While some companies are attempting to develop cloud gaming services that are built into a hosting smart TV set, TV gaming specialists PlayJam have revealed a planned new product that they hope can bring ‘most affordable route to playing games on your TV’.
The product, called the GameStick, has been revealed this week on crowd fundraising site Kickstarter, with the aim of raising $100,000 from users (with ‘gifts’ attached for donations) and raising the profile of a product they plan to release for $79 each by this spring.
Stating their belief that regular games consoles are ‘too big and expensive’, the GameStick is a device that is compatible with most HDTV sets, taking the appearance of a USB stick but instead plugging directly into an HDMI slot on a TV set regardless of its internet connection, though it requires something in the household for it to work.
The controller (pictured to scale with the ‘console’) connects to GameStick via ‘specially-designed Bluetooth’ (taking on the humourous button names of ‘P-L-A-Y’), and are designed to combine into one for the process of ‘easy transportation’, although other Bluetooth controllers are supported primarily to enable multiplayer game compatibility.
PlayJam CEO Jasper Smith said of the development: “We wanted to create a games console that helped further our overriding mission to bring affordable gaming to the big screen. Not only that, we wanted to push the boundaries of what has been achieved up to now by packing sufficient power into the most portable of devices, enabling users to carry that experience with them wherever they go. To date, the most accessible route to TV gaming for the consumer has been the traditional games console – this is changing. GameStick gives the thousands of Android developers out there an additional route to bring an affordable big-screen gaming experience direct to their fans.
“What’s more, we wanted to do this via a unique, highly portable device that will enable pure social gaming – by that we mean people sharing great experiences in the same room! We are fortunate to have been able to utilise our existing technology to get us to this point and have preferred manufacturers in place and an existing developer network [including Relentless Software, Disney, and First Star Software, amongst others] ready to go. However, to get this project over the line and into full production, we need the support of the backers on Kickstarter.”
GameStick are set to include access to a ‘purpose-built game store’ as the means of browsing new content to buy, presumably alongside a hub on which to look through and play owned content.
PlayJam’s first game line-up is not full of illustrious names, though, with agreed titles such as Shadowgun, Quiz Climber, SmashCops, and Blue Toad Murder Files, but they will hope to lure in more attractive developers and franchises once they are up-and-running, a process which appears to be a continuing work-in-progress. Currently, the GameStick has received over 130 backers, pledging almost 11% of the target total with 29 days remaining on the listing.
If their schedule goes to plan, PlayJam have announced their intention to launch pre-production near the end of Q1 2013, and deliver the first versions of the finished product at some point in April. It is a much quicker process than the likes of Sony or Microsoft go through with their consoles, but will PlayJam’s tiny stick ever manage to compete with other cloud gaming platforms such as OnLive, let alone the console bigwigs? Still, with the PS2 now officially out of action, maybe there is room for a new product on the video game market…