Next-Gen Game Systems You’ve Never Heard Of

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It was recently announced that Playstation 4 has officially outsold Microsoft’s Xbox One console, but there’s another side to the next-gen console war, one that doesn’t involve the Big Three. In the shadows, tenacious developers are developing indie game consoles with stunning graphics, minimal price points and incredible flexibility to entice discerning gamers, with many taking advantage of operating systems like Android to ensure widespread game support. Here are five of the newest ones to hit the market, as well as some that aren’t on store shelves quite yet. Welcome to the real next generation, gentlemen.
 
 

Nvidia Shield Tablet
This is the successor to Nvidia’s Shield console, similar in function but now in the more familiar form of a tablet. And it’s entirely made for games. Just like any high-end tablet these days, it sports an Android OS, cameras on both sides and a 1080p screen. Unlike most tablets, it makes use of Nvidias uber-powerful Tegra K1 processor, so powerful in fact that it allows the Shield Tablet to run several PC games such as Half-Life 2, War Thunder and Portal without any framerate stuttering. If the eight-inch screen gets tiresome after a while, you can also hook it up to an television via an HDMI cable, essentially turning it into a more standard game console. This one’s releasing next week on July 29.

 
 

Razer reinvents the gaming PC with Project Christine
While there has been a push to bring PC gaming into the living room to entice consoler players, the Project Christine concept from Razer aims to introduce newcomers to the world of hardcore rig building by removing the need for technical knowledge from the equation. The fully-modular computer design makes upgrades as easy as slotting a new hard drive, graphics card, or power supply onto its central pylon. The plug-and-play upgradeability also extends to multiple operating systems. Each individual unit of the rig is fitted with liquid cooling and noise cancellation to make components that much easier to overclock. It’s not for sale at the moment.

 
 

Mad Katz’ M.O.J.O. micro-console and media box

This diminutive console works with everything. No, really. Mad Katz built M.O.J.O. without walls, allowing players to purchase games, films and music from any online storefront they choose, including Google Play and Amazon. Its TV streaming capabilities include most service that AppleTV and the like carry, such as Netflix and HBO GO. However, it’s still a game console at heart. As such, the hardware comes equipped to handle most games, too, including a powerful Nvidia Tegra 4 mobile processor clocked at 1.8Ghz and the ability to output a 4K Ultra High Definition video to your television (or a tablet, or a PC, or a mobile phone—you get the picture). If the console itself can’t handle it, the OnLive app allows users to play PC games streamed from Steam on their flatscreens.
 
 

The upgraded Ouya
Just over a year ago, Ouya set out to revolutionize gaming with an incredibly accessible, cheap console the size of a computer mouse that allowed users to stream a vast library of games to their TVs, all without ever having to buy a physical copy. Earlier this year, it just got its first upgrade. Amid news that the Kickstarted console had amassed 840 games and 36,000 loyal developers, the slightly more expensive unit ($130 instead of $100) boasts double its original on-board memory, a better controller and boosted WiFi. Ouya is now poised to develop consoles that will come built into a next generation of smart TVs.

 
 

Google and Razer’s upcoming micro-console
Google and high-end gaming hardware brand Razer announced last month at the Google I/O conference that they’re working on a living room console that will bridge the gap between entertainment a gaming on your television. What we know now is that it will run Android TV, and there’s a high chance that the system will allow gamers to stream or download games to their console. Razer is known for its high-end graphics, backing up Google’s claim that the console will successfully run hardcore games that continue to dominate AAA releases. It is expected to drop later this fall.

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