If a new gaming console running on Google software succeeds, people who play computer games locked up in their rooms should find themselves spending more time in the living room, and mobile game players should become less isolated.
The Forge TV streaming media box, unveiled by San Diego start-up Razer on Tuesday at the International Consumer Electronics Show, is one of the first devices that runs the Google-backed Android TV operating system.
Like Google's Nexus Player, Forge TV hooks up to the television and allows users to download mobile games and other apps such as Netflix and Food Network. But Forge TV also will display computer games on a TV screen when both devices are connected to the same home network. Razer built a laptop keyboard, mouse and mousepad to control the games when played on a couch.
The $99 Forge TV is expected to go on sale sometime in the next couple of months. Razer, which after a recent investment from Intel Capital is reportedly worth $1 billion, has built a booming business selling gaming-related computer accessories. But as the definition of "gamer" expands to include people who toy away at more casual games such as "Angry Birds," Razer is branching out to new screens and audiences.
"The user today is very different from before," said Razer Chief Executive Min-Liang Tan. "He's looking at his mobile screen for a couple of seconds, then on his tablet, then maybe the PC. Our strategy is to straddle every single screen around the user."
On Tuesday the company announced a cheaper version of its smart wristband. Called the Nabu X, it has three tiny lights that turn on different colors to signal notifications received on a phone. They can also act as progress trackers for fitness goals and communicate with other Nabu smart bands. Nabu X is scheduled to go on sale Friday for $19.99 at Razer's online forum members.