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Hey Game Industry: We don’t want an Android game console

by Zaid Kriel (Zaid)  Posted Wednesday, January 07, 2015 1:25:00 PM


Premium PC maker Razer have revealed their latest bit of tech, the Forge TV, at CES 2015. It’s an Android-powered micro-console that no one’s going to buy. Probably.

Forged for gaming

Razer has been making gaming goodies for years and have a well-earned reputation for putting out top quality stuff. The Forge TV is sure to follow suit. The device is a diminutive, pocket-sized square running Android 5.0 and powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805 chip, an Adreno 420 GPU, 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. It can connect to its various accessories and display devices Bluetooth, WiFi, ethernet, USB 3.0 and HDMI.

According to Razer, the Forge TV will basically let you play Android games on your TV, while also allowing you to stream your PC games to your TV. There’s more, using Google Cast users can send websites, movies, shows and photos from Android or iOS mobile devices to their televisions.

“Razer Forge TV is a device that is able to bring together the most popular elements of an entertainment center,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “It powers popular music and movie apps and plays Android TV games that an entire family can enjoy. For the hardcore gaming audience, it will bring PC gaming to the couch. Razer Forge TV is what we see as the future of consoles.”

The cost? $99.99 (R1175) for the FOrge TV on its own and $149.99 (R1760) if you want the Xbox 360-looking Serval controller bundled in. For a game console, that’s a pretty decent price. But as the old saying goes: You get what you pay for.

You get what you pay for

I’m sure the Forge TV is amazing, but I can’t help but wonder why Razer would want to make this thing, because it’s been tried before and while the industry when gaga over it - me included - the game buying community's response was very ho-hum.

An Android video game console is not a new thing, it’s been tried many times before and failed every time. And it’s not like those earlier attempts were years ago and the concept just wasn't ready for prime time. No, the OUYA Android video game console was attempted as little as two years ago. It’s since been followed up with the Gamestick, the Madcatz MOJO, Amazon’s Fire TV and Google’s own Nexus Player. So far, no one is interested.

Which shouldn't surprise anyone. As great as Android is as a mobile operating system, something you can’t dispute about it is that for gaming it's rather piss poor. Which isn’t to say there aren't good games on Android, currently I'm quite enamoured with Trials Frontier, but no one is buying an HTC One so they can play Modern Combat 5: Blackout. Getting to play that game, or any other game is simply a bonus.

The fact is Google Play is a substandard gaming ecosystem, that’s only really good for some of it’s free-to-play stuff and it’s not helped that that Android games are, logically, purpose-built for tablets and phones anyway. Putting them on 40-inch LED television simply doesn't work.

If I can already play all these games on my Xperia Z3, which is perfectly suited to them, then why am I going to spend an additional R1175 for a frustrating experience on my TV. Simply put, I'm not. And I don’t think anyone else is going to either.

What do you think, is Forge TV doomed to failure?

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd

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