The Android OS game console thread


This is the decision thread for android based game consoles such as the Ouya, Game Stick and Mad Catz Project M.O.J.O.

About cheap Android based console?

Hardware wise, the Ouya (for example) will never compete with the Wii U, PS4 or Xbox One, it does not even beat out the PS3 and XBox 360.
So why a less open source device thats hardware is less than current gen for consoles?

  1. Cheaply made open source consoles are a great budget alternative for last gen systems.
  2. The Android OS is easy to program for. It is much, much easier to program for web and mobile applications that it is to program for the Xbox 360 or even the PS3 which is infamous for being difficult.
  3. It supports the Indie community, lately the huge breakthroughs in gaming concepts are not the AAA titles, but from small independently studios, some just a teen at his bedroom typing at his PC. The Mad Catz Project M.O.J.O. as Google Store access, every Ouya is also a developers console and Gamestick also offer a door for easy publishing.
    Titles like, Journey, Angry Birds, Skull Girls, Bastion, Minecraft and others are making the big companies sweat (and rethink their business strategy).
  4. Easy for guys like us to mess around, do some mods and carry out projects. The construction for the Game Stick and Ouya is quite simple, while I can’t comment on Mad Catz’s console, if it is anything like their arcade sticks, you know some crazy Modder here on SRK TT, hack-a-day, Lifehacker, Shmups.Org or who knows what might come up with some amazing stuff.

Why I would want a non-mobile device that plays Mobile Apps?
That is a huge misnomer right there. With the exception of the Game Stick (its portable), the Mad Catz and Ouya offerings are not limited by mobile gaming issues such as battery life, they can safely overclock their CPUs higher.
And with all three consoles (at the time of writing there is 3) PHYSICAL CONTROLS. Right there that Trumps any mobile android or iOS device, Physical controls give much better response that touch screen controls on many games.
Yeah there are games like Angry Birds that worked around their limitations (some the best games have huge technical limitations) but good controls should not be one of them.

Relevant links


Game Stick

Mad Catz


The Ouya, The $99 HD capable Console.

As a policy, every game is either cheap or free, games that are not free has to offer full playable lite versions or Demo versions of the game.
So that means every frickin game is free to try.

The Ouya currently runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly bean) has a 8Gb internal SD card, Wifi, ethernet, a USB port (just one but its compatible with USB hubs) and a USB Micro Port for accessing its internal files via PC.

How responsive is the controller?
Very. I tested a number of Ouya titles, and a few Emulators that run on the system, and I do just as well on Shmups and Fighters as I would on PlayStation controller.

I found out from Gummo that the Ouya controllers are not Common Ground

Do other controllers/ Arcade sticks work on the system?

Here is a list of Confirmed controllers that work either by myself or members of the Ouya community
OUYA Controller (obviously). Exacte compatibility varies from Game to Game App to App.

PS3 Dual Shock 3 and PS3 Six Axis
Plug in with USB cable then press PS button. After initial setup it should work wirelessly

3rd Part wired or dongle PS3 GamePads

GameStop Wired Xbox 360 controller (both the Mad Catz and PDP pads)

Logitech F310

Wireless Xbox 360 Controller
Need Wireless Receiver aka Dongle

OnLive PC controller
(works with wire. need the dongle for wireless)

Nintendo Wii Remote
(needs app to interface due to Nintendo’s Protocols)

USB SNES Controller
(has issues with 2 player games. does not show up as unique device. further explanation needed)

Neo Geo X stick

Android mobile devices
Both the Ouya and the other Android device needs apps installed for this to work

iOS Devices
Same as Android mobile devices


Game Stick

The $79.99 device consist of a HDMI dongle, a charge station and a wireless controller.

The Game Stick is said to have 8GB of internal Memory and has a Micro SD slot to add up to an additional 32GB of Memory.
Additional controllers may be used.


Reserved for Mad Catz Project M.O.J.O.


nVidia Shield


One more time for good messure


Not sure if this falls under the scope of this thread as it’s a portable, but there’s also the nVidia Project Shield.

It’s the most expensive of the lot, running at $300 USD, but it apparently has a lot of horsepower under its hood, and is capable of streaming PC games to its tiny baby touchscreen. And, of course, you could hook it up to your big screen TV, in case you want to play your games on something larger.

The controller looks like a standard Xinput device, with some Shield-specific modifications. If you like the 360 pad’s triggers and the Sony analog controllers’ stick placement, cool.

I’ll be honest with you. I’m interested in the Shield, but the price leaves me a bit wary.


Cool for you pointing that out, I forgot about the Nvidia Shield. I have to add it later.


There are also a plethora of android devices on amazon / dx that you might consider, if you’re mainly interested in media playback and emulation. Lots of rockchip / dual and quadcore a9 sticks are available, with usb / wifi / bluetooth / ethernet. $45 on the low end and ~$100 on the high end (something like the xios pivos)


I trying to focus on the devices intended primarily for gaming.
Android units built primarily for Media isn’t in my guides scope.
The PC systems on a chip/stick style android devices are also outside of my focus.

Yeah there are games on Google’s Play store, but just about any Android phone can access those.
I want to ignore the Play store entirely and just focus on the games and apps that are just made for those Gaming Devices.

I believe the new wave of Android game consoles should not even be grouped with their mobile phone cousins, like how you can’t compare a consolized CPS2 or a MVS board with a N64.
Its why I left the Raspberry Pi out, yeah its a tiny cheap $35 PC on a chimp, but it has by default no OS. You have to provide your own SD card and load an OS image to that card, and the distribution of Android for the Pi is slow, buggy and has a lot of issues.


You realize like 95% of those proprietary storefronts’ content are going to be ports from google play, right? mojo is just google play and ouya’s store is mostly ports (and the exclusives are mostly terrible)

On a side note you probably should just write DON’T BUY in bold red letters underneath the ouya description. Your experience with the controller seems to be the exception - many people are complaining about lag, the general cheapness of the controller (older models had insane deadzone issues, new controllers are scraping themselves apart at the analog sticks). The device is underwhelming performance wise too - a lot of content “made for the ouya” just runs really poor at 1080p - the tegra3 doesn’t really seem up to snuff for that rez.

There’s also the numerous issues with the hardware, software, support, even getting the product (a shitload of kickstarter backers still don’t have theirs, people are randomly getting retail versions instead of backer versions, and vice versa. Paying for a retail product and getting that instead is just incredible). A lot of people seem to be getting the ouya for emulation and media playback anyway, so they might as well get a chinese android stick with arguably better support and software instead.

edit: theres still the faceplate issues with the current controller, even with the widened holes, O button will get stuck. That faceplate design is just dumb.


“older models had insane deadzone issues”

You mean the rushed Developers units that came out in January, those are all Prototypes.

The only difference between the Backer Versions and the retail is that the kickbacker version will have the engraving of names of the top tier Kickback supporters (those who pledge $10,000 or more).
I don’t see the big deal of having or not having Notch and a few others user names engraved on a cheap console.
As for the hardware flaws you describe I haven’t seen them, not to the extend you claim.

"new controllers are scraping themselves apart at the analog sticks"
Really thats news to me.

"and the exclusives are mostly terrible"
Yes I agree, but 6 months of Indie development does not speak for much.

The Kickstarter Backers who still haven’t got their units are international backers.
You know even sending the package priority mail it took me 3 months to get a JLF to d3v.
It took me a month to get stuff to SRK TT users in Canada. Overseas shipping is a bitch.

"a shitload of kickstarter backers still don’t have theirs"
Define a shit load.

Yeah I do agree the Ouya company fucked up, Julie Uhrman in my opinion isn’t handling it as well as she should.
The $700 Dev versions all shipped world wide without a hitch, the Kickstarter Consoles should all been delivered before the retail release started.
I am still wondering why they went with DHL (who did a hand off to USPS) and not UPS or Fed EX.

I am still not doing these POS Chinese made Media Boxes as part of the guide, this is SRK not Tom’s Hardware.
If the device isn’t “built” for the primary use of gaming is getting ignored.


I am thinking of buying a OUYA primarily for Mame. Have you tried any arcade sticks with Mame on the OUYA? Will they work?


Last I check I didn’t tried mame, I tried there NES, Genesis, GBA and Neo Geo Emulators.
Those ran fine.


Ouya is poisonous. I would exercise extreme caution before touching it, and even then, not direct from manufacturing. Pick up one someone has dumped on ebay if you want one.


How so? Also you know they are now sold in retail stores like Gamestop and Best buy.


Among many disturbing logistical issues, kickstarter backers have not received their units. Some have been waiting past market launch and been refused refunds.

The shipments to european countries have been marked as gifts, attempting to avoid taxes, leading to customers having their units impounded.

The credit card information for logging in to the ouya market was poorly/not encrypted. Fortunately it will accept bogus information so you don’t have to give them that information.

There is no recovery bootloader on the hardware, and several users have reported updates bricking their console. Support has been ‘send it in, we’ll fix it’ and then the mailed off console never returns.


And it still runs better than a Xbox 360 and less likely to Brick than a Wii U.

Oh yeah, the custom forms, yes they are gifts because you don’t buy anything from Ouya’s kickstarter.
Kickstarter is like a PBS pledge Drive, you pledge X amount of dollars, and when you reach that pledge tier, your PBS station will gift you whatever the prize is for that tier.
No purchase was ever made. You made an NO Return investment to whoever the person running that project on Kickstarter, and then they have the ethical (but not legal) obligation to honor their commitments.

So no RMA on gifts.


Again, the hardware isn’t problematic, it’s the people behind it. Trying to dodge taxes in europe is professional suicide, and not fulfilling your orders to backers doesn’t provide faith that you can back orders to professional storefronts.

I’ve been following the ouya post-kickstarter for a few months now, and it is, in the end, a tablet without a touchscreen, that is stripped of any of the hackability of a proper android distribution, backed by people who are running their first business and doing it in scary, dodgy ways.


Well I am not well verse with European business law, so I have to concede to your view about the tax thing.
From what I understood all orders have been already sent. I will agree they handled it wrong. Please also understand that overseas shipping is a bitch.
Even after doing everything I supposed to do, a JLF I shipped to a SRK member who lives overseas didn’t get to him for at least 3 months. Everything was to code, all the customs forms been filled out correctly but yet the poor thing got delayed.