The most exciting news in the video game industry in 2013 all revolves around all of the new gaming platforms becoming available. Sony and Microsoft are releasing the next generation of their signature consoles this year, new gaming options are opening up for Android and Linux gaming, and Google is rumored to be getting into the console hardware business.
M.O.J.O.
M.O.J.O. (which we’re not 100% clear what it stands for yet), is an Android-powered micro-console. It’s comparable to the hyped up Ouya, but it’s yet more powerful! The gaming equipment geniuses at Mad Catz are responsible for this beauty. The M.O.J.O. system allows you to access the Google Play and Amazon app stores directly from your TV, and more, it’s an open source gaming console with 1080p HD capabilities! Get your wallets ready, M.O.J.O. is going to be amazing!

Ouya
Ouya is a new Android based game console that strives to be affordable and hacker friendly. Ouya’s digital game store consists solely of games that include some free-to-play element. The Ouya is designed to be easily rooted, making any console a potential development and testing console for independent developers. While the selection of games is still limited, the Ouya’s developer friendly approach could mean that many more games will soon be created for or ported to the device. It may prove to be especially popular with independent developers unable to afford the high fees and restrictive policies of more high-end consoles. And with a price tag of only $99 and emphasis on free-to-play games, it may prove popular with many consumers as well.

Google Console
Only three days after the Ouya hit retail outlets, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google is working on their own Android game console. While no firm details are available, this move by Google may represent a shift in the video game industry toward low-end and mid-range consoles that try to bridge the gap between traditional gaming done on high-end consoles and more casual gaming done mostly on smartphones and tablets.

Xbox One
Microsoft’s eighth generation game console, the Xbox One, is scheduled to released near the end of 2013. The Xbox One will include notable improvements over the Xbox 360. The device will not only serve as a game console, but also a full home entertainment system, with more options for streaming, recording, and cataloging content than available on earlier generation consoles. While there have been concerns over privacy issues and the ability to play used games, Xbox One is still something to look forward to this year.

Play Station 4
In direct competition with the new Xbox will be Sony’s new Play Station 4. The newest iteration of the Play Station will feature Play Station Camera, a motion sensing device similar to Microsoft’s Kinect. Another promising feature is the Play Station Mobile App, that will allow uses to interact with the Play Station using their tablets and smartphones.

Steam for Linux
Valve’s Steam distribution software became available for Linux users in 2013. This expands the market for PC games to a whole new set of customers and greatly increases the number of games available under Linux. Valve is actively encouraging development of Linux games and game ports to be sold in the Steam store. The availability of Steam on Linux is also a major step toward Valve’s goal of entering the console market with their own Linux-based Steam Box console, which is expected sometime in 2013.

2013 is year of experimentation and growth in the video game industry, as console manufacturers and game developers try to tap into new and undeserved markets with new platforms and pricing strategies. The above platforms represent some of the most promising and exciting developments to come out of these efforts.

Mark Cord

wooblering@gmail.com