GamePop regroups for spring, signs Ubisoft, Warners

Predicting a big explosion for games on TV, the GamePop microgaming console gets delayed until later this year but signs on major game makers Warner Brothers, Ubisoft, and GREE.

Seth Rosenblatt Former Senior Writer / News
Senior writer Seth Rosenblatt covered Google and security for CNET News, with occasional forays into tech and pop culture. Formerly a CNET Reviews senior editor for software, he has written about nearly every category of software and app available.
Seth Rosenblatt
2 min read
BlueStacks' GamePop has been delayed, but promises better content -- and a better controller -- for those who wait. BlueStacks

You might've thought the game console world was settled territory, but GamePop is hoping to change that perception.

BlueStacks' microgaming GamePop console, announced last year, has been delayed until late in the second quarter, according to a company representative. But at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, they've got what they hope is enough to keep players enticed: the big guns, major game makers.

Warner Brothers, UbiSoft, and GREE have signed on to distribute existing games, and perhaps new ones, on the Android-powered console that lets you play mobile games on your TV, joining smaller game vendors such as Glu Mobile and Halfbrick. The move is an interesting one, as major game developers have so far been heavily reliant on major gaming consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation for their games. It also represents the first time that traditional console-game developers have agreed to distribute their games to TV.

When asked about the delay from the planned winter release, BlueStacks's Chief Executive Rosen Sharma said: "When we announced we thought direct sales would be our only route. Incoming interest from strategic partners worldwide, particularly cable companies, has made us realize there is broader pull than we realized."

A cable company deal would add even more heft to not just GamePop, but the small but growing microconsole gaming business as a whole. GamePop is built around a Netflix-style service, where games are available for the console as part of an all-you-can-play subscription costing $7 per month.

Also of note, GamePop has rejiggered their controller. While you can use your Android or iOS phone to play your games, the included controller now uses a system similar to the Wii controller to adapt touch-based games for the TV. When connected, it will show a dot on the TV that the controller manipulates via its own gyroscope and accelerometer. Buttons on the controller let you "touch" the screen.

"To be honest, without being able to integrate our Distributed Sensor Technology on behalf of our gaming partners, we would not be getting such big names on board," Sharma said. "The Wii-like controller mechanic turns out to be perfectly suited for touch-based games."

The distribution, game partners, and hardware moves are potentially game-changers, but they won't mean much until GamePop becomes available to the public and to its early supporters.

Update, 1:27 p.m. PT: Added more details on the deal with game makers.