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After many months of waiting and multiple delays, Android-powered mini-console GameStick is finally in the home stretch to hit store shelves. According to AndroidCommunity, the Kickstarter success just got the green light from the FCC for its optional docking system, putting the console on target for its release date of October 29th. But has all this waiting diminished the GameStick’s impact?
GameStick creator PlayJam had initially seen great success: the company’s February 2013 Kickstarter to bring the GameStick to life was a roaring success, raising more than six times the goal amount to net nearly $650,000. Then, in March during the Game Developer Conference, the company announced a lucrative retail and product partnership with GameStop — a deal that gave the GameStick a pre-order opportunity and a list of familiar games to add to its library.
But the little device, which consists of just a USB-sized stick and a controller with an optional docking system, ran into production delays and quality hiccups that pushed back the console’s tight timeframe. Initially slated to be on shelves by April with a cost of $79.99, PlayJam delayed its hardware to June, August, September, and then finally its October 29 release date. Initially on-track to get to market before competitor (and fellow Kickstarter alum) Ouya, the GameStick is now months behind.
The FCC approval for the dock is another sign that things are finally moving in the right direction, but it’s difficult to overlook the damage done when you’re late to the party. The GameStick is on sale less than a month before the big consoles, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, make it to store shelves — which puts it at risk to be the little dog at the bottom of the pile. Even worse, the company is getting on the shelves well after the Ouya received its mixed debut and the Nvidia Shield failed to gain enough traction for a wider audience. While PlayJam has done its best to augment the GameStick for more well-rounded media play (unfortunately at the added cost of $49.99 for the dock), it’s an unstable position at best.
In any case, thousands of backers who bolstered the GameStick from the get-go will finally get their console. Hopefully, the long wait will be worth it.