July 02, 2013, 6:00 AM —
BlueStacks has changed up its GamePop subscription-based mobile-on-TV gaming system a bit more. The idea behind GamePop is that you pay a monthly fee and get access to hundreds of mobile games that you can play on your TV via a GamePop console. I first talked about the service in May and back then if you pre-ordered a year's subscription to the service ($6.99/month) you'd get the hardware for free, but you had to place that order before the end of May, months before the service actually became available.
With that offer behind us, the cost of the GamePop console is now $129 (plus $10 shipping). And then you need that $6.99/month subscription. If that's all a bit too rich for your blood GamePop has added a second offering, the GamePop Mini.
The Mini is free with a GamePop subscription, though if you stay subscribed for less than a year you have to return it and pay a $25 restocking fee. In other words it's the same 'special offer' that BlueStacks originally offered, only with a smaller console.
Aside from being smaller (and having a much more reasonable box shape rather than the awkward 'sunken cube' shape of the full GamePop console) the Mini is less powerful, but we're assured "the Mini will be able to handle all of your favorite apps and games plenty well". If that's the case, what's the benefit of spending $129 on the bigger console? That isn't clear since we still don't have concrete specs, just that one is less powerful than the other.
I think Bluestacks will find that a $145.94 outlay to play mobile games ($129 for the console, $9.95 shipping and $6.99 for the first month of service) is going to be a hard sell when devices like the Ouya ($100) and GameStick ($70) are already on the market, so rolling out the GamePoP Mini makes a lot of sense.
Assuming, as always, that there's really a market for a device that throws mobile games up onto your TV.
If reports are correct, Google thinks there's a market. Last week the Wall Street Journal ran an article saying that Google plans to build an Android gaming console of its own, in anticipation of Apple doing the same thing for iOS gaming.
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