Cross-platform specialist Bluestacks has already thrown its hat into the Android mini-console ring with GamePop, currently in the pre-order stage. Today the company announced a second option, the GamePop Mini, which will use the same subscription model as the "full-sized" console but come with free hardware, along with a 12-month contract. Specifications for the GamePop Mini have not been released, but it will be less powerful and have cosmetic variations from the standard model. Pre-orders for the GamePop Mini will begin on Monday, July 1st.

gamepop mini

Here's how it works: you sign up for a 12-month contract with Bluestacks' GamePop service at $6.99 per month. Bluestacks will send you a GamePop Mini for free, and you can play their selection of games on your TV as much as you like, in a Netflix-style "all you can eat" model. If you cancel your contract, you return the (working) console to Bluestacks, plus a restocking fee. Those who buy the standard $129 GamePop (or pre-order it to get the full-sized hardware for free) will own their hardware outright.

From the GamePop FAQ page:

What is the difference between the GamePop Mini and the GamePop?

The GamePop will be more powerful than the Mini, but the Mini will be able to handle all of your favorite apps and games plenty well. There may also be more peripherals available for the GamePop.

What happens if I get the GamePop Mini for free and later I want to cancel my subscription?

If you cancel your subscription after 12mo there is no fee and you keep the console. Canceling within 12mo simply requires you to return the Mini to us in working order and pay a small $25 restocking fee.

Currently Bluestacks has games from noted developers HalfBrick, Glu, and Intellijoy, among others. (Vector Unit's Shine Runner was featured in the initial video, but there's no mention of it below - perhaps the GamePop Mini can't handle the more advanced 3D graphics.) Bluestacks will also be bringing at least some iOS developers into the GamePop fold via Looking Glass, a virtualization layer that allows iOS apps and games to run on the GamePop hardware. At the moment, it's not clear if Looking Glass will be enabled on GamePop Mini.

Bluestacks is aiming for a winter 2013 release for both the GamePop and the GamePop Mini. The company has yet to reveal a controller design or a full list of participating developers.

Source: Gamepop.tv 

Palo Alto, CA June 28, 2013 – Mobile company BlueStacks has announced a second vehicle to deliver its new GamePop mobile gaming service, the GamePop Mini. Like the recently announced $129 GamePop, the new device will also run Jelly Bean 4.2, connect to TV via a supplied HDMI cable and include a curated group of 500 popular mobile game partners. Announced partners include HalfBrick (Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride), Glu (Blood Brothers), #1 Kids app developer Intellijoy and more. BlueStacks says the 6.99/month subscription will include access to over $200 in paid games for free.

“We have always planned on having a free console option,” said BlueStacks CEO, Rosen Sharma. “The biggest value of the GamePop service is its content – not the box. Hardware costs have come down so fast that we’re able to undercut the rest of the market. With the free promotion we’ve been doing in June we’re already seeing a ton of adoption. That volume then attracts more developers and therefore more and better content. It’s building momentum.”

In addition to announcing a lineup of several popular Google Top Developers, BlueStacks also came out with its “Looking Glass” technology earlier this month. Looking Glass will allow iOS-only developers to easily launch on GamePop. Titles such as iOS’s first major franchise the Fieldrunners series will be able to come to TVs this way.

“We want to make things as easy as possible for app developers to come on board,” said Ben Armstrong of the company’s developer relations team. “There is a virtuous circle between great content and volume that we’re having a lot of early success jumpstarting that so far. The launch titles a service comes with are critical.” Pre-orders went on sale May 9 for GamePop at Gamepop.tv and while not releasing specific numbers, the company reports they are stronger than expected. The free promotion for the GamePop console will end June 30, when it will go back to its regular price of $129. The GamePop Mini will be available for pre-order July 1. It is slated to ship this winter.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Sven Joy

    A console with even less power? WHY?

    • http://www.twitter.com/iwinrar iWinRar

      Why not?

  • ChainsawCharlie

    Sorry what? Why would I ever want something like this?

    • imtoomuch

      If you have to ask...

      I guess you're not the target audience.

      Anyway, I'm all for cheap Android consoles. If they sell well enough, they will eventually evolve into something very worthwhile.

  • shadowdude777

    > Those who buy the standard $129 GamePop (or pre-order it to get the full-sized hardware for free) will own their hardware outright.

    I'm confused about that part in parentheses. Does that mean I literally get it for free with no contract or obligation to pay them anything else? Because the pre-order does ask for my credit card. Seems a bit shady if I really do "own the hardware" for free...

    • ThaSik1

      If you preorder before by Sunday then they give you the console for free but charge you the annual $84 for a 12 month subscription + $10 shipping. Or at least that's how I interpreted it on their site. Really wonder if I can sideload apps on this thing because based on how it seems, it's pretty much useless once the subscription runs out :/

      • shadowdude777

        That's also how I interpreted it by looking at their site, but the article is worded awkwardly and implies that you get the hardware free AND don't have to agree to a subscription or contract.

        • ThaSik1

          True..it is pretty vague/subjective lol

    • phissith

      To answer your Q, you hare under contract for 12 months at $7 a month. If you cancel early there is $25 restocking fee which I might do if I don't like it! Not a bad deal. The more cheapskate way is to actually own Samsung TV and uses its apps to play games you have already owned from Google Play store or wait until Google make its own Console.

  • phissith

    Just pre-orde on, the regular GAMEPOP, considered myself luck cause I didn't even know about till today and the promotion ends tomorrow!!