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AirConsole – Play multiplayer games together (airconsole.com)
129 points by joseTulio on Sept 14, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 72 comments

The concept and execution seems cool but I just wanna note in case anyone important is listening that "can you play them all" is one of the weakest taglines I've ever heard.

It's actually a real problem. Most browser games are still Flash - meaning I can't play most of them.

It is incredibly awkward and reads like marketing was an afterthought, but I'm pretty sure this is just a bad translation.

As is the line "Play multiplayer games together", opposed to playing multiplayer games alone?

Yeah it's confusing. Is this a way for multiple people to control the same screen?

It is referring to local multiplayer, where multiple people are in the same room, playing with one another, as opposed to playing across the internet.

Maybe it's a bad translation from "can you beat them all?"

It's pretty close to the $15 billion pokemon franchise tagline.

Yeah, but this isn't at all like Pokemon, which is the problem. I thought it was obvious, but my point is that "collecting" games or trying "play all the games" isn't the right tagline for a game platform.

Has any established gaming platform that has ever existed (except for maybe the super early ones) made game-collecting a thing? Trying to play every game on a console is a silly and pointless fools errand -- yeah you could do it, but there's no inherent value. At least to me, it seems like the value-add for a system like this is to effortlessly play games with your friends, and then maybe to check out some console exclusives that represent interesting gameplay. Who in their target market wakes up and says to themselves "I need to play every game ever released for this new platform"? They're doing lifestyle segment marketing already, hence the smiling clean-cut millenials sitting and enjoying quality time together, they're encouraging me to want to be like those people, but then I read the line and instantly asked myself "why would I want to do that".

Just seems like the marketing team took the wrong turn on the road to being different. Maybe I'm totally wrong, and I'm just one data point, but also, maybe it's that that line that was awkward.

[EDIT] - On second thought, my original post was badly phrased. It's not the "weakest tagline I've ever heard", it just seems to massively NOT fit the context/platform/product.

"Gotta" (got to), is imperative, and vernacular. "Can you" is weak, and enquiring. Very different.

I've played a lot of AirConsole and they completely destroyed the platform when they introduced their monetization platform. I don't mind having to register or watch ads but it's completely broken. Nowadays we never manage to play a single game without someone getting stuck in an ad on their phone, which means the whole game stops working for everyone.

It's a shame because it used to be really awesome. In the early days you didn't even have to register for an account, just boot up the webpage on your phone and enter the code on the big screen.

If you have a smart TV which runs android you can use your phone as a controller and just play one of the plethora of games available on Android.


Yes! Exactly! I even paid for a while and it was still way worse than it use to be. No more getting high with airconsole parties :(

Warning: Firefox is not supported on Android. Game controller page asks you to start it in Chrome.

That is unfortunately a non-starter right there. Do you know if this is for a reason (using non-standard stuff) or is that just the 'Optimized for IE' issue again?

It's quickly becoming the norm to create Chrome-only apps. As far as I'm concerned it just means I won't use it.

Works with the standard AOSP Browser if you don't have Chrome. Any browser that uses the in-built Android backend should work.

Install the app?

Doesn't seem to work without Google Play Services. Crashes on my device. Also seems like it isn't possible to buy the premium version without having the app.

Mind asking, how is life without Play services?

Not the parent commenter, but am currently using F-Droid and not Play services. It seems great for everything I wish to do on Android. Only exception is the game options, which are very limited.

I've been using it at parties for a while, always showing it to new people. I had the same idea and at some point that airconsole already existed. It's fun and the setup is easy, but many games are buggy (the hockey one for exemple has terrible controls and i never managed to play with 4+ people). Good concept, but probably hard to make reliable enough. Their SDK is easy to use, but i couldn't find a proper workflow to develop with it, i ended up having to re-type a game code all the time, so i gave up.

How do they make money? Are only certain games free and then you pay a subscription, or do they do in-game purchase rubbish?

They show ads every few games if I remember correctly. They offer a subscription to remove theses ads and only a single person of the group need to have one.

It's fun but thing is, paying 5$ a month is too much for the fun I got from it. It would be better if it worked like Jackbox with a single higher fee.

This reminds me of Jackbox Party games. Those work almost flawlessly and include the phone as more than just a controller

I wouldn't say almost flawlessly. I've consistently had issues with Jackbox. Usually midway through the game someone doesn't receive the answers screen and is forced to sit out for the rest of the game.

Why they don't reserve your session based on a cookie or something like that is completely beyond me. Hell, even the phone going to sleep in most cases is enough to bump you out of the game.

+1 for Jackbox Party Games. I have all 3 on my XBone and 1 & 2 on my laptop (and Drawful 2 on both as well). It's a fun game as long as it's all setup and ready to go.

+1 for Drawful and the other one that is basically Baulderdash with phones. super fun for large groups of silly people.

This is fantastic! I've been looking for a way to play games long distance with my SO who doesn't have a console or a beast PC.

Sorry to tell you that, but that won't do. This is meat to replace split screen playing, not some online multiplayer videogame. You could do it by sharing your screen, but the latency would be terrible, and it's usually not so great to start with.

Awww man good point

Suggestion: add a qr code so you can just scan it instead of having to type the code on your phone.

Suggestion: stay away from them. Opening the browser and typing in a URL followed by a short code is way faster than getting all participants to download a QR code reader.

QR code reader? I believe most native photo apps can read them now, it shouldn't hurt to have both the URL and a QR code

Not on Android v8 as I just checked.

I have Android 7.0 with EMUI 5 - it has built in QR reading, but it's automatic rather than being able to tell it to look for a QR code, which can make getting it to read a bit problematic.

Stock Android still doesn't. I think Samsung also has this through "Bixby Vision"

Basically, why not have a QR code in addition to the URL displayed?

Uggh.. don't get me started on Bixby... it's like a modern day Clippy... "I see you accidentally pressed the hardware button to awaken me the 10th time. how can i take over your screen today?"

Why not just download an app to remap it? I remapped mine to screen rotation lock.

I don't understand why a QR code reader is not more deeply integrated into mobile OS'. It used to be one tap away on Windows Phone (under the search button), and I used it quite regularly. But due to bad discoverability I guess most people didn't know it's there.

The standard iOS camera app has an integrated qr code reader, but it seems not to be documented anywhere.

I don't use iOS but their QR reader functionality in the stock camera is excellent. My Pixel recently got it in the stock camera but it's an extra swipe and click away compared to the iOS one which makes it both harder to discover (I was told about it by a colleague) and more effort to use.

Are you aware that apps and webpages can use the camera and a library to read QR codes?

TBH with the game library available and the fact that most Android TVs can run games and much better games and that Android TV allows you to use the phone as a controller this provides fairly little value.

This will not replace console gaming, this won't even a good alternative to the casual party games you can run on most smart TVs these days.

It's an interesting idea but the availability of established and better alternative on the market just won't allow it to establish itself.

> casual party games you can run on most smart TVs these days.

Like what? The only similar game I know is Jackbox Party games and it certainly won't run on any smart tv, you need a proper computer/console to run it.

Jackbox runs on Android TV, Fire TV and Apple TV.

Plus you have plenty of various social and card games on the Android TV Google Play store.

It all depends on execution. I'm sure they said the same thing about good old games trying to carve a niche in a steam world.

GoG has a very specific niche to carve out and its still a peanut this doesn’t even has a niche the game library is pitiful even for “bargain bin” games and the execution is pretty poor with annoying blocking ads popping on your mobile screen while playing.

Any phone with BT can be used as a controller for an Android TV which can run more games than this platform.

There are also plenty of apps that allow you to use your phone as a controller to a PC/MAC and even another phone (the latter is Android only afaik but it also could potentially work on iOS).

The biggest problem is always content, split screen games aren’t really a thing which means that AirConsole has to subsidize game development which is why the library is so poor since they do that they essentially subsidize much more established platforms for them it’s not only a hard race to compete in to begin with but also one where they actively support the competition.

Hey! anyone tried it? How's the gameplay/performance?

Game recommendations anyone?

I thought a lot more people had heard of AirConsole!

Obviously the performance is bad for games requiring quick response times but with that said there are a couple of ones you would think wouldn't work with the delay/lag but actually work fine (racing games). The best games are the party games though.

This is literally the first time I've even heard of it.

Interesting! I must be living in a bubble. Among my friends it's on level with Steam. Standard thing to start up at parties and social gatherings and been so for many years.

The standard among some of my friends was to use LogMeIn Hamachi to play LAN multiplayer games over the net. Never tried it myself though.

Wow, throwback! I played a few games over Hamachi with some fun European folks back in 2008 or so.

I work at a AAA games studio as a programmer and I've never heard about AirConsole. Must give it a go at some point.

Thanks! Yes, I was looking forward to playing multiplayer racing games without much setup. Got to try this thing out at the next party :)

Wow - I've never heard of it before, and consider myself relatively knowledgeable when it comes to gaming. How long has it been around?

Since September 2015 - but started very small back then

maybe 3 years? (just a guess)

it's fun and works quite well. I liked the vector racing one, don't remember the name.


That library reminded me of Newgrounds. Back in the day, it was a treat to go through all the games to discover gems but I don't have the patience anymore.


Newer Xbox One controllers use Bluetooth, I use mine with my phone often.

There's a much more valuable thing that's already been named that for quite some time: https://www.get-console.com/shop/en/27-airconsole

Umm. Nice, but what you're posting has nothing to do with the software project OP posted.

They have the same name. Now, when you do a web search for the valuable one that's been around for a long time, you instead get the new videogame thing. They chose to stomp on this name rather than respect an existing thing, and this attitude says something about their company.

It's a brand name for a USB device that provides an RS-232 interface. There is absolutely no way to confuse the two things. If you were searching for the RS-232 device and you happened to know the brand name for this particular one (not sure why you would, exactly), then you could search for "airconsole rs-232" and Google ranks it #1. If you are searching for "usb rs-232", at least for me it doesn't even end up on the first page.

If we're talking about trademark infringement, then this is not even close (it's impossible to confuse the two products). If we're talking about being nice: if you had to avoid every single established name of every single minor product in every single country in the world... you would have no names left. All new products would have to make up gibberish names.

I appreciate that for some reason this device is "mainstream" in your eyes and should have some extra special protection, but that's not the way international agreements on trademarks work -- for a reason.

Is it really that hard to search for "airconsole serial adapter"?

This is so cool, I really wish there were an open source alternative.

https://docs.happyfuntimes.net is kind of an open source alternative. It used to have a whole console like system (install games, game switcher, etc) but devs didn't want that.

There is an API http://developers.airconsole.com/ if you want to focus on making only the game

They probably need to talk to Apple regarding their 5 star review on iOS.

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