When GameStick put its $79 game console on Kickstarter last January, the projected April delivery date seemed a little too good to be true.
Turns out, it was. The diminutive gaming system, which connects directly to a television’s HDMI input and plays Android-based games, will now ship to Kickstarter backers in mid-August. The retail version will be available some time after that.
PlayJam, the company behind GameStick, said the user interface took longer to prepare than hoped, partly because the final version of the hardware is slightly different from the development version. Despite the holdup, PlayJam still wants to give its “Designed by Me” backers–50 people who paid $300 for access to an early prototype–a chance to give their feedback.
“In the spirit of Kickstarter it would be disingenuous of us to cut out this process and not give those backers the opportunity to comment on and help perfect the UI prior to completion,” a post on the company’s Kickstarter page says.
It’s understandable why PlayJam would want to put some extra polish on its system before launch. When GameStick’s biggest rival, Ouya, shipped its Kickstarter edition console a couple months back, some reviewers criticized it for problems with both the hardware and the software. Although Ouya deserves credit for actually shipping a Kickstarter project on time, it might have benefited from a little more refinement before its public debut. (Ouya says that it’s worked out the kinks for the retail version, which launches on June 25.)
I do wish GameStick had offered a more realistic estimate to begin with, rather than projecting the same ship date as Ouya and coming nowhere close. Maybe the rule for Kickstarter creators should be to take whatever delivery estimate they’ve come up with, and add a few months cushion.