The Android-powered Ouya game console, which is set to ship out in March, just got a little company in the form of the GameStick. The GameStick, like the Ouya, is powered by Android and will use the OS as a pipeline to bring hundreds of games made for mobile's smaller display to your TV's bigger one.
There's a schism in gaming right now, often setting "core" titles like Halo and Assassin's Creed against casual games like Angry Birds and FarmVille. Really, though, what it comes down to is that the games you play on your phone or tablet often cost a handful of dollars or nothing, and games released for the consoles and PC often command a $60 price tag.
GameStick's proposition is this: for $115 (or $80, if you're fast enough), you're paying for a console that, at least in theory, has games priced like a smartphone instead of what you find on an Xbox or PlayStation.
From GameStick's Kickstarter:
"At the last count, (we're still counting), there were 700,000 Android games in the Android ecosystem. So far we have identified 200 titles that will be great to play on GameStick but we are working with our network of over 250 developers… 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."
Therein lies the big question with the likes of GameStick and Ouya: where are the exclusive, you-need-our-hardware-to-play games? Ouya answered those worries by scoring an exclusive early and talking up the console's ability to be modded. GameStick is similarly taking the concept of an open ecosystem and running with it:
"The mobile games market thrives on the use of open platforms and we wanted to bring the same ethos to TV. Open, so that more developers can innovate and develop quickly. Open, so that players can access more great games and get better pricing. Open because it's about time that the walls keeping independent developers out are smashed down."
On a curious note, the GameStick won't work with just any TV. At least, not ideally. Its ideal setup is to use an MHL-certified HDMI port, which packs in all the fun HDMI delivers while adding power to the mix, too. Currently, not a lot of TVs are MHL ready, so the GameStick will also launch with a USB cable or a power adapter to stay charged.
As of this writing, GameStick has already raised over a third of the $100,000 its asking for on Kickstarter with the whole month to go. You can check it out for yourself in GameStick's Kickstarter video pitch below.
UPDATE: The GameStick has reached its funding and then some after only 30 hours, with some 1,500 backers ponying up over $150,000. More money means more features, so the GameStick will now support XBMC and DLNA.