Microconsole

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The OUYA is an inexpensive microconsole based on the Android-OS OUYA-Console-set-h.jpg
The OUYA is an inexpensive microconsole based on the Android-OS
Amazon Fire TV Amazon Fire TV with remote.JPG
Amazon Fire TV
PlayStation TV PlayStation-TV-FL.jpg
PlayStation TV

A microconsole is a type of video game console. Many of the devices that the term has been used to describe are low-cost Android-based devices that are designed to connect to televisions and play video games downloaded from an application store, such as Google Play.

A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play.

Android (operating system) Free and open-source operating system for mobile devices, developed by Google

Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google. It is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open source software, and is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. In addition, Google has developed Android TV for televisions, Android Auto for cars, and Wear OS for wrist watches, each with a specialized user interface. Variants of Android are also used on game consoles, digital cameras, PCs and other electronics.

Google Play Digital distribution service by Google

Google Play is a digital distribution service operated and developed by Google LLC. It serves as the official app store for the Android operating system, allowing users to browse and download applications developed with the Android software development kit (SDK) and published through Google. Google Play also serves as a digital media store, offering music, books, movies, and television programs. It previously offered Google hardware devices for purchase until the introduction of a separate online hardware retailer, Google Store, on March 11, 2015, and it also offered news publications and magazines before the revamp of Google News in May 15, 2018.

Contents

Origins

In late 2010, cloud gaming startup OnLive released MicroConsole, a television adapter and wireless controller that connects the company's computer game streaming service to televisions. [1] VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi described the device as representing the company founder's "vision to turn the video game industry upside down" as an inexpensive console providing "high-end games on low-end hardware" that could eliminate the cycle of regular consumer hardware upgrades. [2] [3] The MicroConsole TV adapter was produced at a loss. [3] OnLive's MicroConsole made the company an early leader in the nascent microconsole field. [4]

Cloud gaming, sometimes called gaming on demand, is a type of online gaming that aims to provide smooth and direct playability of to end users of games across various devices. This could include a host gaming server capable of executing a gaming engine and streaming the gaming data to the client device. Currently there are two main types of cloud gaming: cloud gaming based on video streaming and cloud gaming based on file streaming. Some also categorize it into four models: video-based cloud gaming, instruction-based cloud gaming, file-based cloud gaming, and component-based cloud gaming.

OnLive Company offering cloud gaming platform and a cloud desktop system

OnLive was a Mountain View, California-based provider of cloud virtualization technologies. OnLive's flagship product was its cloud gaming service, which allowed subscribers to rent or demo computer games without installing them on their device. Games were delivered to OnLive's client software as streaming video rendered by the service's servers, rather than rendered locally by the device. This setup allowed the games to run on computers and devices that would normally be unable to run them due to insufficient hardware, and also enabled other features, such as the ability for players to record gameplay and to spectate. The service was available through clients for personal computers and mobile devices, as well as through smart TVs and a dedicated video game console-styled device known as the OnLive Game System. OnLive also expanded into the cloud desktop market with a sister product, OnLive Desktop—a subscription service offering a cloud-based instance of Windows Server 2008 R2 accessible via tablets.

Streaming media Continuous multimedia operated and presented to users by a provider

Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a provider. The verb "to stream" refers to the process of delivering or obtaining media in this manner; the term refers to the delivery method of the medium, rather than the medium itself, and is an alternative to file downloading, a process in which the end-user obtains the entire file for the content before watching or listening to it.

Amidst a "new war for TV" in the consumer electronics industry, [5] an inexpensive and simple Android-based video game console designed for televisions called Ouya was announced for crowdfunding in July 2012. The Ouya was an overnight success and raised $8.5 million. [6] [7] Significant interest in low-cost Android console gaming followed Ouya's success, [8] [9] [10] spurred by the mobile games industry growth. [4] [11] The industry began to refer to the resulting consoles as alternative consoles, or microconsoles. [12]

Consumer electronics Electronic products for everyday use

Consumer electronics or home electronics are electronic equipments intended for everyday use, typically in private homes. Consumer electronics include devices used for entertainment, communications, and home-office activities. In British English, they are often called brown goods by producers and sellers, to distinguish them from "white goods" which are meant for housekeeping tasks, such as washing machines and refrigerators, although nowadays, these would be considered brown goods, some of these being connected to the Internet. In the 2010s, this distinction is not always present in large big box consumer electronics stores, such as Best Buy, which sell both entertainment, communication, and home office devices and kitchen appliances such as refrigerators.

Ouya video game console

The Ouya, stylized as OUYA, is an Android-based microconsole developed by Ouya Inc. Julie Uhrman founded the project in 2012, bringing in designer Yves Béhar to collaborate on its design and Muffi Ghadiali as VP of Product Management to put together the engineering team. Development was funded via Kickstarter, raising $8.5 million and becoming the website's ninth-highest earning project in its history at the time.

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. Crowdfunding is a form of crowdsourcing and alternative finance. In 2015, over US$34 billion was raised worldwide by crowdfunding.

Polygon reported that Android "consoles" were best-in-show at the January 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, citing devices like the MOGA Pro, Green Throttle Games Atlas controller, Nvidia Shield, and news of Valve's Steam Machine, a non-Android console. [13] [9] [14] Following Ouya's success, other similar set-top Android gaming devices were announced as direct competitors, including the GameStick in early 2013, [15] [16] [17] GamePop in May 2013, [18] and Mad Catz's MOJO in June 2013. [19] Forbes's Daniel Nye Griffiths referred to Ouya and GameStick's close release dates as the microconsole field's first "showdown". [4] The GamePop and MOJO announcements in the early summer referred to the devices as "microconsoles". [20] [21]

<i>Polygon</i> (website) Video game website

Polygon is an American video game website that publishes news, culture, reviews, and videos. At its October 2012 launch as Vox Media's third property, Polygon sought to distinguish itself from competitors by focusing on the stories of the people behind the games instead of the games themselves. They also produced long-form magazine-style feature articles, invested in video content, and chose to let their review scores be updated as the game changed.

Consumer Electronics Show electronics and technology trade show

CES is an annual trade show organized by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Held in January at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, the event typically hosts presentations of new products and technologies in the consumer electronics industry.

Green Throttle Games

Green Throttle Games is a video game and video game peripheral developer.

The PlayStation TV (known in Asia as the PlayStation Vita TV) is a microconsole announced in September 2013 at a Sony Computer Entertainment Japan presentation. [22] [23] [24] It was released in Japan on November 14, 2013 and in North America on October 14, 2014.

PlayStation TV microconsole manufactured by Sony Computer Entertainment

PlayStation TV, known in Japan and other parts of Asia as the PlayStation Vita TV or PS Vita TV, is a microconsole, and a non-handheld variant of the PlayStation Vita handheld game console. It was released in Japan on November 14, 2013, North America on October 14, 2014, and Europe and Australia on November 14, 2014.

Asia Earths largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres

Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.

Reception

Gamasutra called Ouya, GameStick, and GamePop "console alternatives" that represent "a potential new market space for developers". [25] Tadhg Kelly, writing for Edge , called 2013 "the year of the microconsole", citing less consumer need for traditional console power, the low price of microconsole manufacture, increased system compatibility for easier game development, and more developer freedom from console business interests. [26] Microconsole promises of a less restrictive platform are expected to empower independent game developers. [14] [27] Kelly referred to the "deliberately small" microconsoles as "the netbooks of the console world", not intended to compete with big video game consoles. [28] Other reviewers called the microconsoles competitors, though not a threat, and referred to a crowded "non-traditional console space" as a disadvantage. [10] Kelly added that Ouya is heavily focused on the early adopter audience and its interests, and that Ouya's "natural advantage" of price has not been communicated effectively. [28] Edge questioned possibilities of microconsole success due to competition within the field as well as from Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft's new consoles. [29]

<i>Gamasutra</i> website

Gamasutra is a website founded in 1997 that focuses on all aspects of video game development. It is owned and operated by UBM Technology Group, a division of UBM and acts as the online sister publication to the print magazine Game Developer.

<i>Edge</i> (magazine) UK video game magazine

Edge is a multi-format video game magazine published by Future plc in the United Kingdom, which publishes 13 issues of the magazine per year.

The pre-release Ouya was panned by early reviewers. [30] The Verge called it unfinished, [31] and in a later review, Eurogamer questioned why consumers would purchase a console that duplicated the functionality of smartphones they already had. [6]

The video game industry saw the digital media receiver on Apple's Apple TV as potential microconsole competition due to the company's experience in the mobile games market. [32] [33] [28] Polygon reported in January 2013 that the Apple TV "continue[d] to be dangerously close to upending the mobile gaming space" and speculated that an Apple TV App Store could spark "a rush of games to the television". [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

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The 2010s is the current decade of video gaming and the fifth decade in the industry's history. Thus far, the decade has become notable for producing the first truly "3D" games and consoles, introducing cloud gaming to consumers, and the rising influence of tablet-based and mobile casual games. The industry remains heavily dominated by the actions of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, but it remains unforeseen how their dominance will be affected by the growing smartphone and tablet market.

A home video game console, or simply home console, is a video game device that is primarily used for home gamers, as opposed to in arcades or some other commercial establishment. Home consoles are one type of video game consoles, in contrast to the handheld game consoles which are smaller and portable, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place, along with microconsoles and dedicated consoles.

In the history of video games, the eighth generation of consoles is the current generation. It includes those consoles released since 2012 by Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. For home video game consoles, the eighth generation began on November 18, 2012, with the release of the Wii U, and continued with the release of the PlayStation 4 on November 15, 2013, and the Xbox One on November 22, 2013. The Wii U was the first home console of this generation to be discontinued, on January 31, 2017, to make way for Nintendo's second home console competitor, the Switch, released on March 3, 2017. These video game consoles follow their seventh generation predecessors from the same three companies: Nintendo's Wii, Sony's PlayStation 3, and Microsoft's Xbox 360.

PlayStation 4 Sonys eighth-generation home video game console

The PlayStation 4 is an eighth-generation home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 in February 2013, it was launched on November 15 in North America, November 29 in Europe, South America and Australia, and on February 22, 2014, in Japan. It competes with Microsoft's Xbox One and Nintendo's Wii U and Switch.

Xbox Console Companion software

Xbox Console Companion on Windows 10, known as simply Xbox on Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Android, and iOS, are companion apps for the Xbox series video game consoles. They provide access to Xbox Live community features, remote control, as well as second screen functionality with selected games, applications, and content.

GameStick

The GameStick was a video game console developed by PlayJam. It is a microconsole the size of a USB flash drive that plugs directly into the back of a TV through an HDMI port and ships with its own Bluetooth controller. Users can download content from a curated storefront via Wi-Fi, with content stored locally for offline access. The device is powered by the PlayJam Games Platform and runs its own version of the Android operating system. It is portable and aimed at casual to mid-core gamers. Like the Ouya, it was funded through Kickstarter.

Xbox One Microsofts eighth-generation and third video game console

The Xbox One is an eighth-generation home video game console that was developed by Microsoft. Announced in May 2013, it is the successor to Xbox 360 and the third console in the Xbox brand. It was first released in North America, parts of Europe, Australia, and South America in November 2013, and in Japan, China, and other European countries in September 2014. It is the first Xbox game console to be released in China, specifically in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone. Microsoft marketed the device as an "all-in-one entertainment system", hence the name 'Xbox One'. The Xbox One mainly competes against Sony's PlayStation 4 and Nintendo's Wii U and Switch.

Mojo (microconsole)

MOJO, stylized as M.O.J.O., is an Android-based video game microconsole manufactured by Mad Catz.

<i>TowerFall</i> video game

TowerFall is an action indie video game created by Matt Thorson through their company Matt Makes Games. In the game, players control up to four archers in a battle royale. It was released on the Ouya microconsole in June 2013 and was later ported to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Linux, OS X, and Windows as TowerFall Ascension.

Amazon Fire TV streaming video platform developed by Amazon.com

Amazon Fire TV is a digital media player and its microconsole remote developed by Amazon. The device is a small network appliance that can deliver digital audio/video content streamed via the internet to a high-definition television. It also allows users to play video games with the included remote, via a mobile app, or with an optional game controller.

Android TV Android operating system version for digital media players

Android TV is a version of the Android operating system designed for digital media players. As a replacement for Google TV, it features a user interface designed around content discovery and voice search, surfacing content aggregated from various media apps and services, and integration with other recent Google technologies such as Assistant, Cast, and Knowledge Graph.

Nvidia Shield (set-top box)

The Nvidia Shield, also known as the Shield Android TV or Shield Console, is an Android TV-based digital media player produced by Nvidia as part of its Shield brand of Android devices. First released in May 2015, the Shield is marketed by Nvidia as a microconsole, emphasizing its ability to play downloaded games and stream games from a compatible PC on a local network, or via the GeForce Now subscription service. As with all other Android TV devices, it can also stream content from various sources using apps, and also supports 4K resolution video. It has been distributed in models with either 16 GB of flash storage, or a 500 GB hard drive, the latter branded as Shield Pro.

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