Guys, stop talking about the Ouya for a second. Bluestacks has a different console it would like you to pay attention to: GamePop. The company that has previously worked on interoperability between Android software and other platforms, is now launching a console of its own. The hardware—including a console and physical controller—will be entirely free for people who pre-order. The catch? You have to pay for a subscription to play games.
The entire package will come with one console and one physical controller, though you'll also be able to use your smartphone as a controller as well. If you pre-order by in May (which you can do starting now) the service will cost $6.99 per month and the hardware will be free. However, like Amazon Prime, you'll have to pay up front for a year. That still leaves the total price at $84 for the first year, which is les than the cost of an Ouya by itself. However, once you stop paying, naturally your games go away.
The comparisons to Netflix and Spotify are obvious, though how this will work with a game console remains to be seen. In the movie industry, Netflix requires a large number of users to get enough cash to buy more content. In the mobile gaming field, however, IP is not so entrenched as to require huge investments. In fact, Bluestacks is already partnering with Glu Mobile, Halfbrick, and other prominent game developers. Not all of them, mind you, but enough to catch some people's attention. There are still a number of big name mobile developers left to woo (no platform is complete without Angry Birds, for example), but the field is much less capital intensive than movie and music businesses.
The other big distinguishing factor here is that Bluestacks claims the console will not need any special development for the platform, unlike Ouya. Due to the nature of Bluestacks' compatibility software, titles will already run on the TV natively. This sounds like good news, however the question has to be raised, how good will the experience be? Not many games are aready written to use your smartphone as a controller for a separate display, so that alone would require new code for most titles. This is an instance where we'll have to wait and see how the final device works once we have it.
So, when will that be? Bluestacks is aiming for a winter (read: probably holiday) release. The console and controller are valued at $100, so if you don't pre-order by May, you can probably expect to pay about that much. So far, we only know that the free hardware will be available for early backers, but it's unclear what the price will be afterwards. If you want to get in on it, you can get your pre-order on here.
BlueStacks Announces GamePop, Brings Famous Mobile Games to TV
Mobile gaming comes to the living room via new product, service; several top developers on board
Palo Alto, CA May 9, 2013 – Mobile company BlueStacks today announced a new gaming console and subscription service called GamePop. The system includes a custom console and gaming controller free as part of the $6.99 per month service for May pre-orders only. This marks the first time a gaming console has been offered free with a subscription. The company recently passed 10 million users of its App Player software, which allows mobile games to be played on Mac or PC.
BlueStacks has also announced content deals today with several top game developers for the new platform, including Glu Mobile, Halfbrick, and OutFit7 - makers of the popular Talking Tom series.
"BlueStacks has credibility in the microconsole space that others just don't have," said Shainiel Deo, CEO of Halfbrick. "We've been a featured partner in App Player since early on and they've delivered on every promise in terms of distribution. GamePop is a great incremental channel for us."
Other Google app-makers with the coveted “Top Developer” badge coming on the platform include the #1 kids app-maker Intellijoy, as well as Deemedya, Chinese wunderkind Droidhen and many more yet to be announced. “Mobile gaming has been taking off the past few years. BlueStacks' vision is to bring that same experience to bigger screens,” said BlueStacks CEO, Rosen Sharma. The all-you-can-eat pricing model for GamePop lets users enjoy a much broader range of games, just as you can watch more movies with Netflix versus the pay-as-you-go model Blockbuster employed."
“Mobile gamers continue to show higher levels of engagement and longer play sessions on larger form factors,” said Glu CEO, Niccolo de Masi. “BlueStacks and GamePop offer developers like Glu an opportunity to potentially reach a new audience of gamers with great 3D, high-production value content. We see significant potential in BlueStacks’ approach to the console gaming market.” Developers keep all of the in-app purchases that run through their apps with GamePop - BlueStacks does not take any share. Additionally, 50% of GamePop subscription revenue will be shared back with developers, apportioned by usage.
BlueStacks plans to market GamePop subscriptions directly from GamePop.tv, which went live today. Their main site, BlueStacks.com the company announced for the first time today clocks 1.6 million unique visitors every month and growing. GamePop will also be featured on BlueStacks’ Facebook page, where they maintain a community of 1.2 million fans.