Console gaming is pretty expensive to manage and maintain, if you think about it. The cost of the console is a huge initial investment, then sustaining it by purchasing content—the games themselves—is an entirely different matter that isn’t easy to maintain. Mobile gaming offers a more open platform (for both players and developers), and in effect, games are relatively more within reach and made available to more users. A lot of mobile games are even free. Mobile gaming also offers a more portable experience since you can’t go around toting your console just to be able to play outside your home. Mobile gaming is indeed more practical, but many gamers agree that nothing beats playing on a television screen in your good ol’ living room.
PlayJam has come up with a way to bridge the two platforms, offering a dedicated gaming device that lets you play on your TV screen, yet is portable enough that you can pop it in your pocket. They christened this device as the GameStick and calls it the “most affordable, open and portable TV games console ever created.” It is Android-powered and is only two inches long, so you can pack the device with your favorite games and bring it along with you so you can enjoy these games almost anywhere as long as there’s a TV screen to play on. Below are the specs of the device:
- Processor – Amlogic 8726-MX
- Memory – 1GB DDR3 / 8GB FLASH
- Content Download Manager w/ cloud storage for games.
- WiFi – 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth – LE 4.0
- O/S – Android Jelly Bean
- Controller – Bluetooth, 3 mode controller: gamepad, mouse and keyboard with support for up to 4 controllers.
- Full 1080p HD video decoding
PlayJam packed the GameStick with an Android Jelly Bean OS in order to make the GameStick open for both developers and gamers. Since it’s an Android device, it allows access to nearly 200,000 in the Android ecosystem. PlayJam says that they have identified 200 titles that could be played on the GameStick, but they claim that they have been working with a network of developers to offer more. “What’s really cool is that the average cost of a game on GameStick will be just a few dollars and many will be free to play,” says PlayJam.
Despite being compatible with any Bluetooth controller supporting HID, the two-inch GameStick comes with its own Bluetooth controller that’s even bigger than the stick itself. The back of the controller has a transport slot in which you can keep the GameStick when you’re not using it or when you want to carry around both devices.
PlayJam says they now have a working prototype, and that the controller is in its final design stage and is in the custody of their engineering team for PCB (printed circuit board) development.
The project is still collecting funds via crowd sourcing on Kickstarter in order to complete the production. Pledging on Kickstarter will only be up to February 1st, but we’re pretty optimistic that PlayJam won’t have to wait that long for them to reach their financial goal. As of press time, 728 backers who have pledged USD $67,673 of the USD $100,000 goal—all this in only a little more than a day.
[UPDATE] The Kickstarter funding has been completed within only two days, with 1,423 backers who pledged USD $139,917.