M.O.J.O vs Ouya: Can the open source solution take on the Kickstarter sensation?

Features Damien McFerran 15:05, 8 Jul 2013

Damien McFerran talks to peripheral manufacturer Mad Catz to see if its M.O.J.O Android gaming device can take on Ouya

Ouya has passed from Kickstarter sensation to slightly-less-appealing reality, but the Android micro-console revolution is far from over.

Other challengers are waiting in the wings to steal victory from under Ouya’s nose, one of which is famed peripheral manufacturer Mad Catz, which is readying its Android-based M.O.J.O. console for launch soon. The company has been somewhat reluctant to release any details regarding the system, so we sat down with Mad Catz Global PR and Communications Director Alex Verrey to discuss it in a little more detail.

The Android micro-console arena - which didn't exist this time last year - is set to become quite crowded in 2013. How will M.O.J.O. differentiate itself from the likes of GameStick, Ouya and GamePop?

That’s a good question and it’s truly amazing to see how quickly Android gaming evolves and continues to mature. Mad Catz want to take a leadership position in mobile gaming and M.O.J.O. is being directed first and foremost at the passionate gamer. Unlike other Android based gaming systems, our aim is to provide the very best Android gaming experience possible.

That means the latest, greatest and most powerful Android hardware, a revolutionary patent-pending Bluetooth Smart mobile controller and a truly open and inclusive approach. Mad Catz are committed to providing the hardware, the gamer brings the games! We’re not tying the gamer into a complex subscription system, not pushing you towards a closed environment or a walled garden.

The gamer can buy games from Google Play, Amazon or wherever else they choose, and we’re going to provide the best way to play those games. Day one, gamers have access to hundreds of thousands of games and applications, including the ability to download games they already own on other Android platforms for free.

This is a marked contrast to the small pool of games or restrictive subscription models being offered on other systems. We think it’s a fairer approach and ultimately the one which gamers will flock to.

Will Mad Catz be exploiting its selection of controllers when it comes to MOJO? How easy will it be for users to pick up new pads and use them with the console?

Absolutely, the M.O.J.O. includes our revolutionary patent-pending C.T.R.L.R Wireless GamePad. The controller we include allows gamers to use touchscreen games on their big TV and is the first controller to include Bluetooth classic and Bluetooth Smart (4.0) technology.

Bluetooth Smart provides far less latency than found with regular Bluetooth controllers, as well as providing staggering battery life (around 45 hours with 2 AAA batteries) and low levels of interference. We think that the C.T.R.L.R is the very best way to play M.O.J.O. but importantly, our ecosystem is all part of GameSmart, our technology initiative that we announced at this years’ CES show.

With GameSmart, we are pushing towards a fair, simple and open industry standardisation. This means that not only will our C.T.R.L.R work with all manner of Bluetooth gaming devices, but should they wish, gamers can use a wide variety of USB or Bluetooth mice, keyboards and controllers with their M.O.J.O. console.

We provide a full ecosystem of compatible mobile products but we don’t force the gamer into using them. We think that’s the fairest way to proceed for the gamer.

Can you tell us what kind of software MOJO will be running? Will it be Android 4.2 with a custom skin?

Some aspects of the OS are still being tweaked and subject to change but at this time, our plan is to use standard Android OS. Most gamers have told us they would prefer we kept things simple. We are planning on shipping M.O.J.O. with Android 4.2 and the console firmware is fully upgradeable also. Again, these details are subject to change prior to launch.

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Mad Catz certainly has a big hill to climb. Not only are they coming late to market compared to other Android consoles, they have to deal with the brand stigma. Ouya is fresh and new as far as a brandname. Mad Catz has the stigma of being the cheap controller you bought as a spare and make your friends use when they're over playing video games. With how cheap, plastic fantastic their controller looks, I can't see them getting a foothold in the market with this device.

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