GameStick Launches Kickstarter Campaign For $79 Android Console To Challenge Ouya

By Alexandra Burlacu email: | Jan 06, 2013 03:33 AM EST

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The Ouya Android video game console is set to ship in April, but a new challenge arises: a similar Android gadget, but with a lower price tag.

GameStick has just launched a campaign on Kickstarter, a popular venue for funding projects that show great potential but need backing. The company aims to raise money for a new device which, just like the $99 Ouya, is designed to bring Android games to the TV. According to GameStick, only one percent of all the TVs in the world are used to play games.

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"We think that's because traditional games consoles and content are too expensive. So 12 months ago, we set out to challenge that by making the most affordable, open and portable TV games console ever created," reads the project description on Kickstarter. "At $79 GameStick offers the most affordable route to playing games on your TV."

The GameStick is a small Android video game console about the size of a USB thumb drive. In that small package the gadget packs and ARM Cortex-A9 processor, a wireless game controller, as well as a clean user interface (UI) specifically designed to facilitate navigation through games on a big-screen television.

The Amlogic dual-core processor, however, is less powerful than Ouya's Tegra 3, which may explain the lower price tag.

The GameStick also features 1GB of RAM and 8GB of flash storage, has built-in support for Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0, and runs on Android Jelly Bean. Meanwhile, an HDMI port on one end allows users to plug the stick directly into a TV and port games onto a big screen. Moreoverm with MHL-compliant TVs the GameStick will be able to draw power straight from the TV.

Users can control games via the console's Bluetooth controller, which looks very similar to a typical video game controller. The difference is that GameStick's Bluetooth Controller has a slot that can house the gadget when not in use. The system supports mouse and keyboard input as well.

While the hardware looks a lot like that of other inexpensive Android TV sticks, GameSticks game-centric software interface may make it stand out from the crowd. The specially designed game controller bundled with the stick also works in its favor, as does the team behind the project. GameStick is the brainchild of the same team that created the award-winning platform PlayJam.

Currently the hardware is still under development, and the team is working with app developers to ensure their titles will be compatible with the final version of the system. GameStick supports roughly 200 Android games already, most of which will either be cheap or be available to play for free. Currently supported games include Dead Trigger, Shadowgun, Canabalt, Boulder Dash XL, and many more.

In addition to allowing users to download games to their devices, GameStick is also considering using CiiNow to stream video games to the console via the Internet, without requiring full downloads.

Backers need to pledge $79 or more to reserve a GameStick, but the project will only kick off if the team reaches its funding goal of $100,000 (minimum) by Feb. 1. If the team meets its goals, the first GameStick units should ship to backers in April 2013.

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