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  • OUYA Has Competition: The GameStick

    Hey guys, it looks like the OUYA has competition now with a "console on a USB stick"! The console is called the GameStick and has already reached double it's goal of $100,000 USD to become a successful project on the Kickstarter website.

    The GameStick is one of many of the latest new Android-based gaming consoles to come out of the woodwork since the OUYA made it big some months ago. nVidia is also reported to be making it's own system called the Shield along with Valve's own backed brand PC that is not Android based.

    As the trend grows it'll be interesting to see how the "indie console" race develops and if there will be an ultimate "winner" or if the rise of such Kickstarter projects will saturate the market for these devices.

    Quote from Gamasutra:
    The GameStick, due for commercial release in April this year, slots directly into your TV's HDMI slot, and is controlled via a supplied Bluetooth controller. It contains 1GB of DDR3 memory and 8GB of Flash memory, with WiFi capabilities built in, and the latest build of Android, Jelly Bean.

    The console can also be converted into a portable device, as the stick slots inside the Bluetooth controller and can then be used to link up to specific portable screens.

    It's not necessary to use the supplied Bluetooth controller, however -- any Bluetooth controller that supports the Human Interface Device Profile (HID) will work with the GameStick, including the Greenthrottle Games controller.

    A Kickstarter has been launched for the device with a $100,000 pledge target, and the console is currently in a closed beta phase of development, with a working prototype already built.

    As of this news posting the campaign on Kickstarter to pre-order and support the GameStick has 23 days left to go. If you are interested in supporting this project it is a good time to check it out. This could be the starts of a whole new generation of gaming consoles and a whole new industry for us indie game developers to try their hands at making a game and self-publishing for a true game console experience.

    GameStick Kickstarter Pitch Video

    Developer Interview talking about GameStick

    You can read more information at www.gamasutra.com or visit the Kickstarter page at

    News Sources: Gamasutra, Kickstarter
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. SilverWarior's Avatar
      SilverWarior -
      While many of you think that having more game consols would be better I personally disagree. Why?
      1. Rach game console or platform has some specific fetures or properties (screen resolution, processing capabilities, memory limits, the way how certaain things work etc.) that you need to take into account when designing your game. This in the end means that you will need to spend more time planning so that in the end your game would be compatible with all of theese consoles.
      2. If you wan't to port your game to any console than you need to atleast test it on that console. This means that you will need to own each major version of theese consoles to do testing and debbuging of your games.
      3. More consoles also means bigger division of posible games in smaler groups (not everyone would own all of theese) meaning that each of theese groups would be smaller whic will force us to plan to make our games to support all of theese consoles at the same time.
      If you ask me I would rather see that there is only one open console type where anyboddy can make game for it.
      I'm afraid that this trend will at the end hurt us Indie developers more than it will help us.
    1. Cybermonkey's Avatar
      Cybermonkey -
      I don't get this "hype" about Android based consoles. There are already those TV sticks. I can plug them to my TV and have access to Google's PlayStore. So no need for an extra app store.
    1. WILL's Avatar
      WILL -
      One of the realities of Android development is that you'll have to account for many multiples of screen sizes. Each tablet is different as well as each phone. Thankfully the TV is pretty standard 1080p or 720p for HDMI video.

      The one advantage I see to those that "do it right" is that you have an actual console experience with a nice gamepad you can use and is standard to all titles add to that a dedicated gaming network and so on. It's more about a gaming environment and community rather than what software and hardware have been smashed together to make up a rig for your game to play on.

      I'm less sure of this one than I am of OUYA, but we'll see. Behind the TV WiFi has not impressed me much so far.

      I'm afraid that this trend will at the end hurt us Indie developers more than it will help us.
      It may, but we'd have to see how it turns out. It may just be a crap-shoot until all the least accepted consoles have dropped out and only a few are left in the races.
    1. phibermon's Avatar
      phibermon -
      Quote Originally Posted by WILL View Post
      It may, but we'd have to see how it turns out. It may just be a crap-shoot until all the least accepted consoles have dropped out and only a few are left in the races.
      And when has that ever happened? *puts down lynx handheld, picks up jaguar64 controller* every console is a safe bet for developers, *turns off jaguar 64, fires up an Amiga 32CD* But even if that wasn't the case, given the time it takes to develop a game *fires up shenmue on a Dreamcast* it probably comes down to gambling on where your userbase will be in a few years *puts feet up on an itanium server* given what the competition in the market looks like *stirs tea with a ps move*
    1. WILL's Avatar
      WILL -
      I wouldn't say that every console is a safe bet so much. Where is the GP2X now? I've heard very little if anything about it in the last year. If no one is buying the console then they are definitely not buying your game unless you are selling the game on another console that people are buying.

      I would say that since there are so many Android-based consoles coming out and almost hundreds of other devices (tablets and phones) that developing a game that runs on Android is a safe enough bet. From there adjusting and adding each individual system's own UI and game controls is much smaller than trying to support several different OSes.

      These new indie-themed consoles are much easier to hop to-and-from than the big guys whom you have to do quite a bit to cater to. All have different CPUs, GPUs and executable standards. It's kind of ridiculous now that you see systems like the OUYA and the GameStick that hare a more common interface. Doesn't aid towards exclusivity, but who says being user friendly and business savvy it meant to go completely hand in hand?
    1. Rodrigo Robles's Avatar
      Rodrigo Robles -
      I was a (very)young developer in late 80's, and I remember I was very happy with the several (and incompatible) options of personal computers (Apple 2, MSX, TRS-Color, ZX Spectrum, Commodore amiga, just to name a few). In that time people developed first mono-platform games. If the game was sucessfull, then it was ported (usually a bad port...). In that time I didn't make many multiplatform games, usually focused in some specific platform (and I didn't make any sell-able games so did'nt have financial support to make ports).
      Anyway was pretty fun to know the several platforms and its own features. I feel sad when the boring IBM-PC became the winner of the battle. IBM-PC won because of it's open hardware and versatility, but it have no charm.
      Great games usually are made for one platform (except for rich producers making a new version of some sucessfull game franchise), and then ported if it had commercial success. (Recent example: minecraft (the ports sucks). Old examples: Shadow of the Beast, Altered Beast, Karateka, Double Dragon).
      Today we have plenty of multiplatform tools that make the work too easier than before. But I will make games that run in first in the major platforms, and only if it sales, I will port to another platforms.
    1. robert83's Avatar
      robert83 -
      Never mind me....

    1. WILL's Avatar
      WILL -
      Well I think the key to a nice port of any game is a well constructed codebase. Of course having a compiler or set of compilers that share a common syntax goes a long way.