Mad Catz, the popular video game accessory maker, will soon enter the growing Android console market with its new Project MOJO console, which we were able to get a few minutes to try out.
Like other Android consoles Project MOJO is a very small box that’s easily hidden away. The size also makes it easily portable so users can take it with them as a sort of portable gaming system. The device itself is about the same size as an Apple TV or a Roku box, but has a unique angular design.
What sets Project MOJO apart from other Android consoles is that it runs stock Android. Mad Catz won’t restrict where users can get their games or apps from, and they’re free to install any app from the Google Play Store or sideload apps from other places.
Like any video game console users interact with the Project MOJO through a controller, in this case the Mad Catz CNTRLR, which looks and feels very much like an Xbox 360 controller. The controller does use glossy plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap at all. Like other recent Mad Catz controllers it feels about as good as any controller from Microsoft or Sony.
Stock Android is surprisingly easy to navigate with the CNTRLR, moving the left stick highlights individual apps, like using a trackpad or ball in an older Android device. The Mad Catz CNTRLR will also have a mouse mode so users can move a mouse cursor around the screen with the left stick, though it wasn’t implemented in the version we tested.
We were able to test Dead Trigger and Grand Theft Auto III on the Mad Catz Project MOJO, and both games played naturally with the controller. Dead trigger played like any standard console first-person shooter. and Grand Theft Auto III played just like the PlayStation 2 classic.
The Mad Catz CNTRLR will also let users play touch-centric games like Angry Birds using mouse mode, should they want to.
The games looked great on the prototype hardware used to show them off, which currently uses an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor. Mad Catz is working closely with NVIDIA for the console, but made it clear that Project MOJO won’t ship with Tegra 3. Presumably the final version of the console will use a Tegra 4 processor that will make games look better and run more smoothly.
Mad Catz Project MOJO will come to stores sometime later this year. There is no price for the console yet, but it will likely cost more than the $100 Ouya console as Mad Catz will only make money on the hardware and not the software.