Mad Catz

Mad Catz explains why they’re betting on an ultra-premium, $250 Android microconsole

Mad Catz explains why they’re betting on an ultra-premium, $250 Android microconsole

Mad Catz is getting into the microconsole game with M.O.J.O., a powerful Android-based console that brings with it a premium price: the system is launching on December 10 for $249.99. The hardware helps to justify the price, with a Tegra 4 1.8GHz Processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, Bluetooth, HDMI out, all running Android 4.2.2.

But still, c’mon. The Ouya hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in terms of sales, and Android gaming still has a number of problems. Is there a chance for an Android console at this price?

“It’s natural to compare M.O.J.O. to other microconsoles available already, but we honestly feel that we’re very different from the competition and offering something markedly different,” Mad Catz’s Global PR and Communications Director Alex Verrey told the Report. “We’re not interested in going after the super casual market with M.O.J.O.”

Verrey pointed to the included controller as evidence of this approach. The C.T.R.L.R Mobile Gamepad offers a lower latency than its competitors; Verrey claimed that it features latency of just 7ms, versus 100ms or so from other Bluetooth controllers. It also offers a “mouse mode” that will allow it to work with most touch-screen apps. The controller will also work on a variety of other devices, such as your PC or other Android consoles, phones, or tablets.

“Couple this with the fact that we are not restricting gamers to a small selection of games, not imposing a walled garden, not charging subscription fees and you begin to see that M.O.J.O really is very different from other consoles available,” Verrey continued.

Open and ready

It’s an interesting approach. Unlike the Ouya, which uses its own games and app store, the M.O.J.O. will run stock Android, so all your existing game purchases will already work, and you don’t need to wait for any game already on Android to be “ported” to the store or hardware. Your game purchase will work on your phone, tablet, or M.O.J.O.

What’s interesting is that this form fact isn’t just for Android anymore, as Sony is getting into the space with a Vita-based microconsole that, for now, is only coming to Japan.

“Sony’s announcement didn’t surprise me in the slightest, in fact I personally believe that we will see other players enter the market,” Verrey said. “Mobile gaming isn’t going anywhere, in fact just the opposite. The numbers speak for themselves and I think that for every gamer playing an online game on PC AND console in the US last month, three or four times that number played a game on a mobile device.”

Mad Catz isn’t just focused on its own console, the company is also in the peripheral business and announced an initiative called GameSmart that hopes to introduce hardware standards for mobile devices. The goal is simple: They want players to be able to buy things like controllers and have them work on multiple devices and platforms out of the box.

“My personal view is that some people may not yet have woken up to how fast Android gaming is evolving… Big franchises are now common place on Android and AAA publishers are investing time and money in pushing mobile gaming to amazing places,” Verrey explained. “I predict than in eighteen months, we will all be astonished at what’s on offer. That’s how we intend for M.O.J.O. to stand out.  Again, we bring the hardware, you bring the games.”

This all sounds interesting, and developers will certainly appreciate another home for their Android games that doesn't require supporting an additional store or certification. On the other hand, no one has really demonstrated that the microconsole form factor can gain substantial sales or interest from gamers. We'll be keeping our eyes on it.