A successful Kickstarter-funded device is now shipping to retail stores and backers all over the world. Its upstart manufacturers are taking the growing world of Android gaming to the TV, with a new form factor and a price that undercuts virtually everything else on the market. But can it live up to the hype?

While the hypercompact GameStick won’t be shipping until November 8th, I could have easily copied and pasted that paragraph from a review six months ago, when we were getting our first look at the Ouya. It’s nearly impossible not to compare the two: along with Nvidia’s Project Shield, they’re the reason 2013 was declared “the year of the microconsole."

The Ouya’s launch, however, set the year of the microconsole off to a rocky start. Early software problems and a lack of solid games deflated some extraordinarily high expectations, and that’s if you were able to get one at all — supply-chain problems meant that some backers were left waiting on their consoles while retail customers bought them off the shelf at Best Buy. Given these problems, the GameStick seems like a potential antidote: where Ouya was a constant work in progress, the GameStick is tightly packaged; where Ouya talked up its Yves Béhar-designed controller, GameStick creator PlayJam offers a simple piece of portable hardware.

But the GameStick still has to deal with some fundamental problems. There are millions of Android games, but only so many of them work well on the big screen. Even if it’s $20 cheaper than the Ouya at $79.99, the GameStick still has to prove its worth in a market dominated by traditional console makers on the one hand and phones and tablets on the other. In the meantime, Ouya has worked hard to improve its software and its catalog; even if the selection is still uneven, lo-fi deathmatch game Towerfall has given the console a killer app. The question for PlayJam, then, isn’t just whether or not big-screen Android gaming will catch on — it’s if the GameStick is the place to get it.