Android desperately wants to encroach on your living room TV, but how that’s going to be accomplished is not yet known. With Chromecast, supporting apps like Netflix can stream content from your Android device. Rumors of Android TV have yet to pan out. Miracast is lost in the shuffle, seemingly defeated by the advent of Google’s $35 dongle. Then there is Android gaming, a sector that has just started taking shape, and is seeing rapid expansion.
First to the start line, and quietly so, was Green Throttle and their Arena app. The app was meant to give a multi-player experience to Android gaming, and seemed sublime: a conduit for Developers which took no commission. It had proprietary controllers, and was built in a time when an HDMI I/O was the only way to get your Android screen on the big screen.
Via a post on their website, Green Throttle has announce the shuttering of Arena. The app has been withdrawn from the Play Store, but will continue working for those who have already downloaded it. It will also disappear from the Amazon App Store, and all back-end support will cease.
It’s not yet clear if Green Throttle — founded by Guitar Hero creator Charles Huang — was really putting effort into being a console, or simply testing the waters after a $6 million funding run. With Ouya, GameStick, M.O.J.O. from Mad Catz and NVIDIA’s Shield now in the mix, it’s entirely possible Arena was simply outclassed. Its footprint was relatively small, and came at a time when nobody was really sure what Android gaming was going to be.
It could just be the first domino to fall, too. With reviewers not overwhelmed by Ouya’s build quality or GameStick’s anything, it seems only the biggest players in Android gaming will make it. Ouya thrived on a stellar kickstarted run which funded them above and beyond what they hoped, but has failed to garner widespread adoption amongst Developers. M.O.J.O. has the most promise of the bunch, as Mad Catz has a strong history in gaming, but that doesn’t ensure success.
We don’t like to assume failure, but there can’t be this many winners. The simple truth is that Developers won’t support this many platforms, which could have been Arena’s problem all along. It’s early days, and serves as a time to take lessons and apply them to the future, and we think Arena is a good lesson for Developers and console companies alike.