Recently, it was leaked that Google is developing an Android game console like the OUYA or GameStick. That's great news! I think the OUYA and similar Android game consoles like the Mojo, GameStick, GamePop and Shield are all revolutionary. I'm sure you're probably rolling your eyes right about now wondering what the hell kind of narcotics I have in my system, right?
It's a valid point, and here's why.
There's one blatant reason why I think they're revolutionary, and at this point it has nothing to do with the games. Instead, it's all about the Benjamin's. Most of those consoles, with exception to the Shield are relatively inexpensive. Compared to modern game consoles, they're about half the price. When you take into account the fact that the average AAA game title is $60, and a lot of games are severely lacking these days in quality content, those Android consoles don't look half bad.
At the end of the day, I would much rather invest in a title that's worth the money. It's not a secret that a lot of AAA titles will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth and a gaping hole in your wallet. In fact, I break out in hives every time I spend $60-$70 on a game and then end up hating it.
Android consoles take that concept of 'bang for your buck' and completely jumble it around. The games are cheaper, readily available to download and if you don't like a purchase it hurts much less. Or, in my case it spares the hives and that's always a positive.
That being said, Android game consoles are in their infancy and as such they've brought to light one pretty big issue. The problem has to do with quality content and the lack thereof. I'm not saying that the aforementioned consoles like the OUYA, Mojo or GameStick deliver poor content. Instead, I'm just merely saying that they fit a niche market, at least right now. OUYA, for example, is tailored for indie games and those who love to play them.
How do They Make Sure the Platform Doesn't Suck?
Google already has all the features in place thanks to the new Play Games service. The hardware will play a role sure, but I'm not particularly worried about Google delivering in that department. What I'm worried about, is the content. To really succeed, I believe that these consoles will need to offer the 'best of both worlds' in terms of content. They need both indie titles and AAA content side-by-side, and that's exactly where Google comes in.
If Google's purported Android console can bridge that gap between AAA and indie content they will surely have a winner on their hands. Now keep in mind, when I say AAA content in regards to these budget consoles I'm using the term loosely. Obviously, the hardware calls for certain limitations. Android game consoles will probably never compete with next-gen consoles on level ground, at least not for some time. That being said, a few bigger budget titles from reputable game developers would change the market completely.
Imagine if Bioware or Bethesda created a mini RPG for Google's Android console. Better yet, think of the next up and coming shooter from Bungie landing on it.
That's Crazy Dude, There's No Way
Not in a million years would I expect those game companies to produce exclusive content for an Android game console, but that's the point. Google needs to nail down a couple of big developers in order to offer unique content. If that happened, people would flock to the platform in droves. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating here, but Google would definitely be guaranteed a success.
Just think of what it would be like to have an open console with all the freedom afforded by Android and Google's services, then combine that with the show stopping power offered by AAA quality titles. If anyone can pull something like that off, it's Google.
At this point in time I doubt it will never happen. Android is open source and developers are scared of that fact, especially game developers. Piracy is too timely an issue for a lot of the big names to even consider offering an exclusive AAA title on an Android game console.
The hardware alone has never stopped anyone before, so that argument is moot. If Google can find a way to bring big name developers on board, then their Android game console would be everything gamers have ever dreamed of and then some. Think of it like this, it would be open for modding and customization, portable and affordable, and most of all it would include desirable content.
Here's hoping that someone at Google actually reads this thing and takes it all into consideration.