Hot on the heels of Ouya's record-breaking Kickstarter success, GameStick's designers have received more than $647,000 in funding from their successful campaign. It's less than a tenth of the $8.5 million the other Android-based game console pulled in during its run, but it's more than six times what GameStick's designers asked for, and they're now pushing ahead to their April launch.
What is GameStick?
GameStick is basically a wireless controller, with a slot for a tiny USB stick sized device which plugs into a TV and is the actual console itself. It's the second of the new generation of game consoles which are powered by Android -- Google's free-to-use, open-source operating system -- and financed through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, which allows people to preorder devices while they're still in the concept stage. Especially generous backers receive early access to devices, or the ability to influence the product's design.
This model has worked for both Ouya and GameStick because a slew of AAA mobile games are already available for Android on the proprietary Google Play store, many of which already support console-style game controllers. It's only a matter of convincing their developers that a new console will be popular enough that it's worth bringing their titles to it -- a fact which is easily demonstrated by the amount of support and funding Kickstarter brings to a product before its launch.
Which developers are bringing their titles to GameStick?
According to GameStick's Jan. 29 update, written two days before its Kickstarter funding round closed, "100's of Indies" have signed up for its developer program, along with top-tier Android developers like Madfinger Games (creators of Dead Trigger and Shadowgun) and DotEmu (reponsible for porting Android versions of classic games Raiden, Another World, and R-TYPE).
What changes have been made to GameStick since it started?
First, an optional dock accessory was previewed on the GameStick Kickstarter blog, and offered to people who pledged $20 more than the $89 "GameStick bundle with case" level. It's the size of the GameStick controller itself, and supports wireless charging and "a wide range of peripheral[s]." It will have ethernet, HDMI, and USB ports, as well as a full-sized SD card slot which will support up to 64 GB SDHC cards.
Second, the GameStick controller itself has been redesigned, to be more streamlined and ergonomic than the classic NES style controller originally previewed on Kickstarter. GameStick's Facebook page shows a 3D render of the new controller design, while its blog discusses the redesign.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.