Madcatz, otherwise known as the company that make the terrible controller you inevitably get stuck with when you’re player two at a friend’s house, recently announced the Mojo, their first foray into the console market. Based on the android system and bearing more than a passing resemblance to the commercial flop, the Ouya, Madcatz state the Mojo lets you ‘play all your favourite mobile games like never before – in all the glory of 1080p HD!’ No doubt hoping to take advantage of the successes of mobile platform gaming, Madcatz unfortunately seem to be ill-prepared for their first foray into the troubled market.
The Mojo itself seems to lack any sense of identity or a clear purpose. Madcatz have developed a desktop console whilst attempting to jump on the recent cash cow of the mobile games industry, the success of which lies in the convenience of having the game in your pocket. The sacrificing of touchscreen facilities seems a huge trade off in order to play your games in HD, which few android games are optimized for. Madcatz have been relentlessly pushing that the Mojo will have built in access to the Google Play Store and the NVIDIA Tegrazone, as well as the ability to transfer purchases from other app stores including Amazon, but certainly not Apple’s.
Although this seems incredibly counter intuitive as the small market that the Mojo caters for, already shared by mobile devices and the Ouya, means there is little incentive for developers to ensure optimization for the Mojo platform. Customers are able to download the new Bejeweled for their Mojo, but there is little guarantee Popcap will deem it worthwhile to optimise for the platform when their main profits come from elsewhere.
Bizarrely, Madcatz also went on to announce they are ‘not interested in going after the super casual market’, which is strange as they appear to be the core demographic of the console. Well, they would be if it wasn’t for the inconvenience of the desktop device that the super casual market has shunned in preference for their phones and tablets. Madcatz may be chasing after the ‘hardcore’ gamers, but what kind of ‘hardcore’ gaming enthusiast would decide to shun Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Valve in order to solely play games that are available on app stores? Not to mention they cannot play any AAA titles or even indie games widely available on other platforms.
Finally, with an estimated retail price of £219.99 Madcatz is actively ensuring their own failure. The average android mobile device costs around £200, and the similar Ouya selling at just $99, so one struggles to see any possible reason for purchasing the Mojo. Failure for Madcatz at this point seems inevitable, but whether it will be a quick death or a long drawn out massacre, only time will tell.