GameStick PlayJam Pivos

Android microconsoles like GameStick and Ouya may not pose much of a threat to the PlayStation 4 or the next Xbox, but set-top boxes like Roku better look out.

Developer PlayJam, the company behind GameStick, announced it is working with technology company Pivos to bring the XBMC media software to the thumb drive-sized gaming device. XBMC is an open-source video platform that enables users to stream media from their computers or from websites like Hulu and YouTube.

“We are delighted to partner with PlayJam, the visionaries behind the Android micro-gaming console, GameStick,” XBMC project director Cory Fields said in a statement. “This unique partnership provides us the opportunity to extend our XBMC development beyond its world-leading media-management capability with an established gaming platform.”

This XBMC functionality, along with access to Netflix and more, turns the $79 GameStick into a competitor to the Roku, which is a puck-sized box that streams Internet video.

The latest product from Roku, which features some motion games like Angry Birds, starts at $100. GameStick and Ouya could make a compelling case for anyone in the market for a dedicated streaming box to go with the hardware that can also download Android apps and play real games.

“Working with Pivos and the XBMC community to integrate a world-class media center into GameStick is a major step forward in our ambitions,” PlayJam chief executive Jasper Smith said. “Likewise, extending the reach of our games platform via XBMC fulfills our underlying goal of accelerating the affordable TV games market. Combining the two is very much the holy grail.”