China's frankenstein console

Building China’s Frankenstein Games Console

In July, China lifted its ban on games consoles, which was welcome news for the industry’s manufacturers. However, hot on the heels of the new freedom, comes the Ouye (name may sound familiar) – the Frankenstein console from China that combines PS4 and Xbox One stylings.

China’s ban on consoles came in 2000, in an attempt to save its children from wasting their time playing video games. As a result, PC gaming is hugely popular in China. Ironically, the main games consoles have been manufactured in China for export, with some ending up on the black market. But this summer, the ban was lifted, in a bid to promote the industry in China.

The Ouye, not to be confused with the Ouya,  has the sleek rhomboid lines of the PS4, with the Xbox One’s air vents added. The controller is basically a black, knock-off of the Xbox One design, with some extra buttons added, instead of the ‘X’ crystal. They’re not fooling anyone, but China holds no truck with copyright laws, so blatant copies of popular items, even cars, are the norm.

The Android-based console is designed to stream games, TV and films, using a variety of apps, so it won’t be playing PS4 or Xbox One games.  The console is currently looking for backers on the Chinese crowdfunding site JD and if it gets made it will cost just £44 or $70. However, first they need $15,000 from backers.

Whilst the Ouye may never even see shop shelves, I began to think about my own Frankenstein console. If I could cherry pick the best aspects of every console, what would it have? So here is the wishlist for my dream console, which I dub the Omnisole:

  1. Power – my dream console, a.k.a. Omnisole would pack a punch under the hood, to give it longevity. I would say, make it upgradeable, but that would make it a PC, which means some owners would be left behind, if they couldn’t afford the latest kit. So you can’t upgrade it, but it lasts a good 10 years.
  2. Cross-platform gaming – I want to be able to play with all my fellow gamers, whether they’re on PC or even those old consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One. We’d all unite in a happy, hippy play space of yayness.
  3. App happy – I’d like access to any TV or media apps, not just the ones my console manufacturer has done deals with. The PS4 doesn’t have All4 at the moment, but my dream console does, along with the BFI (British Film Institute) Player.
  4. All games – there’s no exclusivity with my dream console. It’s great because I only need to buy the Omnisole and I can play the latest Halo, The Last Guardian, the latest indie games and Pikmin all in one box. Hooray for crazy fantasy land.
  5. Backwards compatibility – Omnisole has access to any games ever. If it’s on a disc, it can play it, but even better than that, it also has emulators for retro gaming.
  6.  AR – Omnisole has managed to blend augmented reality into my favourite games, so my living room and my coffee table are transformed into parts of a game setting. If you want VR, you have to buy the UniCast, which only lamer gamers play – this may be a fantasy, but there’s still console rivalry, you know. I’ve not lost all touch with reality.

What features would your dream console have?


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