BlueStacks unveils GamePop Mini 'free' gaming console

Watch out Sony and Microsoft - BlueStacks just announced a new console that will be priced considerably cheaper than both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. In fact, BlueStacks' GamePop Mini is slated to be "free." Well, almost free.

Users will pay $7 per month for the first 12 months they own the GamePop Mini for a grand total of $84. Afterwards, the console is theirs forever. If users choose to return the console before 12 months are up, they'll have to pay a $25 restocking fee.

"We have always planned on having a free console option," said BlueStacks CEO, Rosen Sharma. "The biggest value of the GamePop service is its content - not the box. Hardware costs have come down so fast that we're able to undercut the rest of the market. With the free promotion we've been doing in June we're already seeing a ton of adoption. That volume then attracts more developers and therefore more and better content. It's building momentum."

In May, BlueStacks unveiled its flagship console, simply called GamePop. The GamePop was also available for "free," with monthly payments that totaled about $94. The pricing on the first GamePop console was only a promotion however, while the GamePop Mini is intended to permanently cost $7 per month. Both consoles run on Android 4.2.

Unlike the PS4 and Xbox One, the GamePop Mini is purely a gaming device and the value proposition is all about the content. BlueStacks says it already has 500 titles in its library and is working continually to make their platform more attractive for developers.

"We want to make things as easy as possible for app developers to come on board," said Ben Armstrong of the company's developer relations team. "There is a virtuous circle between great content and volume that we're having a lot of early success jumpstarting that so far. The launch titles a service comes with are critical." 

Another unique point about the GamePop consoles is that they have a very different target demographic than the more mainstream offerings on the market. GamePop is geared towards kids. While the company says there's nothing preventing them from offering more adult-oriented content in the future, they'll continue focusing on kids for now because "they play a lot of games."

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