it comes to specs (Android peoples are all about those nowadays), the GameStick features a dual-core Amlogic 8726-MX A9 processor, 1GB of RAM, and runs on Android Jelly Bean. Like the OUYA, this means it should be relatively easy for Android developers to port their games over to the console (which uses a separate marketplace than the Play Store). This will no doubt be the GameStick’s biggest hurdle as you’re only as good as the games you offer.

We’ve been spending the last few days in San Francisco here at GDC 2013 and ran into the boys at PlayJam who were nice enough to give us a tour of their micro-console, along with some of the GameStick’s user interface. I can’t say I was expecting much out of the GameStick’s paltry dual-core CPU even though 1GB of RAM would be more than adequate for gaming (you’re not going to be doing a lot of multi-tasking on a gaming system). As it turns out, I was wrong. Well, the first part anyway. The GameStick’s UI was silky smooth, games opened up nice and quick, and best of all, they were all running in HD. If you’d like to go on a fantastic voyage, check out the GameStick for yourself in our hands-on video:

The GameStick is currently looking towards an April launch and in a press release, has successfully nabbed funding from GameStick (along with support from both Android and iOS games developers like Madfinger Games among others. You’ll be able to nab your own for $79 and for $20 more, there will be a handy dock that, not only opens up the number of ports on the GameStick, but also wirelessly charges 1 controller by simply resting on top. Keep in mind the only working GameStick was the developer kit, while the white consumer version wasn’t an actual working model.

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