BlueStacks announces Android-based gaming console and subscription service
Upstart products like the Ouya and PlayJam’s GameStick are garnering a lot of attention for bringing console-style gaming to your TV with a budget-priced Android device. Now, a new competitor wants to bring subscription-based Android gaming to your TV with yet another low-priced console. BlueStacks, whose current claim to fame is software that lets you run Android apps on Macs and Windows PCs, announced the GamePop console/subscription service on Thursday.
The new gaming platform lets you play Android games using a console that plugs into your television. The difference between the GamePop and its competitors, however, is that you don’t buy your games. Instead, you pay a subscription fee of $7 per month for access to more than 500 Android games you can play any time on the console. The idea is similar to OnLive’s PlayPack Bundle subscription, which costs $10 per month for access to more than 200 games.
The GamePop console is reminiscent of the original Boxee Box, which was shaped like a square with one corner flattened so it could sit on an angle. It’s not clear what the guts of the system are made of, but the device will run Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) according to The Verge, which first reported on the GamePop.
The GamePop is currently available for pre-order, and until the end of May BlueStacks is offering a free GamePop console to every pre-order subscriber. The regular price of the console is expected to be around $100. Although the console won’t actually ship until sometime “this winter,” The Verge reports.
Fear not: BlueStacks says your credit card won’t be charged until your console is on its way.
Android and TV: It’s complicated
The GamePop is the latest in a long line of attempts to bring Android games to your TV, none of which have really taken off. You can already play a limited number of games on your TV if you have a Google TV device. Earlier in 2013, Archos unveiled a handheld Android-based controller called the TV Connect, packed with a 1.5GHz processor, that can put games from Google Play on your TV. The GameStick is also billing itself as a way to play Android games on your TV, but PlayJam’s service appears to be more selective than others about which games will work with the console.
In 2011, a company called Envizions announced it would create a console called the Evo 2 Smart Console to let you play Android games on your TV. There were reports that product was ultimately cancelled, but the Envizions website still offers the Evo 2 for pre-order for $10 down on a $129 console. The company’s website, as well as Twitter and Facebook accounts, appear abandoned, however. So your money is probably best spent elsewhere.
BlueStacks has big plans for its console with planned features such as the ability to turn your Android or iOS smartphone into a GamePop controller for multiplayer games. The Verge reports the company is also working with known mobile gaming studios to deliver “customized GamePop experiences” including Glu, Halfbrick, Jawfish Games, and Gameloft.