Mobile games? On my TV? Why?

Most consumers asked this when the Ouya surfaced on Kickstarter two years ago. The idea sounded great on paper, and at only $99, the console was ideally priced for casual gamers who weren’t looking to invest in a console like Xbox, Playstation, or a PC. We all know how that ended (and for those of you who don’t, there’s a reason you probably haven’t heard of or don’t remember the Ouya).

Amazon is testing something similar in its ventures with Amazon Fire TV. For the $99 pricetag, you can use your Prime subscription on your TV and play select Android games with a controller that’s sold separately. While watching and renting Prime videos is great on Fire TV, the games are lackluster and… well, they’re mobile games. Hardly anything on the Android or iOS marketplace is made with a TV and controller in mind–that’s the entire point of mobile gaming.

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Samsung has invested a large chunk of change in Bluestacks, a company who is looking to travel down this incredibly beaten path with their new console called GamePop. Samsung Ventures, Samsung’s investment group, backed the company with a whopping $13 million. Other companies such as Intel and Qualcomm have also invested.

GamePop will allow you to play Android and iOS games on your TV with the use of a dongle that plugs directly into the HDMI port of your TV. While the console itself is free, there’s a monthly subscription of $6.99 to play 500 pre-installed Android games.

The 500 games you receive with your subscription are still a mystery, but $6.99 a year still adds up to $89, and what about the games that are released after launch? What about games on the Android and iOS markets that aren’t free? Suddenly consumers are in the exact same boat they were in when Ouya released (and then proceeded to flop horribly). Fire TV’s game section isn’t doing well, either.

I’m still confused as to why Samsung is backing the push of mobile gaming to the living room. It doesn’t belong there. Tech Crunch gave the first model a pretty harsh review back in March.


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