Is that a TV game console in your pocket?

The GameStick is basically an OUYA that you can fit in your pocket. It is a Kickstarter-funded, Android-based, open source, home game console for your HDTV. But instead of a little box you put next to your screen, it’s an HDMI stick that comes with (and in) it’s own game controller.

GameStick

That thing with the red line on it that stuck in the bottom of the controller – that’s the console itself. You plug that into your HDTV’s HDMI slot. (Although, technically, what you are looking at is a non-working prototype.)

The specs are less impressive than the OUYA, but what it lacks in power, it (hopes to?) make up for in portability.

  • Processor – Amlogic 8726-MX
    • Dual-core Cortex A9 CPU at 1.5 GHz
    • Dual-core Mali 400 GPU at 400 MHz
  • 1 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 8 GB Flash Storage
  • WiFi – 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth – LE 4.0
  • O/S – Android Jelly Bean
  • Full 1080p HD video decoding

Some of it’s other features:

  • Content Download Manager
  • Cloud storage for games.
  • Support for XBMC & DLNA from Sept via optional firmware update.
  • Support for iOS and Android mobile devices to be used as controllers

The controller is Bluetooth, and the console supports up to 4 Bluetooth game controllers at the same time.  You can also use BT for a keyboard and mouse.  I haven’t seen anything that says if you can use USB devices on this thing or not, but it will have a USB slot for TVs that don’t support MHL power over HDMI, but it may just be a power slot, or a way to connect it to a computer, and not Host/OTG.

As of the time of this writing, there is no MicroSD card slot – but it is a stretch goal.  Their original goal was $100,000, which they have surpassed.  To get the MicroSD, the stretch goal is $560,000.  (They have over $350,000 pledged right now, and 19 days to go – February 1.)

I like the idea of using iOS/Android devices as controllers, and they have announced some beta support for Xbox 360 controllers as well.  It should be interesting to see what actually gets released.  The idea of a TV game console where you can bring your own favorite controller, be it Xbox, PS3, Wii, or iPhone, is pretty intriguing I must say.

Now, as far as the idea of a game console I can fit in my pocket – anyone who has a phone/handheld game system/tablet with HDMI out – or video out for that matter – has had that for a while.

The Kickstarter price to get one is $79 ($15 for shipping outside of the USA). That is also the price advertised on their website – gamestick.tv.

What do you think?  Is portability that important for a device that needs a big TV to run?  Do you see this being hacked onto the back of a LapDock? Would you rather have a pocketable game console with less power, or a slightly bigger box with more power (like the OUYA)?  Anyone plan on getting this?  Anyone plan on getting both this and the OUYA?

11 Replies to “Is that a TV game console in your pocket?”

  1. The OUYA looks interesting. This … not so much.

  2. I backed this one, looks like a decent system for a good price, and I’m not sure if the OUYA is worth the $20 extra. This is $15 more than the original iControlPad, and maybe $20 more than an Android TV MK802 device.

    This will be my first Android device with a decent TV-Out option. I do own the JXD S-601, but that’s composite out, and a Playbook, but that’s not Android.

    1. I had a Playbook for almost a month – the hardware was excellent but there were no apps for it at all. That was before they let you install Android apps.

      Do you use Android apps on it? Does it work well for you?

      1. I have not installed any Android apps. The store has grown quite a bit; as they’ve thrown a lot of money at developers to port their games.

        The Playbook is pretty amazing.The design is excellent, and the 2.0 upgrade really improved the UI, I am now considering the new BB10 phone, based on my experience with the Playbook.

      2. I really did like the hardware. I am glad they finally got some apps.

  3. So this is just like all those Android handhelds and the GCW but with no screen

    1. No – it’s more like the Android sticks with a game controller. And there is also the custom “Big Screen” interface and game store.

  4. I’m with elgarta on this — people have been way too quick to jump on the bandwagon with these things. I mean, both the Ouya and GameStick will ship with their own ecosystem. In other words, no access to the Play Store. Do people even realize just how many games they’re locking themselves out of? Not just because of the lack of Play Store, but also the lack of touchscreen.

    The lack of Play Store can be easily remedied, of course, but I doubt most backers have any interest in doing so otherwise they would’ve been informed enough to grab their hardware for cheaper off AliExpress or DealExtreme. At least the Ouya ships with some decent specs, and I could see myself getting one if it gets supported by CyanogenMod, but by the time it releases, I’m sure the aforementioned sites will be listing Quad Core A9 Cortex devices for half the price of the Ouya.

    Anyway, I just wish people would take the time to educate themselves a little rather than just throwing money all willy-nilly at the next big device that gets covered on the major gaming blogs.

    1. I have to disagree on several points. Before I do, please note, I’m not buying a GameStick – at least I don’t plan on doing so any time soon – and I know it is not for everyone. If you have a game system, with a screen or not, that you are happy with, by all means, stick with it. But…

      1. There is no reason to think that it won’t support the Play store out of the box – or that you can’t just load the apk. Remember, the OUYA at least has a flash card slot *and* a USB slave port, so loading anything is a breeze. The GameStick maybe not so much, since it doesn’t yet have any card slot.

      2. This thing is cheaper than getting a cheap Android HDMI stick and a bluetooth controller – and then hoping there are drivers for it.

      3. One thing you have to keep in mind about “obscure” systems is that generally speaking, whatever it ships with (meaning software / operating system) – that’s it. Do not expect upgrades or updates down the line. The manufactures of these products live off of very slim margins – they don’t have the resources to support their older products. If you get a cheap handheld today with Android 4.1 – and 3 months from now, Google releases 4.5 or 5.0… good luck getting an upgrade. Cyganmod *may* come to the rescue, but only if enough motivated coders even have one of your devices to test it on.

      The OUYA and the GameStick – if successful – will have all the motivation in the world to keep their products software up-to-date. They won’t be releasing an OUYA-15C and then 2 months later a OUYA-15D, with some minor hardware changes and the new point upgrade to the OS. They will port the OS to their existing hardware. I am sure, again if they are successful, there will be an OUYA 2 at some point – but it won’t be before 2015, I would imagine. And up until then, they are going to keep the software as up-to-date as possible. And if they don’t, there is a big enough install base for private coders to do so for free.

      So what I am saying is not that “name brand stuff is better” – I am saying that there are pros and cons to both sides. People who buy name-brand gadgets aren’t “throwing their money away” – they are paying for what they want. It’s not that they are stupid or don’t know any better – it’s that they would rather pay for something that “just works” and that they can get replaced in less than a month – probably less than a week – if it breaks.

      Besides – keep in mind, we are talking about a game system – it isn’t a needed thing. To be honest, it’s all “fun money” anyway. If you buy a Vita for $250 or a $1 LCD Sudoku pocket game – you are still buying a game. It won’t feed your family or keep you warm at night. It’s entertainment. A lot of people spend more on a night out with their family or on a date. They call it “disposable income” for a reason.

  5. I don’t care for it. The benefit of something portable would be to play it anywhere you wish to (Within reason of course). As soon as it requires a TV, it’s usefulness comes into question.

    Honestly, this and the Ouya don’t really impressed me. I have my Yinlips YDPG16 for on-the-go Android fun, and can bring along my PSP if I want to play that. I could just plug my Acer Iconia Tab into an HDMI TV and play games with a PS3 Sixaxis controller if I really needed to play with my Android on the big screen.

    1. I think for people who are a bit more tech saavy and can think outside of the box, you are right – having a tablet with HDMI out and BlueTooth pretty much covers it.

      However, something like this or the OUYA makes it not only easier, but more familiar for the general public. Also, with it being a more dedicated machine, it can put the focus on the hardware needed for higher end games, as opposed to a general purpose tablet.

      There is also the cost factor. While people reading this blog know you can buy a tablet for $80 or less – most people I come across who even have tablets think they cost $300 or more. And if they cost less than that – then there must be something wrong with them.

      So – for $79 you get the console and a controller – keep in mind, console game controllers themselves can cost $55 – $65. And that’s just for a “normal” wireless controller from the console manufacturer – not some fancy “Ferrari” model that can cost more than the console itself. (Literally Ferrari and literally more than the console.)

      Another consideration – one I learned the hardway – if you break the screen on a tablet, even with BlueTooth and HDMI – you can’t use it. If the digitizer won’t let you unlock the screen, it’s a paperweight.

      I’m not saying this is for everyone – or even for most people. Most people with stick with the Xstation U. But I can see a market for it. Maybe.

      Full Disclosure – I did back the OUYA. Partly because I wanted to have something I could just plug into my TV and leave it there – no plugging and unplugging everytime I wanted to take my tablet somewhere.

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