If the subsidized purchase model works so well in the mobile phone industry, why can’t it work in other markets as well? That seems to be the thought process behind BlueStacks’ latest Android-powered gaming console, the aptly-named GamePop Mini.
This pint-sized version of the previously-announced GamePop console does away with the $129 base price and can be yours free of charge – well, sort of. BlueStacks will ship you a GamePop Mini console up front so long as you agree to a 12 month subscription service used to deliver their selection of games.
This subscription sells for $6.99 per month and can be canceled at any time although if you cancel before the 12 month period is up, you will be required to return the console to BlueStacks in working order and pay a $25 restocking fee. Otherwise, after a year of payments (which works out to $83.88) the system is yours free and clear.
The console itself runs Android 4.2 and connects to a television set using the supplied HDMI cable. Given its smaller nature, however, the GamePop Mini is a bit underpowered compared to its bigger sibling. It should still be able to support most games according to a BlueStacks spokesperson.
The GamePop Mini will be available for pre-order on July 1 and should ship sometime this winter. Pre-orders for the larger console opened on May 9 and have reportedly seen stronger-than-expected sales. Anyone ordering before June 30 can also score the full-sized system for free with a subscription.