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May 09, 2013

Android Armies Press Start to Enter Console War

By Peter B. Counter, TMCnet Contributing Writer

There is a war happening in your living room and it’s for your attention. There have been many sides to the fight over the decades–hedgehogs, plumbers, bandicoots–but in recent generations the flags of the warriors have become Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft (News - Alert). The console gaming industry has always been fiercely competitive, but now it is expanding. As has been evidenced by the Nintendo Wii U’s poor performance, mobile gaming is becoming a serious threat to the established titans of home gaming, and this threat is giving rise to new Android (News - Alert)-powered consoles.

Recently, BlueStacks unveiled its GamePop console, and it is set to come out swinging. Available for pre-order until the end of this month, the GamePop will allow gamers to stream and play over 500 Android games on their televisions. Bringing the BYOD trend into the video game arena, GamePop players can chose to control their actions with the included gamepad, their iPhone (News - Alert), or Android mobile device.

The biggest thing that BlueStack’s console is going to bring to the fight is its business model. Said to be worth $100, the actual hardware is included with a subscription to the service. Yes, that’s correct, the GamePop will be subscription-based, similar to X-Box (News - Alert) Live, only in this case the entire game library, worth in the area of $250 is included with the $6.99 per month game service.

If this all sounds familiar, it’s because you have probably heard about it before. In a similar attempt to capitalize on the growing popularity of mobile games and compete with the big kids, Ouya, a similar console is was expected to launch June 4. However, as an indication of the sort of support this alternative to the established gaming market has driving it, the crowd sourced console had to bump its launch date back to June 25 in order to meet higher than expected demand.

Comparing the competition to Blockbuster, Rosen Sharma, CEO of BlueStacks hopes that the Netflix-style of paying as you play is going to give a broader range of games to the big screen gamer. This assertion will come as a relief to gamers that might not have the time or money to invest in expensive games that eat up dozens of hours, though the persistent and loyal hardcore gaming community will probably care less.

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