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War of the Android gaming consoles sees $79 GameStick challenge $99 OUYA

gamestick-prototype.jpg
After smartphones and tablets, the Android war has now reached gaming consoles. Looks like OUYA isn't going to be the only Android -powered console after all. PlayJam, the global platform for casual and social games on Smart TV, has now launched a Kickstarter campaign to garner funds for GameStick, a new Android game console that fits in your pocket.

Concept
What you see is what you get. Well as the name suggests, GameStick is a 2-inch console not bigger than your USB flash drive that supports up to four controllers connected at once and can connect to gamepads, mouse and keyboard. This makes it much more compact than the OUYA, which was compared to being as big or small as the Rubik's Cube in terms of design.  With this product, PlayJam seeks to combine the open source mobile platform with a closed console and bring that experience to your TV sets. The aim is to have no clunky hardware or entangling wires.

Specs
Coming to the console's specifications, the GameStick will run on Android Jelly Bean and pack an Amlogic 8726-MX processor (which is a dual-core Cortex A9 chip at 1.5GHz, along with a dual-core Mali 400 GPU at 400MHz),  1GB RAM and 8GB of flash storage, while using Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11b/g/n for connectivity. It will also be capable of full-HD (1080p) video decoding.

The GameStick has a comparatively lower processor than the OUYA console, which features an NVIDIA quad-core Tegra 3 processor for faster speeds. PlayJam CEO Jasper Smith clarifies that the specs should be more than enough to handle today's leading Android games.

The underpowered processor is said to have been chosen owing to the console's power and heat requirements as well as its extremely portable form factor.

Gaming titles
As of now, creators of GameStick are looking at about 200 titles from a pool of 700,000 Android games that would be great to play on the console. But the company is also working closely with over 250 developers from studios such as Madfinger, Hutch, Disney and others to offer the best gaming experience to users. PlayJam is looking at no more than a few dollars as the average pricing for each game, with many free to play titles as well.

Users will be able to browse and download content from the built-in GameStick game store that will be powered by PlayJam's existing Games Network for Smart TV which currently supports developers such as Relentless Software, First Star Software and Disney.

Pricing
Currently PlayJam is looking to raise a minimum of $100,000 to help make GameStick a reality. The company has chalked out their production plan for the product right from the concept design and initial engineering research stage (Jan-Jul 2012) to the time of delivery to the customer (April 2013). As of writing this post, it had raised $64,724 and 693 backers. Those who back the GameStick project for $79 or more are promised a GameStick (console + controller) bundle along with a name check and founders tag. (Users outside US will have to pay $15 extra as shipping charges)

So what's the price of "putting big screen gaming in your pocket?" PlayJam has not just thought about accessibility but also affordability. The device is priced at a mere $79, that's $20 cheaper than the OUYA console. Will users get to see the final product? We'll know soon.

OUYA which raised $8 million inf funding from Kickstarter, is slated for a March release this year, that's one month ahead of GameStick assuming both stick to their schedules. Currently, there are 19 confirmed Ouya games to come with the console along with approximately 300 OnLive games and 80 games confirmed by Ouya themselves.

Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, are you watching this?



GameStick key specifications

OS - Android Jelly Bean
Processor - Amlogic 8726-MX
Memory - 1GB DDR3 RAM
Storage -  8GB
Controller - Bluetooth, 3 mode controller: gamepad, mouse and keyboard with support for up to 4 controllers
Content Download Manager with cloud storage for games
WiFi - 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth - LE 4.0
Full 1080p HD video decoding

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