July 17, 2013, 2:32 PM — 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.
Here are the models listed in Mashable's roundup:
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.