Mad Catz has been manufacturing gaming accessories for other companies' games consoles for many years, now it is to cut out the middle man and launch a gaming device of its very own. The Mad Catz M.O.J.O. Android Micro Console is a tiny box with huge prospects and Pocket-lint had an inside look at some of its features and potential uses during the E3 videogames trade show in Los Angeles.
Unlike other Android gaming platforms already available or soon to hit market, Mad Catz plans for the M.O.J.O. to be the most-adaptable out there. The Android infrastructure will be an open system - it will feature Google Play, so will not be limited to games or app downloads determined by the host client. Of course, not all games are designed to work on a separate controller, so there might be compatibility issues, but many of them - certainly those who require simple touch controls - will be playable thanks to an interesting feature of the included controller.
Mad Catz has been promoting its GameSmart technology for a while now, with a range of accessories in its line-up being compatible with each other and mobile devices. The new C.T.R.L. R gamepad, one of which comes in the box with the M.O.J.O., features low latency Bluetooth Smart connectivity, alongside conventional Bluetooth, so can be hooked up to a PC, smartphone, tablet or, indeed, the company's own Android console. It also has a unique mouse mode switch that turns the left thumbstick into a mouse, effectively.
That means any game that requires mouselike control is playable instantly. Take Angry Birds, for example: the mouse mode creates a pointer on screen and you can control the game in the same way you would on a PC. It unlocks a swathe of other titles that wouldn't normally be compatible with other manufacturers' controllers.
The M.O.J.O. comes with two USB ports, so you can actually attach a wired mouse and/or keyboard too, and will have Twitter, a browser, an email client and a host of other apps pre-installed.
The box features Wi-Fi, but will also have a wired Ethernet port on launch (which wasn't on the demo model shown at E3). It will also, says Mad Catz, be one of the most powerful Android games consoles on the market when it goes on sale. We know it will feature the Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, but beyond that and the fact that it features 1080p output, specification details are scarce at present.
It won't be the cheapest, we were told, but the included controller also comes with a bracket to attach your Android smartphone for portable gaming. Plus, because you can download Netflix, Lovefilm, BBC iPlayer, Spotify and all manner of other media streaming applications, it will be a worthy competitor to Roku's boxes, let alone Ouya, GameStick and the like.
The Mad Catz C.T.R.L. R gamepad will be available as a separate accessory this summer, with the console following around Christmas time. Prices are yet to be announced.