Russia continues work on homegrown game console despite technology and scale issues

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade is actively seeking a company to develop a gaming console, following a directive from Vladimir Putin issued in March. The ministry is also in discussions with businesses and other departments to determine the necessary resources and support measures for this project, reports 3DNews. Experts doubt the project's feasibility without government subsidies, citing significant time and investment needs. 

The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade is initiating the development of a domestic gaming console, and discussing necessary support measures with market participants, following a presidential directive. Experts are skeptical about the project's feasibility without substantial government subsidies. They point out that no Russian company is currently capable of producing a console comparable to Microsoft Xbox or Sony PlayStation, as these rivals rely on leading-edge technologies and cost hundreds of millions to develop. 

It should be noted that consoles like PlayStation and Xbox are typically sold at near cost and then Sony and Microsoft make profits from game content. Alternative solutions, which involve less upfront development costs, are reportedly being considered too, including the development of a device similar to the Valve Steam Deck, which is essentially a portable PC in a form factor suitable for gaming on the go, or creating gaming 'sticks' for Smart TVs. 

By June 15, the government was supposed to "consider the issue of organizing the production of stationary and portable gaming consoles, as well as creating an operating system and a cloud system for delivering games and software to users," reports RBC. In fact, there are currently three major domestic cloud gaming platforms in Russia: VK Play, MTS Fog Play, and Yandex's Plus Gaming service. 

"If the corresponding decision is made, the process of developing the gaming console will need to be synchronized with the development or adaptation of games for it," a spokesperson for the ministry is reported to have said.

For a successful launch, the project would require approximately 150 games across various genres, including about a dozen high-budget titles, according to Russian experts cited by RBC. Going forward, it would be necessary to ensure sales of at least 20 million units, priced between $500 and $600 each, according to the experts. Yet, even not-so-successful Microsoft Xbox One was sold in quantities of around 28.5 million units worldwide. Selling 20 million expensive game consoles in Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan could be an impossible mission.

Anton Shilov
Contributing Writer

Anton Shilov is a contributing writer at Tom’s Hardware. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • peachpuff
    Ahahahahahahahaha lolol you made me spill my coffee Anton :ROFLMAO:
  • TheOtherOne
    Good on them, more competition is always best for consumers.

    Right now, tech industry is pretty much under the influence of USA since it's all regulated under their laws despite being manufactured and produced in third world countries for all the benefits to obviously increase profits.
  • Neilbob
    Luckily, not much hardware is needed to play Tetris.
  • rluker5
    They should work on making the games first. Not nearly as much holding them back from making well optimized and well thought out games. They can probably get by getting gaming hardware from China while they work on theirs. And you can still make a good game that runs on a potato. Some reason modern developers have just forgotten how.
  • Justin Goldberg
    This is an interesting idea that could spur on more open architectures and Chip designs.and give us options beyond the wintel, Xbox, sony, nintendo hegemony.

    Jean Louis Gassee created BeOS hobbit hardware at half the cost of a 1993 Intel 486 because he used multiple chips. Intel finally created multi core CPUs in the 2000s.

    Riscv is getting there. I can buy a 64 core riscv desktop for 2000$ from China.
  • ivan_vy
    android-like OS , HarmonyOS? and ARM chips. essentially low cost android console looks the only viable option: Hardware locked so developers can have a target performance, as others said, ecosystem is the key and the hardest part.