GameStick Android console competes with Ouya and eSfere for public money


First Ouya’s brushed-steel, Android-powered console threatens to disrupt the traditional living room setup, then eSfere addresses the long-bemoaned absence of hardware-matching vases. Now there’s a third Android console entering the crowdfunding race for television ownership, the GameStick.

Casual game network PlayJam has launched its own Kickstarter campaign, aiming to raise $100,000 to fund its diminutive $79 Android console. Resembling a USB drive, the GameStick will come with a Bluetooth controller, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of flash memory. The console will plug directly into your TV’s HDMI slot, and can be stored in the controller for travel.

“The best known Android games console today is Ouya,” PlayJam CEO Jasper Smith told MCV. “We think it’s a great product but already we have pushed the boundaries in terms of product design to shrink the concept to the size of a HDMI stick with a price point of $79, including controller.

“We appreciate we run the risk of coming up against people that may have funded similar concepts but we’re certain that people will understand the passion and value of GameStick and the huge change it will have on gameplay in our near future.”

The project is in beta right now, with several potential designs in the offing – a video on the campaign page shows a working prototype in action, however. While PlayJam is a large, successful company, Smith says that it needs the $100,000 target in order to bring its console to market as its core Smart TV market represents a significant drain on the company’s resources.

“[PlayJam] has been able to use a lot of its existing games platform and know how to get to this point which otherwise would have made the cost prohibitive,” he said. “Kickstarter enables companies such as PlayJam to think laterally and that’s when good things happen.”

While there are now three Android consoles vying for public funding, we suspect GameStick won’t be the last. How successful any of them will be, and just how many consoles the market can support is impossible to predict at this time – these Android systems will be competing not only with each other, but also Wii U, Sony and Microsoft’s next efforts, and Valve’s Steam Box living room PC, remember. But it can’t be argued that, at less than $100, Ouya, eSfere and GameStick don’t represent a significantly less risky investment when compared to a $400 console.