Kickstarter backers helped PlayJam raise $650,000 to develop the GameStick console, but maybe what the company really needs is a motivational book with the message: "Just ship, already."
GameStick production molds are ready, the industrial design is finished, and yet PlayJam's shipping target is slipping once again. This time the date moves from June to early August with the products arriving at the homes of Kickstarter backers around the middle of the month.
PlayJam says it needs the extra time to perfect the GameStick's user interface.
"We have not yet had the feedback that we wanted prior to finalizing the UI and going ahead with mass production," PlayJam recently said on its Kickstarter blog. "It would be disingenuous of us to cut out this process...We have therefore taken the decision to push back the whole project."
GameStick is an Android-based gaming console that is essentially a controller and a thumb drive that hooks into an open HDMI port. The thumb drive is the computing power for the console and is inserted into the back of a Smart TV. When not in use, the GameStick lives inside the controller housing.
Google, they ain't
Despite the delays, it's hard to call the GameStick vaporware with all the production activity involved. And yet, PlayJam says it wants to delay shipping because of user-interface issues.
It's not clear why the company didn't just start shipping in June as it planned to do and then issue an over-the-air update to consoles once the UI was finalized. Even if the company delayed the official retail release until the UI was perfected, at least all those eager Kickstarter backers would have the much-anticipated units in their hands.
We've reached out to PlayJam about this and will update this post should the company respond.
While many GameStick fans and Kickstarter backers remain patient as PlayJam goes through the development process, others are getting fed up. "Less than 15 days to get from china (by ship) to our homes ?!!? Ok, see you in early August for another post announcing ... another delay," said Kickstarter backer Leugim.
"Many of us expected this product months ago, while a few delays are okay and understandable this is starting to get kind of disheartening," said Michael Parillo. "We want to play games."
Others aren't buying the software issue that PlayJam says is the reason for the delay. "If software is the issue.. i suppose that can be done via a OTA update later," said backer Vikas Prabhu. "Please be clear on whats the real issue......we have supported you for good.. so will also support if you are in trouble."
Whatever the reason for the GameStick delay, it only gives more time to PlayJam competitor and fellow Kickstarter alumnus Ouya as the primary Android-based gaming console on the market.
Ouya began shipping to its early backers in March and is set to ship to retail customers starting June 25.
However, Ouya also has seen its fair share of delays. Most recently, the company pushed back its retail launch from June 4 to next Tuesday in order to meet greater-than-expected demand.