GameStick

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GameStick
GameStick Logo.png
Also known as Game Stick
Developer PlayJam
Product family First Generation
Type Microconsole
Release date November 15, 2013
Introductory price $79 USD
Operating system Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
System-on-chip used Amlogic 8726-MX
CPU ARM Cortex A9
Memory 1 GB DDR3 / 8 GB FLASH
Storage GB internal flash memory
Display HDMI
1080p, 720p
Graphics Mali-400 MP
Input Bluetooth
Controller input Wireless controller
Connectivity
Dimensions Size of a flash drive
Website www.gamestick.tv

The GameStick is a video game console developed by PlayJam, a microconsole the size of a USB flash drive that plugs directly into the back of a TV through an HDMI port and ships with its own Bluetooth controller. Users of GameStick can access and download content via its curated store-front via Wi-Fi with content stored locally for offline access. The device is powered by the PlayJam Games Platform running its own version of the Android operating system a. GameStick is intended to be a portable device aimed at casual to mid-core gamers for $79. Similar to the Ouya, it was funded through Kickstarter.

Originally planning to release in June 2013, it was delayed,[1] units not shipped to retailers for the general public until early November 2013.[2] It features an exclusive GameStick game and access to the app store for games and applications designed specifically for the GameStick platform, of which the majority are casual games targeted at or used by a mass audience of casual gamers.

All systems can be used as development kits, allowing any GameStick owner and gamer to also be a developer, without the need for licensing fees. The GameStick is classified as part of the eighth generation of video game consoles and as such is a rival competing against the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation Vita, Shield Portable, and Ouya.

History[edit]

Jasper Smith, CEO of PlayJam, and the PlayJam "development team" began recruiting support from developers early in the process. Before the project's launch, GameStick, based out of San Francisco, CA, was said to have support from; "over 1000 developers".[3] Game designers interested in the project can pledge $500 in support of the console in exchange for a prototype unit and SDK one month before launch. As of February, 2013, the game was successfully funded with over 5,600 backers and about $650,000 fundraised. The PlayJam team set out to design a video game project that was affordable, portable, accessible and with a more simple design. The use of Android, as the development software, which holds over 700,000 games, allows a wide range of games for the Gamestick system and the PlayJam Company to work with. The GameStick Marketplace, an online store through the system to purchase games, allows parental control to be used as well as password protection when purchasing games. PlayJam is continuing to work with developers to continue to bring in the best games possible for the Gamestick console. Although specific information regarding compatibility has not been released, PlayJam reports that at least 200 existing games on the Google Play Store will be compatible with GameStick.[4] However, the GameStick will not support the Google Play store directly, so game developers will need to port their games specifically to the GameStick store.[5] News about the GameStick has been featured on tech websites such as Engadget, SlashGear, and Tom's Hardware, as well as mainstream media outlets like NBC News.[3] [6][7] In April 2013 it was reported that the launch date had been put back by three months to June due to demand and a change in production methods.[8]

Design and specifications[edit]

The GameStick product consists of two main elements: a cordless controller, and the console itself, with a cable for charging. This cable is a generic micro USB cable, hence, not only is it compatible with any Android device, as well as any device that supports a micro USB charger. This also means that the GameStick Console can be charged by any Android Compatible Micro USB cable. This is much like Google’s Chromecast in that aspect. The controller has two analog sticks, a directional pad, A/B/X/Y face buttons, shoulder buttons, and system buttons for power and menus. The portable and convenient design includes a slot for storing the Flash Drive console inside the controller, making the entirety of the console approximately the same size and roughly the same price as a large name console controller. The controller connects to the console through Bluetooth. A Gamestick Dock is also available, which allows faster internet access with an Ethernet plug-in, charging access for both the controller and the console, additional storage space, and the capability of additional plug-ins such as a camera, microphone or keyboard.The console contains an HDMI connector for the user's television, internal processor and memory, and all wireless radios.[4] The GameStick will access the internet via Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. Up to four controllers can connect via Bluetooth 4.0, as well as wireless keyboards and mice, also through Bluetooth,allowing PC Gamers to feel more at home with the console as well as console gamers. The GameStick also supports iOS and Android devices as controllers. The system itself is Android based and thus, is an extension of the Android platform, however, is iOS compatible. Playback will support 1080 HD as well as XBMC DLNA with an optional firmware upgrade. The GameStick uses an interface similar to the tiled dashboard on the Xbox 360.[9] The first accessory for GameStick is the docking station, which offers wireless charging to the controller, 3 USB ports, a SD card reader, ethernet and HDMI. The dock is purported to connect to various devices such as USB keyboards, webcams, microphones and dance mats.[10] The console and controller are released in four colors: black, white, red, and a "Kickstarter Special" green and black. Certain supporters will receive limited edition gold-colored consoles.

GameStick was the first third-party device to licence ToFu Media Center, a derivative fork of XBMC Media Center.[11][12][13]

Reception[edit]

The Verge praised the minimalist design and low cost console, but were concerned by the limited game selection, the locked-down software and hardware, and the underpowered CPU that was unable to play the latest Android games.[14] Similarly, Engadget cited the portability, low price, and slick design as the strengths of the GameStick but were disappointed by the selection of games and the hardware, which they said could be outdated fairly quickly. [15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ GameStick: The Most Portable TV Games Console Ever Created by GameStick » Project Update - 158 Days In. — Kickstarter. Kickstarter.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b Mallory, Jordan (2013-01-03). "GameStick Android console is the size of a USB stick". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-04-09. 
  4. ^ a b "Android Game Consoles: Ouya vs GameStick". gaducated.com. 2013-02-02. Retrieved 2013-04-09. 
  5. ^ "GameStick vs. Ouya: Which Sub-$100 Android Game Console are You Getting? – Yahoo! Voices". voices.yahoo.com. 2013-01-07. Retrieved 2013-04-09. 
  6. ^ Gilbert, Ben (2013-01-29). "GameStick reveals final backer-aided design, dock for peripherals". Engadget.com. Retrieved 2013-04-09. 
  7. ^ Winda Benedetti (2012-11-14). "Thumb drive-sized GameStick console launching in April – InGame on". Nbcnews.com. Retrieved 2013-04-09. 
  8. ^ "BBC News – Gamestick console release date delayed". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-04-09. 
  9. ^ "GameStick Takes on Ouya as a Portable Android Games Console". IGN. 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2013-04-09. 
  10. ^ "You spoke and we listened.". Kickstarter. GameStick. 
  11. ^ Pivos Brings TOFU Media Center to GameStick Store at Launch
  12. ^ GameStick Review
  13. ^ PlayJam GameStick
  14. ^ The Verge (2013-11-01). "GameStick review: the Android console battle is on". The Verge. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  15. ^ Engadget (2013-11-11). "GameStick review: Android console gaming still awaits its king". Engadget. Retrieved 2015-05-11. 

External links[edit]