It seems that gaming peripheral maker Mad Catz is getting ready to release its own Android-powered microconsole. Called Mojo, the little fella will be released around this holiday season for an unspecified price, with unspecified specs, but with at least 16 GB of internal hard drive storage, says a post on CVG.
More interestingly, the Mojo will run stock Android, meaning that you’ll be able to connect it right to the Google Play store and re-download any and all games or apps you’ve already purchased through there without having to sideload APK files or any other technical chicanery.
The controller, known as the CTRLR, will connect to the Mojo (and other Android devices) via Buletooth Smart 4.0, which will reportedly reduce lag between input and on-screen action. Mad Catz’s global PR director Alex Verrey explained the benefit of Bluetooth Smart 4.0 in terms of gaming:
“Bluetooth controllers are generally very laggy with a response rate of up to 100ms. This isn’t ideal for core gamers. Bluetooth Smart drastically reduces the lag, polling at around 7ms. That means you’ll feel much more like you’re using an Xbox 360 controller when you play Mojo.”
In addition, the console will have a USB port so gamers can use a mouse, keyboard, and maybe even other PC controllers. That’s great, because I’ve got this Xbox 360 controller that I use on my computer…
Overall, this is pretty interesting, and is yet another sign that Android-powered computing is definitely becoming a THING. As to whether or not it’ll manage to make a dent in the gaming market, especially when the Ouya—arguably the biggest name in Android gaming—is still in its infancy, that all remains to be seen.
Now, it’s entirely possible that the Mojo, the Ouya, the GameStick, the Shield, and whatever other cheap Android microconsole companies pull out of their butts could represent a revolution in the way people play and buy video games at home. It’s also possible that these consoles are nothing more than the early ‘80s video game crash all over again.
One of the biggest problems that faced video games when they first hit the mainstream market three decades ago was that many manufacturers made different consoles, often with little to no differences between them. Consumers, for their part, didn’t know what to buy, so they didn’t buy anything. Retailers couldn’t stock so many games for so many different systems, and so they decided to stop stocking them at all. The fledgling game industry went straight into the garbage, and it took Nintendo’s relative dominance later that decade to bring it back from the rubbish bin.
Obviously since Android-powered consoles are all capable of playing the same games, it’s not quite the same issue. But considering how quickly these new microconsoles are springing up, and how relatively similar they all are, it stands to reason that consumers may just look at the lot of them and decide that they’re not worth time or money. After all, most people already have Android-powered game consoles: they’re called cell phones, and Candy Crush Saga is just as fun on the bus as it is on your TV (if not more). So will the proliferation of similar microconsoles merely reaffirm the dominance of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo on the living room space? Where does this leave the long-awaited SteamBox?