The multi-billion-dollar gaming industry, while still successful as a whole, has not been without casualties. Empires rise and fall, and with each generation of console hardware many companies struggle to stay in the loop. Taking a chance on creating new console options for gamers may seem outrageous now, but the plug-and-play micro console market opened up by the Ouya and Nvidia Shield is beginning to find its footing – albeit slowly. Now, gaming peripheral manufacturer Mad Catz has decided to take the plunge and develop a console of their own.

Like the Nvidia Shield, Mad Catz Project Mojo is the result of years of watching and waiting for the right time to strike. Android-based gaming devices have met with some success so far, but Mojo intends to steamroll the current competition with sheer hardware power. Sporting a Tegra 4 processor and 2 GB of RAM, Mojo runs on Android OS and plans to offer a “totally open” gaming experience than its competitors. Alex Verrey, global PR director for Mad Catz, has said the system will succeed by being inclusive, not exclusive.

“We are totally open. No walled garden, no small selection of games, no subscription fees. We bring the hardware, gamers bring the games. Buy games from where you want, when you want and how you want… Don’t like our controller? Use someone else’s. Plug in mice, keyboards, headsets and more. Want to use our controller on a phone, tablet, PC or more? No problem there either.”

While its efforts are admirable, the shock from Xbox One‘s announcements and (subsequent about-face(s)) has all but worn off. The idea of being completely open to hardware and software alike just doesn’t pack quite as much punch as it may have a few weeks ago. Having day-one access to all Android Market and Google Play applications, however, is fairly exciting, despite there still being kinks in porting touchscreen-based apps to a system that is used primarily with a controller.

The Mojo console and controllers look fairly standard and non-descript, the latter specifically resembling Xbox 360 hardware, but sporting a few media buttons and custom name: ‘CTRL-R’. Judging from the pictures alone, the build quality is on par with Mad Catz’ other products, and appears to be made from fairly inexpensive material, likely to help keep the device’s price point low. Looking closely at the console, the HDMI and USB ports look slightly off, jutting out from the chassis. While Project Mojo’s design may change before its release, if the final product looks and feels cheap, it will be hard to sell at any price.

The micro console trend has met with obstacles of its own, with Ouya developer sales getting off to a slow start. Time has shown that gamers are interested, but with no support from major developers yet, it could be a challenge for micro consoles to really take off. Mad Catz seems confident that their console will work, and with a release timeframe of December or sooner, only time will tell if this trend pays off.

Ranters, how do you feel about the sudden influx of micro consoles? Can the industry continue to thrive with so much competition, or are we doomed to repeat history – specifically the era that brought the Atari Jaguar and Virtual Boy? Leave a comment and let us know!

Project Mojo is currently in development by peripheral manufacturer Mad Catz, who are partially responsible for making countless gamers hate going to their friends to play video games, only to be stuck with a controller they don’t want. The micro console is set to release before Christmas, and no price has been announced.

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Source: CVG

tags: Mad Catz, Ouya