All eyes seem to be on Ouya when it comes to Android-based microconsoles, but there are other options in the pipeline.
One of them is the GamePop
, from startup BlueStacks. The main differentiating factor between GamePop and its microconsole competitors is that GamePop's business model involves giving the console away for free, and charging a monthly subscription.
In order to make that proposal attractive to customers, the console needs a large library of games. Today, GamePop announced partnerships with major mobile game developer TinyCo (Tiny Village
), mobile publisher Animoca (Pretty Pet Salon
) and Creative Mobile (Drag Racing
Other developers on board with GamePop include Vector Unit (Riptide GP
), Halfbrick (Jetpack Joyride
) and Glu (Heroes of Destiny
BlueStacks expects to have a total of 500 games available when GamePop launches this winter. The console is Android-based, but can also play games that were made for iOS, via BlueStacks' virtualization software.
The company calls its business model a "top-down approach to the app ecosystem," in that it's trying to make its library as big and appealing as possible, in order to attract subscribers. Major investors see promise in BlueStacks' tech and the model -- the company has obtained $15 million from firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Intel, Qualcomm and others.
GamePop will be available in two models: a free "mini" model that requires a $6.99 monthly subscription, and a more powerful $129 model ($6.99 subscription also required) that comes with a controller. (GamePop games can be played with a smartphone, hence the optional controller.) The console is available for pre-order at GamePop.tv