A new Kickstarter is on the way up, for a device called the Game Stick. Essentially the idea is to have a console tucked inside your controller that you can take with you and plug into your TV, wherever you go, and play Android games.
So should you drop $80 on one? Let’s take a look.
According to our own rules about Kickstarter, this one is actually a go: The team is experienced and knows what they’re doing; the ambitions, while high, are achievable and reasonable; the delivery timeframe is logical and makes sense.
Still, it does raise a few questions, and there are a few drawbacks in the hardware.
The main question is… why should you get a Game Stick instead of the other “Android on a stick” products that have raised the necessary cash on Kickstarter? Or, for that matter, an Ouya, which a lot of people have already bought and offers the exact same functionality? All of these products have Bluetooth, and the Game Stick is designed to pair with Bluetooth controllers. It’s not clear what the Game Stick offers beyond that functionality.
Just to rub it in, Canonical has recently announced that they’ve developed a portable version of Ubuntu for high-end phones, and Steam for Linux has left closed beta. Ubuntu is already on a stick, so cheap, portable PC gaming is already well on the way.
Finally, there’s the hardware problem: All of these sticks, the Game Stick included, will need a USB power source to function if the TV they’re plugged into doesn’t use a standard called MHL. So it’s a lot less portable than you might think.
In other words, if you haven’t bought a Ouya, or you like the form factor, the Game Stick is a good deal. But beyond that, if you just want a stick to play Android games on your TV, there are plenty already available that fit the bill.