As Sony and Microsoft prepare to wage a massive console war in the living room this fall, the smaller guys continue the push to make Android gaming a real thing (even though it still totally sucks for the time being).
The GameStick is one of many — and there are many — Android-powered "micro consoles" looking to disrupt the living room gaming scene with sub-$100 pricing. Unlike the Ouya, the GameStick is almost all controller. An HDMI stick contains all of the main console parts and can be tucked inside of the controller for easy transport.
After a successful Kickstarter run that nabbed over $647,000 crowdfunding bucks and a delay since April, the GameStick is finally ready to launch worldwide. Kickstarter backers should be receiving their early bird specials and whatnot starting mid-September with Amazon and GameStop stocking the controller console on September 30 for $80. For those keeping tabs, that's $20 cheaper than the Ouya.
Each GameStick comes with 8GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD card), 1GB of RAM, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0. Aside from games, the GameStick will also run XBMC and support wireless media streaming. The controller can also be charged wirelessly using a special docking station.
We're still not convinced Android gaming is worth it, mainly because most of the controllers (especially the Ouya one) are absolutely terrible. The selection of games is paltry and most tablet/smartphone games are designed for touchscreen input, something the GameStick won't be able to do. Ported games usually suffer from poor framerates and sloppy conversions. Still, the concept of a cheap and portable microconsole that can be carried around easily to a hotel or another friend's house still intrigues us. If only the games were there.
As a second console for the kids or for trying out indie games, the GameStick sounds like a good buy, but it probably won't make anyone dump their PlayStation or Xbox.