Samsung Ventures added its name on Wednesday to the growing list of investors betting on Android games with a $13 million investment in GamePop, a dark horse entrant in the burgeoning but unsettled Android gaming world.
Samsung's investment is the strongest endorsement yet of the white-label Android microgaming console and gaming service, which was first reported on by CNET and announced in 2013. GamePop plans to be a service and a set-top box that will allow you to play Android and iOS games on your TV, similar in many ways to the Ouya gaming console and Google's own TV-based Android gaming plans announced at Google I/O this year. Originally promised to ship during the winter of 2013, and then the second quarter of 2014, the console has already gone through at least one major revision and still has yet to make it to consumers' hands.
A GamePop representative said that "only a couple" of people requested refunds on their preorders, which the company filled.
GamePop's delayed launch hasn't stopped the service from attracting attention. The Samsung support effectively doubles the total outside investment in GamePop to $26 million. The other half of its funding has come from Andreesen-Horowitz, Qualcomm, Ignition Partners, Sumitomo, and Intel, among others.
"Big, public companies getting behind mobile gaming on TV is the best thing that's happened to the space so far," said Rosen Sharma, the chief executive of BlueStacks, which makes the GamePop console as well as an eponymous desktop software for running Android apps on Windows and Mac. "It has made for a huge untapped market."
"We're now the leading vendor for strategic cable companies and TV OEMs to tap," he told CNET.
GamePop will run some iOS games, and it has signed on "hundreds" of game developers, the company said, including well-known labels Warner Brothers, Ubisoft, and GREE. However, the company has yet to announce a distributor. A GamePop representative said the announcement is imminent but added that the GamePop white-label consoles fans paid for last summer will ship after the distributor announcement.
The representative declined to comment when asked if GamePop will ship on Samsung devices.
GamePop is not Samsung's only bet on Android gaming. It's also released the similarly-named GamePad in Europe, a full-sized game controller with a dock for Android phones for a more portable microgaming experience.
Update, 10:00 a.m. PT: Adds additional background information.