During E3 2013, I managed to take a brief peek at the upcoming Android micro-console from Mad Catz, the M.O.J.O. Despite its name, the device isn't exactly "micro", reminding me of OnLive's own palm-sized game-streaming console, only with a few more components. It’s slated to launch later this year, and unlike another Android console hitting store shelves later this month, it won't be a closed network, allowing gamers to play their favorite games purchased from Google Play on the device. Nope, no walled garden here kids.
"People are already comfortable buying games from Google Play, Amazon, TegraZone or any other retailer of their choice. They play those games on their phones and tablets already, and with M.O.J.O., they will be able to play them in the living room at no additional cost," the company said. "The same approach applies to movies, music and any other digital media. Our focus is on providing the best hardware configured for performance, not forcing people to buy content from us."
The on-site rep refrained from disclosing the innards given the amount of time M.O.J.O. still has until it lands on store shelves. That's because the company wants the best possible configuration on the market at launch, meaning Mad Catz plans to surpass even what Nvidia has crammed into its tasty SHIELD handheld. Tegra 4 in the M.O.J.O.? Probably not.
The pitch with this device is that it's more than just a game console. A USB hub was plugged into the back, allowing the company to show that users can connect a keyboard and mouse, open up a document editor, and use M.O.J.O. like a small Android based computer. The I/O panel on the back actually plays host to two or three USB ports, HDMI output, a headphone jack and a microUSB port.
The console will ship with the C.T.R.L. wireless gamepad, an Xbox-like controller with two Bluetooth radios, one for legacy Bluetooth devices and one that supports v4.0. I played a quick round of Riptide using the peripheral, but the rep also demonstrated that owners can also use the mouse to sling birds in Rovio's Angry Birds.
Still, Mad Catz is quite proud of its controller, calling it "revolutionary" and using a patent-pending design. The Bluetooth 4.0 aspect promises up to forty hours on a single charge and a low latency of 6ms (a standard Bluetooth controller has 100ms). And like the MOGA controllers, it features a clip that cradles your Android smartphone, allowing users to game on the go.
The upcoming C.T.R.L. wireless gamepad also features media buttons, and a three-position switch allowing users to move from Game Smart mode, Mouse mode and PC mode. In Game Smart mode, the controller acts like your standard gaming peripheral. In Mouse Mode, the left thumbstick replicates a finger of sorts so that gamers can play "touch" titles like Angry Birds. In PC mode, the devices replicates a PC gaming controller.
Mad Catz plans to sell the C.T.R.L. wireless gamepad separately as well later this year.
Also on hand was the company's massively huge Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition 2 peripheral connected to the Xbox One (Mad Catz was the only third-party company to have the console on-site). Killer Instinct was the game of choice, and proved to be quite popular in the "press" section of the Mad Catz booth. This controller is slated to launch alongside the Xbox One this holiday season.