Smartphone-controlled GameNite console brings shared board games to TVs
While there's nothing like playing board games with family and friends, old-school box-contained games do have their drawbacks. That's where GameNite comes in – it's a console that lets groups of people play phone-controlled games on their TV.
First of all, what's wrong with traditional board games?
Well, they have pieces and cards that can get lost or damaged, they can be awkward to transport to someone else's house (especially if you're bringing several different games), plus younger players may have difficulty getting excited about something in which the gameplay is limited by its being so … analog.
By contrast, a single palm-sized GameNite console is capable of storing a multitude of digital games, and it simply plugs into a standard TV via its HDMI port. That TV displays a shared gameplay "board" which everyone in the room views, while each player's smartphone displays a control interface.
Using existing smartphones as controllers not only helps keep the size and cost of the system down, it also allows each game to have its own unique touchscreen player interface. The phones are wirelessly linked to the console via the home's Wi-Fi network.
Currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, the device will ship with five preinstalled games created by the developers of the system. That said, by accessing an online store via the console, users should also be able to choose between many other games created by other companies. It is hoped that once the platform really gains traction, classic games such as Monopoly will be available.
As far as specs go, the console itself measures 4.7 x 4.7 x 1 in (119 x 119 x 25 mm), weighs 8.8 oz (249 g), and features an Intel Celeron 2-core 2.8 GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB Storage, Intel integrated graphics, and a Linux operating system. Game developers are invited to contact RecBox, the company that makes GameNite, for a free development kit.
Assuming everything goes according to plan, a pledge of US$150 will get you a GameNite console of your own. Inventors Hanad Musa and Weston Kelliher provide more details on the system, in the video below.