Over here in the west, people like to call Alibaba China’s Amazon. From what I am told, that is both incorrect and correct at the same time. Regardless of the reality of the perception, the perception over here still exists.
Alibaba has revealed its G20 gaming console/set top box combo and it has some curious similarities to a certain popular Nintendo game console.
Alibaba is teaming up with Xiao Bawang, who Tech in Asia reminds us has some experience in the console realm, having made a failed NES clone back in the late 1980s. They seem to be taking what they learned (or didn’t learn) there and are applying it to this new console.
The controller looks almost exactly like a Wii remote without the nunchuck. Xiao Bawang did add a few extra face buttons but the resemblance is obvious.
The device also seems to have camera at the front of the device, but it is unclear how powerful it will be, if it will be a kincet level sensor that allows you to control the device with motion controls, or if it is a simple PlayStation Eye-like camera that will add some basic camera gaming capabilities.
But, like the Amazon Fire TV, the G20 doesn’t looks like its meant to be primarily a console. The device runs Aliyun OS, Alibaba’s sort of forked Linux that sits in a strange grey area between Linux, Android and being its own thing.
The g20 will have access to the Aliyun app store, as well as movies and television shows, including all the major video apps available in the Aliyun app store, like Youku.
What is probably worse than how the controller looks, is how the device is advertised, using Nintendo and other major game company mascots and logos. It is unlikely that the owners of those franchises gave them permission to use them, but I don’t think that bothers Alibaba.
The G20 is listed at 1998 RMB for presale, but other documents within Tmall (and by Tech in Asia’s estimation) have it going for the much more reasonable 598 RMB ($98, €70). It has 1GB of RAM, 8GB of on board storage (expandable by SD Card or USB). No word yet on its exact specs, the G20 will join the Huawei Tron and ZTE Funbox as the third major Android-based gaming console to release since China lifted its ban on video game consoles.