2013 and 2014 have been significant years for the console gaming market. We saw new console launches from Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony, and now this year we’re starting to get the really big hitters. There’s one thing that all of these systems have in common though: they are all brand new and rely on new software to power sales. What if we took an existing platform and developed a new console off of that, one that already has quite a few games and is super inexpensive as well? That’s the concept behind a number of new Android consoles including the new ZTE Fun Box, and it’s one that seems like it’s going to stay. Instead of having one platform that’s controlled by a single company, Android consoles work more like little PCs that hook up to your TV since they are all powered by the same operating system and perform differently depending on the hardware that’s inside of them. Last year we saw the first big Android console hit store shelves, the OUYA, which was powered by the Nvidia Tegra 3, and it did pretty well for itself. Coming in at $99 this little box packed quite a little value punch, but was ultimately held back by lack of Google Play certification, thus relying on only the app store that OUYA caters to deliver content to it.
ZTE’s Fun Box is backed by Chinese headliner developer The9, who among other things distributes and operates World of Warcraft in China, and has made popular Chinese Massively Multiplayer Online Games such as FireFall and Qiji2. The Fun Box itself is powered by none other than the Nvidia Tegra 4, which is a whole generation ahead of its OUYA competitor, and also carries 2GB of RAM, an HDMI, Micro USB and standard USB port, as well as dual-WiFi antennas and Bluetooth-enabled game controllers. The Fun Box also supports all HD resolutions and will be able to stream videos from USB connected devices as well. The box itself resembles other similar Android consoles like the Mad Catz M.O.J.O., BlueStacks Gamepop and of course the OUYA itself. All are extremely small boxes that hook up to your TV and the Fun Box also features a standard yet extremely functional dual-analog controller reminisce of the PS4 controller. The Fun Box launches in China this month, and it’s unknown whether or not this will make it outside of the Chinese mainland into other countries.