Mini game consoles in suicide: they will always belong to geek circles

today, I want to talk about what mini game console has experienced. Last year I had a job at OUYA for a period of time.

as early as the beginning of 2013, I said mini game console era has come. Always pursue OUYA technology curtilage, GamePop, GameStick, Mojo, along with a variety of low-cost open-source Android consoles exactly means what. Perhaps they represent some we do not yet know the new things, and to ensure that the app store in the free economy and game developers in the field of TV. Is sad, the past two years, mini game console has been forgotten by the people. What has happened in these two years?

first, because to lead the trend of machine too not to force, performance did not pass. The mini game console companies try to quickly occupy the market, and their main technical leader is a software engineer rather than a hardware engineer. In a software the dominant world this is a typical model: you the most fundamental and most original products, observe the market demand, and then quickly update launch a higher-end version.

technology, in areas such as mobile phones and computers, this pattern is common law. There is no lack of among them “swan”, (those mature products), but more is used to account for “pit” and continuously improve products. But gaming is clearly not so tolerant. The idea of the game world is: hardware decided the product the prospects for the future generations, and the so-called “future” is likely to be a complete failure.


“tease” is one of the reasonable way to solve the problem. Oculus Rift with Kickstarter at first route is also very similar, but the difference is that how they cleverly keep the product in the state of “coming soon”, instead of immediately. It’s a good capture the appetite of consumers. Consumers can’t wait to buy, let a person look forward to its future changes, even at high prices to sell to Facebook remains so. Although I personally is a VR skeptics, I still think Oculus means of attracting customers fairly, and mini game console is in stark contrast. Mini game console developers always sell products to enter the market and then study whether they have the opportunity, rather than the patient to create business opportunities. With hindsight, this step wrong too much, so that after all efforts to become a phantom.

no one expected machines to $399 and $99 to compete. Never. Mini game console in the way is always a poor impression to the person, rather than a meticulously promising products stand up to scrutiny. The product cost cheap, gives the impression of cheap, and they give the user experience more let a person feel cheap. Sadly they connect Wifi, controller induction that the most basic function is a technical problem. So for many commentators, the word “mini game console” is equivalent to “junk”, bad. Business may also have comments mini game console is worth looking forward to the new product “, but it seems to consumers, mini game console soon became a joke, and 3 do, CDi, Phantom and Gizmondo those products, “” blind before buying. Mini game consoles like to wash white reputation is the delusion.

what’s more developers to quickly lose confidence in this line of products. At first, the micro consoles Android operating system and its engine compatibility is the key breakthrough of attention, it means that the mini game console can connect multiple ports and openness as a selling point. This is the Xbox 360. However there is a difficult problem. Many mini games host USES prototypes 3 processor at the time, and this leads to many problems, such as processor and coloring technology is not compatible. More important, than the openness, production team focused on: money.

when OUYA and at the beginning of the login GameStick Kickstarter, their background is the premise of independent game production team are now facing the danger of the television. Independent games on Steam and mobility has done very well, but gradually by the Kinet and television integration platform, such as project to the edge. Sony’s PS3 platform is available only for a few people, and Nintendo is closed completely. The business model of the three companies tend to hit the independent production team, the development of expensive equipment, customized hardware, the high cost of TRC execution, unfriendly revenue sharing, etc.), that independent development team no place in the App Store.


mini game show host is at this time. But things have a turn. Sony company will only choose the Journey before such as few project funding, but then Sony much positive in terms of independent game production. Sony company began to signed a contract with independent game production team, and by this plan launched PS4, at the same time reflect the shortage of the company on the policy and technical constraints. Games, such as the Unity engine works so well, so that the port is no longer a major problem. Sony also got the favour of the game world. Microsoft underestimate the importance of this point at first, but soon have also changed. Nintendo, too.

for independent producers, the result couldn’t be better. It is estimated that this trend will continue until the end of 2015. But it also kills the mini game consoles the most basic one of the most important selling point. They had hoped to build a stronghold for the independent production team cooperation to attract them, but when suddenly the producer has a stronghold, things become “(mini game consoles) you can do for me (team)? I and others to make the deal.” So far, most of the content of the mini game consoles are class B or C grade, and A level of this game is, and even spit on.

there is another way out at that time, perhaps only a television or streaming media player can provide missing link. However, this did not succeed. The Apple doesn’t seem to be going to do any improvement based on existing Apple TV, Roku is focusing on making the best video box. Amazon’s Fire TV set in the game world and starts to make controller, however these are sold separately. Anyhow, streaming media market seems to prefer to $39 can watch YouTube and Netflix function HDMI TV stick, rather than a $150 mini game system. Smart TV may lead the new trend, but for now, it still stays in the shallow layers.

total and, mini game console of heavyweight rivals poached key talent by it, out of the market. For it is only the reputation and sweeps the floor obviously interest off the market. Many early into market makers have been cold and cheerless were eliminated after a dismal sales. Is not general competitive game hardware in this field.

but after the above all sorts of things, I still think mini game console there is hope. Indeed, it has scarred, already vicissitudes. Need to rethink, it is inevitable. But OUYA survived. It’s recent success in the 1000 game ranking, also on Playcast platform released game flow package, mainly recommend Lego Lord of the Rings and the GRID of the game. These games does have some old, but is not yet out of fashion or lose their value. They are still in the effort. I think this little game box can still do something.


I have to say the hacker box has a continuous appeal. In various ways, a leisure game console market may not exist, and the media player, smart TV these are too far from us. But is it set up for these cool equipment market? I believe there is. The analogy may sound strange, but we forget, those who create a mini game console on Kickstarter, their motivation and support people Rusberry Pi is very similar. They don’t have to be a professional platform, they just want a place to quietly to develop games, to try. In and miniature games host the same period, Rasberry Pi undertook this faith to nearly 4 million machines, and the customers are used to all kinds of strange purposes – these consumers are curious about what the machine can be used to do.

I think the mini game consoles as “my first development machine” the tone of the product, at the same time combines the family system platform shun niche and the contents of the literature and art, it still has a market. I can see it has education purposes, it can teach game production techniques, and provide social platform for developers. Does that mean that I think mini game main chance to counter attack, beat high-end host? Unfortunately, they are hard to do that. There are so time I really think so, but perhaps more out of my own some silly force behavior of game industry. But the mini game consoles, what it is, is what.

although I was one of the most loyal supporters of mini game console, but the truth is, that have the potential to make mini game consoles survive conditions has been turned into a phantom. Maybe these conditions will also change, to change, but maybe not. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Source: TC