Android Gets a Console

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Yuri Albuquerque:

draythefingerless:
i fear that people will take this as some kind of oooh android AAA games, when the language of android, java, is horrendous for making heavier games(see: minecraft). but as what they are advertising, it seems really nice. just dont expect the new gears of war to run on it or sth.(then again, given how old xbox is...)

This is misleading.

Games made for Android must run on a Java Virtual Machine, but Java is not the only language for doing this. There is also JRuby, Groovy, Jython...

And, of course, you could make a HTML5 + Javascript game and use Open Web App (if I'm not mistaken, I'm on a phone and it's difficult to search) to ship it without a browser.

hmm true, but still, the virtual machine is more of the issue than the language itself(it being so similar to C# and all). the thing is, they sacrificed power and performance to have super compatibility. you can run java and android stuff on all kinds of things, microwaves soon enough, but you wont run it efficiently. never liked javascript much tbh...then again, i have not dabbled much into this area of software developing, so take what i said with grain of salt.

Eric the Orange:
Android is a smart phone, right? So don't it's games have to use it's touch screen as it does not have buttons. So how would that translate to a TV?

No, Android is an operating system. Among other things, it works on phones, but it's also been used on tablets. The leap to a console is not a big one. And this console doesn't seem to aim to use the current games (not that they'd be hard to translate into whatever controller it's using), but make new ones.

hmm going back to the days of the amiga and earlier :D

its got potential though i think the are talking about making a port from shadowrun returns for android arent they?

Cowabungaa:
The only sort of people I can really see this selling to properly is the tech-hobbyist. The sort of person who likes fiddling around with stuff like the Raspberry Pi. They can toy around with this in the same way as it's pretty much completely open source. Make their own games with all kinds of fancy controls they design themselves. But is that market big enough to stop this thing from tanking? I doubt it.

The problem is that because it runs Android, you can't hack at it like you could hack at a Raspberry Pi. The Android operating system comes with a lot of caveats which hold you back, not least the necessity for most things to run on the Java Virtual Machine, which even with the ARMv7 Jazelle instruction set which pretty much runs Java on the processor itself, comes with inflexibility as an inherent property.

Interesting idea to say the least. Given that phones are due to be more capable than current consoles in a year or two this may just be the right time to launch something like this. A console won't have miniaturization needs, nor a need for a touch screen, so the hardware might actually be profitable.

Vie:

NLS:
Reason they chose Android? For that price, it has to be an ARM processor, the same kind of processor that runs in your phone/tablet/other small but powerful device that ain't your desktop. ARM processors can't run native x86(_64) code that also runs on your main desktop. That means they're limited to mobile platform OSes...

Windows 8 runs on ARM processors, and there are plenty of desktop OS's that run on RISC processor based systems.

Mac OSX was originally designed for a RISC processor system, PowerPC. RISC OS, a development of Acorn's earlier OS series Arther, is a full desktop OS that's been around since 1987. Linux, which to be fair can run on just about anything if you have the free time to compile it for your toaster/watch/hairdryer, has a multitude of ARM and other RISC platform implementations.

In fact, instead of writing them out, take a look at the wiki page on OS's that run on ARM platforms - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture#Operating_systems

Also, don't forget that a lot of Supercomputers are based on the RISC architecture. RISC processors can be incredibly powerful, so long as the system and programs running on it are well written.

Yes I know there are more available OSes that run on ARM, but in this case Android sounds like the best alternative, as it already has big support from game developers. Windows 8 for ARM won't help much, as all native Windows x86 programs and games would have to be recompiled for the ARM architecture. And let's not forget that Windows 8 also mandates that manufacturers use Secure Boot that can't be disabled on ARM systems. The whole thing contradicts the very nature of this product. OSX also left the PowerPC platform about 5 years ago. In addition, Apple will go very far to prevent anything but Apple approved devices to run their precious software.

I'm a big fan of the low-powered ARM architecture running a linux kernel, ever since I got involved in the OpenPandora project, which is a handheld ARM device the size of a DS specifically made with homebrew, emulators and free hacking of the software in mind. But up until now, the games library has been severely limited to emulators and a few open source indie games and/or older games. Until about a month ago, when they managed to port Android to the device. Suddenly all kinds of commercially available games opened up to be playable on the Pandora.

I'm sure people will be able to run their favourite distro with ARM support and install and play all kinds of different games and apps on the machine, but at the end of the day, Android has bigger support at the developers, and that's what they'll need to sell this device if they want a bigger audience. I do however doubt we'll see official support from Microsoft or Apple though, yes people will try, and may even succeed in installing any of their mobile/embedded OSes, but the gain of it would be minimal.

Cant wait till a whole heap of emulators are realesed on it so i can play N64,Nes,Snes,PSX,Gameboy and Gamecube. And to everyone complaining about ads, its going to have an all around ad-blocker day one.

Byrdy:
Cant wait till a whole heap of emulators are realesed on it so i can play N64,Nes,Snes,PSX,Gameboy and Gamecube. And to everyone complaining about ads, its going to have an all around ad-blocker day one.

There haven't traditionally been that many emulators on Android, full stop - the JVM is a hideous platform if you want to do anything low-level, which emulators demand. The whole Java Virtual Machine is better for application software, where timing isn't as critical, but frankly, if you're going down the emulation road, a decent PC would be a better option.

I seriously doubt that this is what this console is intended for anyway.

Called it.
I'm truly interested in a console that has a Google base to it. It will be interesting to see if there is a true Google console down the road (ie, the nexus in console form)or if this is going to become a thorn to the big three.
Think about how android works now, everyone can make an android phone. This could really screw up console gaming!

Kahani:
Why the hell would anyone buy this rather than an actual cheap PC?

Because no such thing exists.

NLS:

Baldr:
Speaking on behalf my game development company, if we can't charge for games on it and not be able to generate revenue besides possibly ads, where is the point in developing games for it??

I looked up the source, and they have a screenshot from the (concept?) menu/start screen. Someone probably misunderstood something somewhere in the press release process, because the menu clearly has a "Store" option, and the menu also clearly lists commercially available games.
image
Due to the open development kits and the Open Source nature, there's probably gonna be a lot of free homebrewn apps and ports of already open sourced games and software. But commercial Android apps and games will still stick around and be available for purchase.

Doom972:

Eric the Orange:
Android is a smart phone, right? So don't it's games have to use it's touch screen as it does not have buttons. So how would that translate to a TV?

Android is an operating system. It's usually used in smartphones and tablets but also available for PC - Which uses a mouse cursor instead of a touch screen, when it isn't available.
My guess is that it'll probably have gamepads for control.

I wonder why they chose Android, since many games won't work properly due to the TV not having a touch screen.

See attached photo, it's gonna be gamepad-based. Reason they chose Android? For that price, it has to be an ARM processor, the same kind of processor that runs in your phone/tablet/other small but powerful device that ain't your desktop. ARM processors can't run native x86(_64) code that also runs on your main desktop. That means they're limited to mobile platform OSes, how many of those do you know about that could be allowed to run on this device? iOS? Never gonna happen. Windows Phone 7/8? Nope. Android? Yes, that's a possibility. They could also have gone for some other ARM-optimized linux distribution like Ångström, but that would mean no launch-day AAA 3rd party titles.
So Android gives them a big library of existing commercial and free games, as well as the possibility of porting over even more Open Source games. Many Android games already support controller and gamepad buttons, there's apps that will allow you to map touch-screen controls to your gamepad, and if this things turns out a success, developers will also start adding native support for gamepads in their existing and new games.

So why did they choose Android? Because it's the only available option that will already give them a big library of good games, instead of a locked down system, or no native games at all.

That's the most informative forum reply I ever got. Thank you.

Hooray! It's like a Flash Game website that you need a $99 box to access!

draythefingerless:
i fear that people will take this as some kind of oooh android AAA games, when the language of android, java, is horrendous for making heavier games(see: minecraft). but as what they are advertising, it seems really nice. just dont expect the new gears of war to run on it or sth.(then again, given how old xbox is...)

Apparently the Unity engine will run on it, so I doubt that will be the case.

Rainboq:

draythefingerless:
i fear that people will take this as some kind of oooh android AAA games, when the language of android, java, is horrendous for making heavier games(see: minecraft). but as what they are advertising, it seems really nice. just dont expect the new gears of war to run on it or sth.(then again, given how old xbox is...)

Apparently the Unity engine will run on it, so I doubt that will be the case.

wich is an engine VERY famous for app games. xD

draythefingerless:

Rainboq:

draythefingerless:
i fear that people will take this as some kind of oooh android AAA games, when the language of android, java, is horrendous for making heavier games(see: minecraft). but as what they are advertising, it seems really nice. just dont expect the new gears of war to run on it or sth.(then again, given how old xbox is...)

Apparently the Unity engine will run on it, so I doubt that will be the case.

wich is an engine VERY famous for app games. xD

Not only that, but numerous others, to name a few: Endless Space and the Battlestar Galactica MMO... thing.

Richard A. Kiernan:

Yuri Albuquerque:

draythefingerless:
i fear that people will take this as some kind of oooh android AAA games, when the language of android, java, is horrendous for making heavier games(see: minecraft). but as what they are advertising, it seems really nice. just dont expect the new gears of war to run on it or sth.(then again, given how old xbox is...)

This is misleading.

Games made for Android must run on a Java Virtual Machine, but Java is not the only language for doing this. There is also JRuby, Groovy, Jython...

And, of course, you could make a HTML5 + Javascript game and use Open Web App (if I'm not mistaken, I'm on a phone and it's difficult to search) to ship it without a browser.

And all of those languages, by extension of having to run on the JVM, are slow as fuck. The functional languages are probably even slower than Java, just as they are slower than C when they're compiled. This console is going to suck balls.

Except for the last option I said. That is, doing it in HTML5 + Javascript. It will run on a browser, not a JVM.

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