In addition to Amazon’s plan to bring new cloud-game-ready Kindle Fire HD devices to market, toss in an expected Apple mini-iPad and upcoming Xbox-friendly Windows 8 phones. Also coming: a kid-centric PlayMG handheld and the larger Wikipad gaming tablet.
Spending on mobile wireless games in the U.S. is expected to grow from $990 million last year to $1.4 billion in 2016, estimates consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The Wikipad will play Android games and PlayStation Mobile games from Sony. Sony’s recent acquisition of cloud-gaming company Gaikai also opens the possibility for streamed PlayStation-quality games on the tablet. “There is a big gap in the market for a crossover device that is really focused at the mobile gaming console market, but that happens to be a really good tablet as well.” says Wikipad CEO James Bower.
In contrast, the Android-based PlayMG handheld gaming device, which has a 4-inch touch-screen display, targets parents who want to wrest control of their smartphone or tablet from their children. Parents can load a digital wallet in the PlayMG so kids can buy games without a credit card. Priced at $169 and due this holiday season, the PlayMG device is being sold to Kickstarter supporters for $99.
GameStop has begun taking pre-orders for the $499 Wikipad, due to hit the market Oct. 31.