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Console Wars 2013: Sony PS4 and its competitors
The Android consoles: Nvidia Shield, Ouya, Wikipad
When powered by the Nvidia Tegra platform, Android hardware has a lot of gaming potential. Of course, the big stumbling block has always been a lack of high-end, console-quality games, as big franchises rarely make appearances on the mostly mobile OS. You'll occasionally get something along the lines of a Call of Duty zombie-mode offshoot, but not Android ports of the same games being played on PC, Xbox, or PS3. Instead, you're largely stuck with well-meaning copycats, from Modern Combat to Dead Trigger.
But a potential game-changer this year is the growing collection of game-centric Android devices. Ouya is a Kickstarter star, expected in June, that aims to put an Android-OS hub in a small $99 set-top box that will run its own custom games (but not standard games purchased in the Google Play store).
Nvidia has its own Android gaming device in the works, called Project Shield, a large handheld console with its own 5-inch flip-up touch display, AV outs for connecting to a TV, and the promised capability to stream everything from media content to PC games running on a local computer. Project Shield has no price or release date yet.
We first got our hands on the Wikipad in 2012, in the form of a 10-inch Android tablet bundled with a game controller dock that included two handles with analog control sticks, buttons, and triggers. Wikipad missed its October 2012 launch date and little was heard of it until recently, when the company relaunched it as a 7-inch tablet, with a similar (but smaller) game pad dock for half the original $499 price. It's now expected sometime in spring of this year.
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