BlueStacks wants to bring Android games to your television. That’s hardly an original idea. The Ouya and GameStick video game consoles do the same thing. But the new GamePop console from BlueStacks takes a different approach.
It offers access to more than 500 Android games for a subscription fee of $6.99 per month. In fact, if you pre-order a GamePop by May 31st and pay for a year’s subscription in advance, BlueStacks will send you the game console itself for free.
The game console itself isn’t expected to ship until this winter.
BlueStacks hasn’t said much about the hardware in its little box, but in comments made to The Verge, the company says the hardware can handle “all the top Android games today.”
That doesn’t mean all of those games will be available on the console, but BlueStacks has worked with game developers including Glu, Gameloft, and Halfbrick to bring their games to the platform.
You’ll be able to play games with a wireless controller or by installing an app on your Android phone or tablet which turns your mobile device into a remote. It’s not entirely clear if a gamepad is included with the console or if you have to supply your own PlayStation or Xbox-style controller.
The concept of playing games made for mobile devices on a big screen seems to make some sense. Many of today’s top phones have 720p or higher resolution displays, so games should look as good on a big screen TV as they do on a mobile device.
But most of those games were also designed specifically for touchscreen devices, which could make them a bit awkward to play on a TV. Even if you can use your phone as a touchpad controller, there are no physical buttons on your phone to provide feedback to your fingers while you’re looking at the TV. And if you need to tap a very specific part of you phone’s screen, that could be difficult to do without looking at your fingers (and away from the game on your TV).
It’s not clear if BlueStacks will pre-screen games the way Ouya and GameStick are doing to make sure that only titles that are optimized for TVs make it into the service. But since developer have to opt-in to the company’s subscription-based model, I suspect it’ll be up to individual developers to make sure their apps play with the GamePop system.