A Game Console on Your Phone?

Companies like Green Throttle Games are about to give the game consoles a run for their money. By turning practically any Android phone into a console, and a nice $6M in funding, the company is poised and ready to go far with this.

There has been quite a bit of news lately on two different companies looking to create gaming consoles based off of Google’s Android OS.

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The first being Ouya, which now holds the record on Kickstarter of raising its goal of $950K within 8 hours, and kept gaining backers at a rate of 1 new backer every 5.59 seconds during the first 24 hours of its campaign, successfully raising a total of nearly $8.6M. 

Ouya

Oh Yeah! The Ouya is pretty small!

 

The second one, Green Throttle Games, went a different route to raise money, and recently received $6M in funding from venture capital. Both companies are providing a game console based on the Android OS, however, Green Throttle is taking the word “mobile” quite literally, as the console is the phone.

Green Throttle

Green Throttle provides the games and controller; you provide the phone.

Over the past several years, there has been quite a bit of focus on online gaming, where you can play games with hundreds, or even thousands, of other people all across the world. Whether it be a game played over Sony’s Playstation Network, Microsoft’s Xbox Live, Battle.net, a smartphone, or over the web, these games provide you a way to “think” that you’re playing games socially.

Green Throttle Games, a company based in Santa Clara, CA, is taking the idea of playing games socially literally as well (notice a pattern here?). Remember back in the day when you played games at an arcade or at home, some of the fun of playing the game was to talk shit with your friends while playing, and to gloat all over them once you kicked their ass? That’s what Green Throttle Games is trying to bring back with its literally mobile gaming system.

Green Throttle team playing games

The Green Throttle team before kicking each other’s asses

Several weeks ago, while actually visiting a different company, I was fortunate enough to have had an opportunity to take a look at what Green Throttle is doing. The demo they showed to me was on an HTC Android phone. Basically, the company produces a gamepad controller that is similar to an Xbox gamepad. It has two analog sticks, a D-pad, 4 buttons, and left and right trigger buttons. The HTC phone has an HDMI-out port that connects directly to the TV, and you just run the Green Throttle software to launch your games. In essence, Green Throttle is turning your cell phone into a game console, so the idea is that you always have your console on you.

Green throttle controller

The Green Throttle controller. Looks like the Nintendo Wii U’s Pro Controller

Currently, the games on it are primarily for demo purposes. The game that I tried out (I don’t remember the name) is reminiscent of games such as Robotron and Geometry Wars, where one analog stick is used to control your character, and the other analog stick is used to control the direction you fire the guns. It looked like they had at least another 3 or 4 games on the console, however, I was not there to visit Green Throttle, and instead, went on to do my other business. For now, I know that the prototypes work fairly well, though they are still polishing it up, and that developer kits will be going on sale soon.

Since I was there primarily to visit CEO Charles Huang’s brother, Kai Huang, who also operates his own game start-up company, Blue Goji, under the same roof, I did not go too much more in-depth with the system.  Charles and Kai Huang’s names may not be familiar to you, but their last company’s name should: Red Octane. (One of the cool things about living in the Silicon Valley is that your personal friends end up becoming rockstars in the tech world) The two brothers are most noted for their success with the Guitar Hero franchise, and this pair of serial entrepreneurs is busily working on their next two projects. It’s interesting how they named their companies with the colors, Red, Blue, and Green (RBG), but Kai swears that it was not on purpose.

Blue Goji

They got some really cool stuff coming soon to a treadmill near you!

In the future, I will report back on what Blue Goji has been working on once they come out of stealth mode. For now,  looking at their website, you can see that they are busily working on fitness based games, and you can sign up on their site to receive more information as it becomes available.

So as mobile games continue to proliferate as mobile devices become more powerful, do you think it is about time to make consoles based off of them? Do you think that mobile technology will ever reach a point that it could give the current game consoles a run for their money? Sound off in the comments below.

 

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Author
mchiu
mchiu is an old-timer, falling in love with video games since the introduction of Pong. Nowadays, his passions in gaming center around social and political issues, game development, promotion of games as an art form, promotion of games as sport, and the business and economics of games.