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Razer introduces $100 game console, virtual reality set, and peripherals
When it comes to Android powered consoles, the list of available consumer options seems to be growing as more and more companies develop their own versions of ways to get your Android games to the big screen. But today at CES, Razer introduced a $100 Android powered console with a twist, as it also has the ability to stream PC games directly to your television.
Razer Forge TV
Razer Forge TV is the name of the device, and is a 4×4-inch Android TV-powered console packing some pretty beefy specs. The Forge TV has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor Quad-Core Krait 450 CPU processor running at 2.5 GHz per core, an Adreno 420 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, an HDMI output (1.4), Bluetooth 4.1+HS, and an ethernet port.
With hardware like this, running Android games won’t present a problem for the mini console, but this particular device has another ace up its sleeve in the form of Cortex Stream. Cortex Stream is Razer’s streaming service that allows you to transmit PC games directly to your television. The service offers low latency HD resolution when streaming, and when the kinks are ironed for the release in the spring of this year (games like Titanfall are currently playable, but aren’t running at a stable 60 frames per second just yet), the console would offer a much cheaper solution to PC streaming than a Steam Box, for example.
In addition to the console, Razer also announced an optional turret keyboard with a foldout out magnetized mouse, along with the Razer Serval Bluetooth controller. The controller looks somewhat similar to an Xbox controller, with a similar design to some other Android console controllers that we’ve seen. It features an adjustable clip for supporting an Android phone, has Bluetooth 3.0, and can be used with or without a cable.
The keyboard is pretty compact, and the foldout space for the mouse is certainly an interesting concept. With a new controller, Android gaming capability, PC gaming capability, and the compact keyboard with foldout mouse, Razer has in essence provided gamers with multiple ways of getting games from multiple platforms to their TV, and seems very serious about expanding their reach to the living room.
If all this wasn’t enough, the company also unveiled their OSVR virtual reality headset, which is in essence an open source platform that supports various types of game engines. The dev kit is scheduled to be released in June this year for $199.99, and although it’s not being touted as an Oculus competitor, the “development device” stance that Razer is taking with this device could certainly help to create a lot of options, especially considering that it can run apps on Windows, Android, Linux and more.
While the OSVR set is certainly interesting, the Razer Forge TV console is very interesting to me. With the reputation Razer has in the gaming community, customers could be more willing to shell out $100 for an Android console that also has PC gaming capability, and could theoretically create problems for $100 Android consoles like the Ouya or the Google Nexus Player that are limited to providing a gaming experience with Android only titles. Depending on how well it works, it could at the same time provide competition for a more expensive device like a Steam Box, making it a very interesting device.
The console is due out in the first quarter of this year, and I’m very curious to see what Razer can do with it.