PlayStation and Xboxes are always going to be around, however low cost chips and high quality mobile operating systems have resulted in a new sort of gaming machine on the horizon – Android Consoles.
Android’s versatility and cheap and powerful chips from the likes of NVIDIA mean that a raft of Android consoles has arrived. These Android gaming consoles offer gaming thrills on your TV in a small footprint for a fraction of the price of a console and many do more than play games.
Amazon Fire TV
Take the Amazon Fire TV for instance, the latest foray into technology from the former book retailer. As well as offering a whole host of apps for watching media, streaming TV and turning your TV into essentially a computer with voice control. It also comes with a gaming pad and allows you to play a variety of Android games in your living room. Even though games are partially limited, it offers a lot of bang for its buck and showcases just some of the amazing things these low cost machines can do.
In a lot of ways the daddy of Android gaming consoles, the Ouya is priced around the £99 mark. Having begun life on Kickstarter as a crowdfunding project the little cube was hailed as a revolutionary device. With its own store populated by the likes of Final Fantasy III, as well as Android classics such as Dead Trigger.
However, like the Amazon Fire TV it’s somewhat limited and developers need to create games specifically for it as a platform – essentially they need to re-tool the controller. This means that people end up having to buy the same game separately for it and a mobile device. However, it’s a great machine and a new, improved version is in the works – let’s hope it irons out the problem of having to purchase two version of the same game and also makes the developers’ job easier.
The size of a USB stick, the GameStick is another Kickstarter winner and takes up only a tiny increment of space. It’s attractive, easy to bring to a friend’s house and comes with an attractive, well build joypad. However, like the Ouya there are developer issues and a lack of games. That said it shows plenty of promise.
The Mojo is everything we’d want in this sort of a console aside from one think – it’s pretty expensive. Made by Mad Catz who are famed for their controllers, it offers expandable memory, comes with a super powerful Tegra 4 CPU and offers full Google Play support so you can play all your mobile games on it. It seems like it’s the complete package, the only issue is that it’s twice as expensive as most of the other devices here.
Android consoles are in their infancy in a way, however each iteration we see is better and better and they do show a lot of promise. For the price and for what they offer they’re definitely value for money and well worth a look for casual gamers.