Amico Home Is A Disaster
The gaming world is no stranger to innovation, but not all innovations end up changing the game. Intellivision, once a prominent name in the arcade game industry, recently made headlines with their new offering - the Amico Home. But is it the game-changer it promises to be? No. Amico Home is a disaster.
The Amico Home Backstory
Check out my original Amico Home video for full backstory thoughts on this Intellivision Amico Home situation.
The Big Reveal
"Amico Home" testing was, curiously, not broadcasted on Intellivision's main channels but rather on an episode of "Amico Forever." Hosted by DJC and Rich from Bacon Ice Cream Productions, with special appearances from Nick Richards and John Alvarado in the chat, the episode delved deep into the Amico Home's offerings.
In essence, Amico Home transforms an Android device into an Intellivision console. This app is free, with games sold individually. Although an iOS version is in the pipeline, the app has its limitations. It cannot simultaneously act as the console and controller. Meaning, if you wish to play, your Android device becomes the screen. To interact, users need a separate app for mobile devices or use the upcoming Amico controllers. The system also emphasizes local networking, posing questions about its versatility in various scenarios.
The Games and Offerings:
Currently, three games are being tested: Shark Shark, Sideswipers, and Missile Command. While the launch date remains ambiguous, John Alvarado hinted it's nearing. Pre-order deposit customers are promised game pack download codes via the Amico Club website, with more information expected next week.
...But here's the catch: if the app truly converts your mobile device into a console, what's the incentive to spend around $300 on the actual console?
Rich mentioned potential TV streaming compatibility, though the showcased method was less than perfect. The demonstration hinted at some unresolved issues, including the fish in Shark Shark! swimming completely off-screen, raising eyebrows on the product's readiness.
Redefining or Just Repackaging?
While Amico Home's proposition may seem revolutionary, it is essential to remember that there have been pioneers in this domain long before it made its debut. For instance, alongside a plethora of mobile party, sport, and couch co-op games that seamlessly cast to TV, and with multiple Chromecast alternatives in the fray, AirConsole has been blazing a trail in this particular niche for years.
Established several years ago, AirConsole envisioned a gaming paradigm similar to what Amico Home now seeks to popularize. The platform's core premise is enabling a smartphone to function as the primary "console". Once connected, the television serves as the primary display, while additional smartphones can be integrated as multi-player controllers.
A developer from AirConsole eloquently summarizes its ethos:
"AirConsole is all about indulging in quick, fun games with friends, perhaps over a casual beer. Think of it as the convenience of Mario Party, without the hassle of lugging around an N64 with multiple controllers or a hefty gaming PC complete with gamepads. With AirConsole, all you need is a TV or laptop, a few smartphones, and voilà! You're all set for an evening of gaming with as many pals as you wish."
Moreover, while the basic app and its array of games come without a price tag, for a nominal monthly fee of $1.49 (a fee only levied on the host phone), users can unlock an extended range of games and say goodbye to pesky advertisements. And this platform is no fledgling in the market. Since its humble inception as a concept in 2015, AirConsole has flourished remarkably. Today, it boasts a repertoire of over 180+ casual games, exclusive to its platform, spanning a diverse range of genres from racing and action to quizzes and drawing games. Each game is meticulously crafted, ensuring that controls are optimized for smartphone usage. And if that's not enticing enough, there's a curated selection of games from major platforms like the Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and Steam.
The parallels are uncanny: exclusive game titles, controllers equipped with screens, gyroscopes, microphones, speakers, and more. The emphasis on couch co-op, the family-oriented approach... sounds remarkably familiar, doesn't it? The question remains: is Amico Home truly redefining the space, or are they standing on the shoulders of pioneers like AirConsole?
The Amico Home announcement raises more questions than it answers. With subdued marketing, reminiscent of the short-lived "Quibi" streaming service, its future remains uncertain. Intellivision's strategy, or seeming lack thereof, has left potential investors and gamers puzzled.
This is beyond embarrassing for everyone involved in the project at this point.