Green Throttle Games was founded by Charles Huang, Karl Townshend and Matt Crowley as well as a group of venture capitalists back in 2012. Their goal was to bridge controller based gaming with Android devices. This might sound similar as the Ouya did the exact same thing. Charles Huang was a founder of Guitar Hero’s Red Octane and Townshend and Crowley were from Palm, so there was some promise behind this group as they decided to work around the limitations of a console by bridging the controllers directly to the device. This was prevalent in their Arena console and gaming service which was distributed through both Amazon and the Google Play store. With their own SDK, they could have been a competitor for the Ouya as they allowed for both handheld and console support.
Unfortunately, nothing ever really caught on and it seemed that Green Throttle would all but close up shop as they removed their support for their distribution service Arena. In a statement still up on their site, they had the following to say:
“The Green Throttle team has some important news to share. Beginning November 8th, 2013, our Arena app will no longer be available on Google Play or the Amazon Appstore for Android and all back end support for the app will cease. Current owners of Arena and Atlas controllers will notice little change to functionality. For instance, they can still use the app to launch their existing games and their controllers will still function and behave as normal HID controllers would, even without Arena. Atlas controllers will even remain available for purchase. However, no more Green Throttle supported titles will be added to Arena going forward.
We’d like to acknowledge the incredible support we’ve received from our community. To everyone who has supported Green Throttle, whether it be as a player or as a developer, we want to say Thank You! We’re so grateful that you were able to join us in our journey to bring Android to the big screen; it has been amazing getting to know you all over the past year. Stick around and we’ll keep you posted on the evolution of Green Throttle.”
So most of us had figured the worst for the company. Instead, it was announced yesterday that Green Throttle would be acquired by Google. Currently their handheld device is the only thing that is still on sale. If you are curious, you can pick one up for 50% off right now if you need happen to need a bluetooth controller. Their console is dead, but this acquisition breathes a whole new life into the possibilities of the device. So far Crowley and Townshend are still involved in this acquisition. Charles Huang is involved in a voice modification device called Singtrix, so his involvement in the deal is unknown.
The current speculation is that Google is looking for a Google TV device that is split on entertainment and gaming. People have showed an interest with the Ouya and all these other start ups initially, but they all have their own failings that are holding it back from becoming the next big console device. Most of that is clout and Google has in the Play store with the capital to keep the software and hardware fresh. This move is an interesting one because Google hasn’t specified the nature of the deal yet. This could be a trademark, hardware, software acquisition so until we know exactly what the purpose of the deal is, it really is hard to speculate.