BlueStacks, the company known for helping users run Android apps on the Mac and PC, is preparing to launch an Android gaming console designed to compete directly with those from Ouya, Gamestick and even Nvidia. The free (well, sort of) console called GamePop will ship with a controller - a $100 value, according to BlueStacks.
The company is taking an interesting approach with the console by pairing it with a subscription model. For $6.99 per month, gamers will have unlimited access to the company's catalog of mobile games - upwards of 500 titles said to be worth $250.
Gamers are encouraged to use the controller included with the console or their Android / iOS smartphone to control the action. Unfortunately that's about all we know at the time as BlueStacks hasn't revealed any information regarding the tech specs of the console, ship date or even the design of the included controller.
For a limited time (through the end of May), BlueStacks is offering GamePop free of charge to anyone that pre-orders the console and agrees to a full year of service. Seeing as monthly service will cost $6.99 and there's a $10 fee for shipping, you'll be paying roughly $94 for the opportunity. We have no idea how much the hardware will sell for on its own, however.
This isn't the first time we've seen a business model like this as Sega experimented with a very similar platform in the mid 1990s called Sega Channel. That service, which offered gamers unlimited access to 50 different titles per month via an adapter for the Genesis console, ultimately shuttered after less than four years on the market.
Of course, online services like Sega Channel and the XBAND were well before their time so their failures are forgiven. But now in 2013, will gamers buy into a subscription model with unlimited access to games or is it destined for failure like others before it?