Are Android gaming consoles doomed?

Android gaming consoles may die a quick death in the marketplace

Android Gaming Consoles

Mashable has a roundup of Android gaming consoles. I have to admit that I was surprised to find out that there are five of them available already. Five? Wow. Who'd have thought we'd even have one?

What's the appeal of the Android console? As developers create games more prolifically and cheaply for mobile phones, hardware manufacturers seek to bridge the gap between mobile and living room. Android-powered platforms could turn these mobile titles into games with longer shelf-lives, accessible from the comfort of the couch. They could also unlock the eager indie developer community, which is eager to reach more players.

Android also offers an easy, open platform to build upon, as we've seen from the plethora of 'droid-friendly phones and tablets. While more popular and profitable games are iOS exclusives, Apple's walled garden means third parties can't access its ecosystem. Ultimately, console fragmentation may soon resemble the Android phone and tablet markets, as games must be modified to work with external controllers for every console.

More at Mashable

Here are the models listed in Mashable's roundup:

OUYA

Gamestick

GamePop

Green Throttle

Nvdia's Shield

Who's the Market for Android Consoles?

Yes, I'm somewhat of a cynic on Android console gaming. We already have popular consoles from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Who is going to buy an Android gaming console instead of an Xbox, Playstation or Nintendo system? How many consumers even know that Android consoles are available in the first place?

You have to figure that most serious gamers already have an XBox, Playstation or Nintendo system. So why would they shell out money for new hardware just to play mobile games on their TVs? I can't see the market for these things.

Cost of Android Consoles versus Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo

The cost of these consoles seems to run from $49 to $299. I suppose there's a cost advantage here for some of them compared to what Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo offer. But let's remember that these cheaper Android console products seem to be offering mobile games and not games designed for a large screen TV.

Is the cost difference enough to lure gamers away from the big three? I doubt it.

Mobile Gaming Experience on TVs

If you're a serious gamer, I doubt very much that you'll enjoy playing a mobile game on your TV. Mobile games are...well...they are designed for mobile devices. Sure, they can be very enjoyable. I have some on my mobile devices.

But do they stand up well to consoles games that were designed to run on more powerful hardware, and designed to be displayed on an HDTV screen? I can't really see these mobile games cutting it for serious gamers. The experience just isn't going to be the same.

How many serious gamers will keep on buying games for Android gaming consoles once the initial novelty wears off? I can see game sales plunging once the boredom factor sets in and the mobile-experience-on-a-TV becomes tedious.

Buying Games Twice?

Another issue that comes up here is duplicate game purchases. If you already own a game on an Android mobile device, are you going to want to pay for it again on a home console system?

From what I read in the article, some games will have to be tweaked to run on these Android consoles. But will those changes add enough value to get somebody to buy the same game twice, for two different Android devices?

I suppose it might be worth it if the console version had spruced up graphics and other value adds. If not then people will be paying twice to play the same game, just on a larger screen.

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