GameStick is a microconsole that plugs into the HDMI port on a TV and comes with a custom Bluetooth controller. Users of GameStick can access and download content from its proprietary online store via Wi-Fi. Games and downloaded content are stored locally for off-line access. Released on November 15, 2013, the device runs on the PlayJam Games Platform - a version of the Android operating system. GameStick is a portable device marketed to casual and mid-core gamers. It was funded via Kickstarter.
We are very accustomed to Flash drive-like USB devices that derive power from the port on our computers and other devices. Whereas the GameStick looks like a similar device, it relies on the HDMI port on TVs to display info to the screen. Unlike USB, the HDMI port is not a powered port. Modern game consoles can connect via HDMI, but they have their own power supplies. The same is true of the GameStick. Despite being a small flash drive-like device, it still requires a power brick that connects to PlayJam's HDMI unit.
All GameStick systems can be used as development kits, allowing any GameStick owner to become a developer, without licensing fees. The GameStick is classified as part of the eighth generation of video game consoles and is competing with the Ouya.
I was pretty stoked to find my GameStick on the doorstep after work. Unfortunately, it had been raining all day - all over the package!
The top of the GameStick box. As you can see, the packaging is labeled as being part of the Kickstarter shipments. We backed this project in it's Kickstarter phase. In-store packaging may be different.
The back of the GameStick box.
Three-quarter view of the GameStick box.
The controller and instruction book are on top of the GameStick box.
Removing the controller reveals the GameStick cables beneath it.
PlayJam GameStick HDMI Microconsole
The GameStick specifications from their website.
The GameStick controller and HDMI microconsole. GameStick takes the ease of mobile game development and brings it to the living room TV. Typical finger-swipe game control is put back in the familiar "Controller".
The GameStick HDMI microconsole showing the HDMI connector. Being the size of a typical USB flash drive, the GameStick is designed to plug into the back of the TV via HDMI. There is no need to access the console, so it can tay plugged in out of sight.
The GameStick HDMI microconsole showing the USB port which is used to power the GameStick. Unlike USB, HDMI is not a powered port and the GameStick still requires an external power source. Although your GameStick is likely out-of-sight when connected to your TV, it still needs to be plugged in for power too.
The GameStick HDMI microconsole. The dot-pattern seen on the top and bottom are actually holes to provide ventilating. The sides have larger openings to allow air flow.
The GameStick HDMI microconsole. The average cost of a game from the GameStick store is stated to be just a few dollars and many will be free to play.
The GameStick HDMI microconsole. This is the only game console in which the actual console is many times smaller than it's controller.
The GameStick HDMI microconsole.
PlayJam GameStick Controller
The GameStick controller, that houses the small HEMI microconsole, comes in a clear plastic case - shown here.
Another angle showing the clasp on the GameStick's clear plastic case.
The GameStick's clear plastic case - open.
The GameStick controller. The controller has two analog sticks, a directional pad, A/B/X/Y face buttons, shoulder buttons, and system buttons for power and menus.
The back side of the GameStick controller showing the small HDMI microconsole stowed in the rear compartment. You can also see the 2 shoulder buttons.
Another shot of the GameStick controller showing the microconsole in the rear compartment.
Rear of the GameStick controller showing the 4 LED lights that indicate charging-state and the Micro USB port.
The bottom of the GameStick controller showing the slide-switch that ejects the microconsole from it's storage area inside the controller.
The GameStick controller flashes it's 4 LED lights while charging and they remain solid when fully charged.