PlayMG, a new startup formed by veterans of the electronics, game and social industries, is launching the first dedicated Android gaming portable, called the MG, this holiday season. The MG is a completely Wi-Fi based device so their are no data plans, and the unit itself comes with a suggested retail price of $169.99.
Eager consumers who support the device on Kickstarter can get it for less. The first 2,000 early adopters who visit Kickstarter and pledge $99 will be rewarded with an MG, while other supporters will be able to order their MG for $149. [Note: the Kickstarter page will go live tomorrow.]
When the MG ships it'll come with preloaded games and a cash credit toward future game purchases. The MG runs on Android 4.0 - Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), which "means many of the great game apps designed to operate on ICS can be fully experienced on the MG, unlike many of the mobile devices locked into data plans by service providers that haven't upgraded," the company noted.
Looking at the portable's specifications, it features a 4-inch touchscreen, 4GB built in memory with SD port for expandable memory ability, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera and ability to shoot and play video, and a stereo headset jack. [Update: we now know that it has a Cortex A5 processor.]
Additionally, PlayMG has introduced an MG Origins Avatar System, which means that as gamers use the MG, "they gain points, and can customize and unlock the origin story of their own personal gaming companion."
Another interesting feature is the MG Family Collaboration System, which includes the "DebitSmart" Digital Wallet and "Remote Trust" notification function. Essentially, parents can establish a reloadable debit account for their teen's MG and create "game allowances" that link their credit card or bank account to whatever set amount they determine. This ensures no surprise charges.
As for the MG's "Remote Trust" notification system, that allows kids to discover, download and play the games from the app marketplace, and at the same time parents can opt in to receive email updates on their kids' MG activity.
"Like the music business before it, the gaming industry is experiencing a dramatic digital transformation, where emerging 'app based gaming' is becoming the dominant method of playing and purchasing games," said T. Scott Edwards, PlayMG Founding Partner and Marketing Guru. "The MG's price will mean some kids will be able to enjoy app gaming for the very first time, and parents will be happy to discover the MG will mean their kids are finally going to stop asking to borrow their smartphones and tablets."
"We kept the startup of our company and the MG system close to the vest until we felt we could announce it in all its glory after extensive R&D and multiple rounds of prototype testing," he added. "Our approach has meant we can be more nimble and innovative than the 'Big Guys' because we aren't stuck with their large overhead costs, legacy businesses and slow corporate structure."
Logistics of any device launch can be complicated, so PlayMG has decided to sign up with Fulfillment by Amazon. The company is also currently in talks with major retailers throughout the country.