Can Android be a Viable Console Gaming Platform? (Plus a Giveaway…)

Posted Aug 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm in Threads > Games

We all know about Ouya, the company that turned from a no-namer into an Android sensation in less than a week thanks to their $8.6 million run on Kickstarter. This project is a particularly interesting one because it marks the first time ever that a company has attempted to take an Android-based box and turn it into a dedicated console gaming device. However, some others have gotten their toes wet. Vizio, with their $100 Co-Star (that you can purhcase today!) actually has OnLive gaming built-in from the get-go, so you can think of that as a console in a way (UPDATE: If OnLive is still in business!). And then we also have the Playstation-esque category whether it’s thought of as a specific phone or a set of phones that are Playstation-certified.

So what do you think? Does Android have a bright future in the Console gaming market? What is the success contingent on? And even more interestingly, how will the most popular games in this market work? Will they be exclusive to certain hardware/software (Tegra-exclusive? OnLive-exclusive? Ouya-exclusive?)? Or will they be games that we can also play on our tablets, phones, and other devices, so we can add a couple bluetooth controllers and hook up to a TV via HDMI out and make any Android device a make-shift console?

Chime in below with your thoughts!

But wait… there’s more!
Because I really REALLY want your feedback here, I’m going to bribe you a little bit. How? Well, since this is about gaming, I’m giving you a chance to win a free Zeemote JS1 Bluetooth Gaming controller! This contest is open to all, even you international folk!

To enter, it’s simple!

  1. Log in with your account here at AndroidAndMe and comment on this thread with your thoughts on the above topic. Posts by people who are not logged in will not count.
  2. In your comment, leave your twitter handle. Also, follow @Jaxidian on Twitter so I can DM you on Twitter if you win. If your Twitter handle isn’t listed, your entry will not count.
  3. Tweet the following: Neat conversation about Android Gaming Consoles!

(fine print)
a. Regardless of how many comments you make, you will only be entered once.
b. If international shipping is incredibly expensive, you will need to pay for it. (I’ll ship to France but not Antarctica.)
c. If I detect any cheating, then all of your entries will be eliminated from the contest! Please, play fair. :)
d. The contest will be open for an unspecified number of days but not more than 10 days. It may end tomorrow or it may end a week later. Don’t wait to join in the fun!

  • Slith

    I think it’s absolutely viable. I just got my TF700T yesterday and I am blown away by the graphics. Our 17 year old is constantly gaming on his Nexus 7 and loves the small form factor. His school issued iPad sits around gathering dust most of the time.

    I’m actually looking for controller advice in another thread.

    PS: Jaxidian is good on his word. I won an Galaxy Nexus cover from him a few months ago!

    • Slith


  • Esoteric Punk

    I think it can be, but I have misgivings about whether hardcore gamers will ever adopt it as a platform. I think it may be pretty killer as a multiplayer platform though. I’m glad they upped to support for up to 4 controllers.

  • theviper21

    I definitely think it’s viable, especially if they can come in at a low enough price point.

    I think the most important parts that need to be in place for an Android console to do well are:

    1) Needs to have good multiplayer support. I would say most people that have a console play online at one point or another. This goes back a ways, but it would be great to have a common online lobby like The Zone where you can see who has games going for different games at the same time, player count, etc. You could possibly even filter based on game. This would help small games get started with online play. Good local multiplayer is great too (look at how well the Wii has done because of this).

    2) Needs to be moddable. Most current consoles can be modded a little, but require quite a bit of work or can prevent you from playing online. The OUYA looks great as far as this is concerned. This also ties into being able to use your box as a complete entertainment box with video streaming, music streaming, web browsing, and game playing.

    Twitter: @JohnnyWarbucks

    • jaxidian

      I think your first point is a very important one! I think that, as of today, our Android capabilities are still somewhat limited so we’re not going to see amazingly futuristic/complex graphics in 1080p with today’s Android devices (would love to be wrong). However, I think we can have some pretty darned good graphics at 1080p and I think a GREAT way to expand on it would be for game devs to try and learn from the Wii’s success and go from there!

      Did the Wii have the best graphics? No. It wasn’t even HD! However, it had some VERY fun games for groups of people! Now Android may be lacking a fully-functional WiiMote (ironically since you can pair a WiiMote to Android) but what you *could* do is perhaps use various phones and tablets to further augment the gaming experience (like the next version of the Wii is doing). For sports games, choose your plays on your phone and so on.

      I don’t think this is the only way for it to be successful, but I think it’s a very likely way for it to happen!

  • Samar

    Looking at the growth of Android OS and its community, it’s time that somebody builds a gaming rig based on Android. Just heard a rumor today that OnLive is being closed down. If that happens, its sad. The more choice out there, the better for we consumers.

    Anyways, to start with I think for sure there would be exclusive titles..but then with the open-ness of android and *cough*cyanogenmod & chainfire*cough*, eventually the games will be multi hadware/software capable and with Cloud gaming on the boom, there would be wonder sharing/playing/entertainment.

    Handle: @fun4Samar

  • Mix

    I think, especially at the $99 price point, that Android could survive as a gaming platform; however, I do not think it will necessarily strive.

    I think that for party games or quick little game sessions that Android based games will survive I do not see them penetrating the average gamer like current consoles do as most phone based games don’t offer hours upon hours of engaging action or story. Most people won’t spend an afternoon playing Angry Birds like they will Final Fantasy or Call of Duty.

    I think there can be a place for Android but it won’t evolve much past what it is now as developers won’t create an Android phone game and then spend even more money on having that same game ported/polished more for a TV/sit and game session.

    It will have it’s place but I do not think it will replace anything in a “true” gamers living room.

  • Fugu

    I think the future of hand held gaming seems to be swinging hard to phones. The problem for android is how diverse it’s OS and hard ware is. It’s not as clean as simple as on a PS Vita, or DS, or an iOS device. Often games don’t work or don’t work well.

    I love the diverse hardware for android, with its myriad of options, but it’s also it’s greatest weakness.

    I don’t think android will replace the living room game box, but I think between it and iOS it’ll kill off portable game systems eventually

    • Fugu

      forgot my twitter name, though it’s in my profile:


  • lou2cool88

    My Twitter handle is @loramosjr

    I definitely think that Android can be a viable gaming platform. As the specs for hardware increases, I am in awe of the graphics being produced by games in the Play Store these days. I never thought I’d see GTA3 reborn like it was on Android.

    Of course, there are still things that Android has to improve before it becomes a force to be reckoned with in the gaming industry. First, touch-based controls are still not my first choice. Games that make use of the accelerometer and have very few touch inputs required to play are my favorite because on-screen touch controls take away from the experience in my opinion. I’ve loved the creative ways people have connected PS3 controllers to their phones but there’s got to be some middle ground where developers really use the device in creative ways.

    Second, Android needs some sort of social aspect to really bring it all together. I love my achievements and trophies on consoles and I love online games. Some variation of these things should be unified by the android experience like it is on iOS and consoles. Android should aggregate all of my high scores from all of my games that I’ve ever played. And these scores should be tied to my Google Account for easy access on any and all my devices.

  • aranea

    I’m not so sure that companies will make big budget games for android as they would for xbox and ps3 because of openness of android. They would be wary of the possible hacks.

    On the other hand power of an android based device/console will be if you can run it as your server and connect many phones/tablets to have a large multiplayer game with friends while others can watch results and interesting shots etc over a tv. You know something like FPS in your backyard and spectators get real-time updates and cut scenes in the living room.

    Combine this with the goggles google is making and you have yourself a sci-fi style augmented reality game.

  • jaxidian

    Tick.. tock… tick… tock…

  • xCaptainx

    I think android gaming has a strong future ahead of it. Personally I think the freenium model is going to kill it (I’ve already posted about this earlier today) but if Android/iOS gamed developers focus on innovative gaming with rich, absorbing content, users will flock. Epic Citadel on the iPhone made them more money that Gears of War 3 for crying out loud. That must say something :)

  • jaxidian

    Okay, folks. I’m going to stop taking submissions tonight at midnight EST. This would be Wednesday night/Thursday morning. The winner will be chosen tomorrow.


  • GreenH0rn

    Casual gaming will certainly be a thing on the Ouya but I think people are expecting way to much. The graphics will be nowhere near the gaming consoles and some people will be turned of quickly (“why buy the Ouya when I can have I real console for not even twice the price?”).

  • Jim Jones

    Viability requires developers and mind share. Those are big tickets that are often hard to punch.

    Does Android have devleopers? Yes.

    Does it have mind share? Sort of.

    For Android gaming to break out it needs to set itself apart and not just be an “also ran”.

    How often do you hear about a mobile game only to find out that it is currently on iOS and the Android port is in the works. While not as often as it used to be (parallel development is happening a lot more, it still exists. And that steady drumbeat sticks in people’s minds.

    I’m a board gamer. It’s my primary entertainment/hobby and there is a big revolution happening where board games are being ported to mobile devices. Unfortunately, many of those devices are iOS devices with hopes of Android development here and there. iOS board game ports have become such successes that they are starting to drive sales of their analog progenitors. Many of those sales come from people who had no idea that these board games existed but found a top-rated iOS port of the game, fell in love with it, and only stumbled onto the analog game through Internet searching.

    Now, you would think that that success of mobile gaming and the prevalence of the Android platform would mean that these specific developers would be flocking to develop for Android. However, it is just not happening at the moment. And the problem is mind share. With limited resources, these companies want to bet on a sure thing. And to them, rightly or wrongly, that’s the iOS platform with a hopeful port afterwards.

    I think that’s shifting. As more standardized and polished Android devices come out and become the norm, I think you will see a shift in that mind share and when a triple A, must-have, game comes out FIRST on Android, you’ll see a bigger bump.

    I think it will just take time. What do you think?

    • jaxidian

      I think you bring up some very good points! However, to combat that mind share problem, have YOU ever heard of an iOS-based gaming console? I’ve heard of an Android one.


  • CTown

    I’m certain that a powerful Android gaming system could be done while being half the price of the next generation of video game consoles. The problem is piracy, it’s just to easy. Once you got root, you can use Titanium Backup to backup every apk you have to your SD card (in gzip-ed tars) and then one can just extract it using most archive managers. Then it could be installed on any Android phone (by installing it using ADB if the “Unknown Sources” option is not present in the settings).

    I always hated DRM in music (since there is so many different music players out there) but I guess I can see the need for it in a tigtly controlled market such as Google Play. Not that I will buy DRM-ed goods…

  • jaxidian

    All of the posts made before this post of mine will be included in the drawing. I will randomly pick the winner and, once I’ve contacted the person via Twitter, they will be announced here in the thread for everybody else.

    Good luck, all! :-)

    • jaxidian

      P.S. If you want to be included but forgot to include your Twitter handle, please hurry up and reply to your post and include it. I won’t pick the winner for at least an hour. :-)

  • jaxidian

    The winner has been chosen. I’ve not slept for over 24 hours (long day at work) so I’m tossing out a tweet and going to sleep. Hope to announce the winner when I wake up!

    • jaxidian

      Just an update: I’ve contacted the winner and am still awaiting a response. If I hear nothing by Sunday, I’ll choose a new winner.

      • jaxidian

        I’ve still not heard back. I will choose a new winner tomorrow morning unless I hear something before I get up in the morning.


  • shaun76

    I would love to see games come out that use some of the same innovation as games on DS. The best example I have is how Zelda is played. You basically control Link’s motion with your styles – that would translate well with touch controls on a phone.

  • adamsaur

    I think it is honestly a novel idea….

    Emphasis on novel. For it to be a console it is going to need to have much better graphics for the HD screens, and it is going to need to have a controller with actual physical buttons.

    Granted this is all plausible but when you think of how long it took the Google Play Store to even come close to the App Store, its becomes clear it is going to take some time for the developers to adapt their games. And time is something that the consoles don’t have a lot of time for.

    The way I see it is however well recieved Ouya is, is going to be setting the stage for how well other android consoles will do. And if the Ouya only has a dozen or so games at launch its going to flop hard, and ruin the business for any other publishers.

    • Javabri

      After seeing/playing with nvidia’s Shield handheld gaming system, I am now convinced that Android can be a powerful gaming platform.

      If nvidia can get game developers to write games for it, it can be a great solution.

      I think the Shield addresses both your conceptual ideas…HD graphics with physical buttons like the xbox controller. Now, it is more of a handheld system than a console, but it supports both HDMI out to a TV and Miracast to the TV so you can play the game and view it on the Big Screen just like a console.

      The problem with Android is that games are written for the touch environment and not for the controller environment.

      I am curious to see how well Shield does in the market. I think it has potential but will gamers adopt it? Not sure at the current price point but maybe.

  • rewagner

    would love to give it a try with my TF201 and some of my games