The PGS handheld game PC looks good on paper: it has two screens, physical gaming buttons, support for up to 8GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage, and support for both Windows 10 and Android 6.0 software.

But when Portable Solutions started a Kickstarter campaign for the project, a lot of people started wondering if the PGS was too good to be true… especially given the facts that the company had never produced hardware before, only had a prototype hobbled together from existing computers made by other companies, and only sought to raise $100,000 (which seemed like an unreasonably low figure, given the amount of work it’d take to bring this sort of computer into the world).

The $230 starting price also seemed a bit low.

Now Portable Solutions has cancelled its Kickstarter campaign… but the company says it still plans to build and sell the PGS (and is still willing to take your money before a product actually ships).

pgs_02

If you take everything Portable Solutions has said at face value (and there are a lot of reasons not to), here’s what’s going on:

  • The team came up with an idea for a revolutionary new product, created some designs, and found investors.
  • Those investors wanted the company to show there’s enough demand for the product to justify their spending money on it, so a Kickstarter campaign was launched in order to do that.
  • In the first few days of the campaign, the PGS project raised well over $300,000.
  • But then the haters started popping out of the woodwork, trying to bring them down… possibly to promote competing handheld gaming PCs.
  • A lot of people started to retract their Kickstarter pledges and the campaign went from a high of around $360,000 raised to just under $303,000.
  • Rather than continually try to prove the skeptics wrong, Portable Solutions has canceled the campaign, but will continue developing the hardware now that outside funding has been secured.
  • But since the retail price will be $360 (much higher than the Kickstarter pledge levels), Portable Solutions wants to reward folks who pre-order by offering the handheld for $299 for a limited time. Or you can use a promo code to bring the price down to $259.

Now if you don’t take all of that at face value, what’s happened is that the company has canceled its Kickstarter campaign, failed to show evidence that it actually knows how to build the product that’s been promised, but plans to continue taking money from people who believe that the PGS will eventually see the  light of day. It’s just that now you’ll be giving your money in a forum that doesn’t allow you to post comments or read those read by others.

pgs

I’m generally an optimist, so I think it’s entirely possible that this was never a scam or a hoax. Some have suggested that Portable Solutions has no intention of ever delivering a product and was just going to take the money and run. Others have suggested that the reason the campaign was canceled was because the initial $300,000 in pledges was made by the company itself, and with people canceling their pledges left and right, the team would essentially lose money (in Kickstarter fees) if it allowed the campaign to finish at this point.

I don’t know if either of those things are true or provable. But it seems entirely plausible to me that a group of individuals with little to no experience designing hardware came up with a concept for an amazing handheld system, put together a components list that suggested it could be sold at a certain price, and then hobbled together a clumsy prototype made from parts of other PCs… all the while ignoring the fact that it takes a lot more time, skill, and money than that to design a unique case, printed circuit board, software, and other pieces of the puzzle to make something like a compact, dual-screen Windows/Android gaming handheld PC work.

Those are the reasons I was skeptical of this project before the Kickstarter campaign even launched. Even if you don’t think this thing is a scam, there’s a high likelihood that the folks behind it are in over their heads and that if and when a final project is delivered, it won’t come close to living up to its promises in terms of price, performance, or design.

But Portable Solutions has also done a really pretty lousy job of addressing the concerns of its potential customers over the past few weeks. For instance, the team repeatedly promised that future updates would provide additional details about the outside investors that were backing the project (and therefore making the claim that the Kickstarter campaign wasn’t supposed to raise enough money to pay for everything, but just to show demand more plausible). But when an update finally arrived, it was the announcement that the campaign had been canceled.

And that’s before you start to dig into details about the team members, who apparently include actors and models in key roles such as “legal affairs manager” and “product designer/community manager.”

For now if you’re interested in investing in a portable handheld gaming system with a clamshell design, you may be better off looking at GPD Win or the DragonBox Pyra.

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19 replies on “PGS handheld gaming PC Kickstarter campaign cancelled”

  1. I suspect given all the people that reported PGS, that Kickstarter tapped them on the shoulder and gave them an ultimatum to cancel or be shut down.

    As for PGS backing their own campaign, I don’t believe that for a second. I saw loads of people I knew backing it. People that even had backed the Pyra and GPD WIN were also backing the PGS. It was – if you believed it was real – the dream phone / portable console after all.

    1. Yeah, I doubt that one too. Just wanted to mention some of the conspiracy theories for the folks that don’t want to read through all the comments and forum posts 🙂

  2. This had scam written all over it from the beginning. I was shocked there were enough naive people out there that the project got up to $330K at one point before going back down to 302K before they cancelled it. Looks like some fools and their money will still be parted just not through Kickstarter.

    1. I have GPD’s previous console (a 3DS-alike) and it’s actually great, and they have hardware manufacturing experience (the one I have is REALLY sturdy) so I at least have some expectations for their Windows portable.

      1. Yep, I just picked up a GPD XD a couple weeks ago. The build quality is VERY impressive – probably not quite as durable as my daughter’s 3DS XL, but definitely better than any Chinese-maker device I’ve tried so far. Plenty of power for emulated games, I’ve streamed quite a bit of video to it just because of its handy form factor, and a lot more battery life than my old Archos GamePad.

        If a QWERTY keyboard and Windows were important to me, I’d call the GPD Win a pretty safe bet. Certainly safer than its so-called competition.

      1. It may be real but the level of ability to play PC games at any kind of enjoyable rate is yet to be determined.

    2. The GPD Win is looking better than expected, having a z87X0 rather than a z85X0 now. What are you hoping to play on it? Crysis??? Obviously that won’t work. However, playing games like Halo 1 PC, Mirrors Edge (2007), emulators, and non-AAA games should be pretty gool. Anyone expecting to play anything made in the last 4 years will probably be disappointed, but my PC gaming collection is huge and goes back to the 90’s.

      1. Anything can play emulators up to PSX and Gamecube though, like the smartphone you carry 24/7.

        1. So… you actually like playing with touchscreen controls? Also, Android emulation is a bit lackluster.

          1. Well not only did I not suggest that, because that ignores the fact that Android bluetooth controllers are aplenty and smaller, lighter and cheaper to carry around than the GPD, but I actually don’t mind touchscreen controls for anything NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, GBA, GB, PSX, Megadrive, etc. which are the ones you can emulate on Android. The GPD could offer PS2 emulation but it will definitely be weak on many games.

          2. Your phone cannot run Gamecube games well. Even the Galaxy S8 has trouble with them. This device can run far more emulators than your phone, with far, far more control options. It can also run many Steam titles, which your phone also can’t do. They’re not actually comparable devices. Your phone runs an operating system that just doesn’t do the things this device does.

            The PGS was vaporware, and never had a team that could deliver. The Win, however, exists, and lives up to the promises made.

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