Linux Gaming News

GCW-Zero: Open Source Gaming Handheld runs Linux

An Open Source Gaming Console Built by Gamers for Gamers…and it runs Linux.

This is awesome. A Kickstarter campaign we are keen to hear more about.

Check it out:

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Handheld Gaming Is Awesome

We live in a technological era where it is possible to place powerful gaming hardware that exceeds yesterday’s PCs in the palm of your hand. Tablets and smart phones are just one example of this. Their touch screens have already revolutionized casual, portable gaming. However, many gamers would agree that they are in their true natural habitat when in direct control of that experience with physical buttons and a real d-pad or authentic analog control. The world just needed these two ideas combined into one package for the gaming community.

We are developing the GCW Zero, a handheld console built around the Ingenic JZ4770 1 GHz MIPS processor. It is powerful enough to run classic PC games, emulate the game consoles we grew up with and run homebrew games seamlessly at high frame rates.

Open Source Software Is Awesome

We here at Game Consoles Worldwide believe that a company should not just capitalize and consumers should be allowed to do more than consume. Too many devices today are walled gardens, designed solely for consumption. Not ours! The GCW Zero gives you full control of your handheld. Install any application you want to run, change the operating system in any way you want. We won’t fight you; in fact we’ll encourage you.

Because the Zero runs Linux, a huge library of excellent, free, open source software can run on it. Our core development team is hard at work porting popular applications to provide a strong launch day lineup and we’re sure many more will follow from us and from our community.

Developers Are Awesome

We are committed to working with the open source and homebrew communities. Have an idea for the Zero? We want to help. Port your favorite game, or write your own homebrew title! How about media software? Streaming? Turn it into a server? Your ideas and creativity excite us and we want to help develop the Zero into a full-spectrum device.

The Zero’s operating system is OpenDingux, a Linux distribution which is designed to be developer friendly with SSH login, SFTP file transfer and a debugger with profiling tools already included. Both the distribution and the SDK are kept up-to-date; for example we are currently using Linux 3.7 and GCC 4.7.2.

Why We Need You

As you can see in the video, the Zero is ready to start full production. By ourselves we can only finance small batches, but with your help we can get a lot of devices produced in a short time, giving the Zero a flying start.

When our project was formally announced and a prototype demonstrated, we made an initial offering of 100 preorders to our earliest supporters by word-of-mouth. After reaching that goal we were compelled to increase the figure to 150 due to popular demand. Our supporters proved that this is not just a device we thought the gaming community might want; it is a device they demand. The first 40 of these units have already started to be shipped, while the rest are in the process of inspection at the factory, before they can be shipped to meet their new owners.

We need your help for the next steps. If there is a large user base, it is easier to convince both hobby and indie developers to make software for the Zero. We have pending contracts in place for suppliers and the manufacturing of all the resources/tools to produce the console. Once funding has occurred we can go into full production and bring this product to the world.

The operating system is still in development and the essentials are already working, but we want to unlock the full potential of the hardware. We’d like to port more applications and adapt them to work well with the Zero’s controls and fine tune them to run as smoothly as possible. With your backing, we can send consoles to developers so they can test their software on the Zero. We can also compensate a few key developers so they can spend more time on improving the Zero’s software.

We want to create a repository, similar to an App Market, where users can download free, open source software and also buy closed-source/indie software from developers. We would like to have classic games in this repository as well: for games that have an open source engine and proprietary data, we would like to make it simple for users to buy and install the data files. A successful KickStarter project could help attract attention of proprietary data rights holders. This would allow us to host or provide it along with the game engine. All games/applications submitted to the App Market will be reviewed for copyright compliance.

Finally, a powerful device like the Zero can only flex its muscles when other ingenious minds have the resources to power their ambitions. To help others create great products for gamers like us, we will participate in the Kicking-it-forward initiative and invest 5% of our profits in indie and open source gaming projects. The Zero is a console made for gamers, by gamers. As a company, we are never satisfied when there are innovative ideas for the Zero that have not been explored.


CPU: Ingenic JZ4770 1 GHz MIPS processor

GPU: Vivante GC860, capable of OpenGL ES 2.0

Display: 3.5 inch LCD with 320×240 pixels; 4:3 aspect ratio is ideal for retro gaming

Memory: 256 MB DDR2

Internal storage: 8 GB, most of which is available for applications and data

External storage: micro SDHC up to 32 GB or micro SDXC of 64 GB (SDXC cards must be reformatted before use)

Mini USB 2.0 OTG

Mini HDMI 1.3 out

3.5 mm (mini jack) A/V port for earphone and analog TV-out

Stereo speakers, mono microphone

Accelerometer (g-sensor) and vibration motors

Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz, can connect to access point or direct device-to-device

Dimensions: 143 * 70 * 18 mm

Weight: 8 oz / 225 g

Battery: 2800 mAh

Pledge the GCW-Zero: Open Source Gaming Handheld campaign

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