Update: Earlier today, rapper DeAndre Cortez Way - AKA Soulja Boy - added a fifth bootleg video game console to his merch store SouljaWatch, just two weeks after pulling four other consoles from sale, reportedly due to threats of legal action. A few hours later, a third SouljaGame Handheld appeared alongside a boatload of other questionably legal merchandise.
Where the second handheld ripped off the PS Vita, the third SouljaGame Handheld is a PSP bootleg called the PVP3000. You know the drill: it's full of ROMs and you can get it cheaper elsewhere (although you shouldn't). What stands out to me is that, as of this writing, there are two SouljaGame Handhelds listed on SouljaWatch. They have the exact same name but are entirely different products, which is yet more bold-faced proof that SouljaWatch is reselling hardware under arbitrary names.
The latest SouljaWatch refresh also added the redundantly named SouljaGame Controller GamePad, which has the worst-looking D-pad I've ever seen in my life. Then there's the SouljaGame Portable Screen, which is actually a DVD player with a screen attached to it. More specifically, it's the Fornorm 1564TT DVD player, and I know that because SouljaWatch has started listing the products it's reselling in its own descriptions. Judging from the 'Super Games 300' disc which comes with it, the 1564TT can in fact play some games - like such classics as Shufflepuck Cafe and Twin Bee - but I'm not so sure it can play Melody of Iris, the Chinese-only (and presumably digital-only) visual novel featured in its promotional art.
Oh, but I saved the most absurd (and potentially litigious) piece of hardware for last: the SouljaGame Virtual Reality Wireless Game Portable Joystick. I genuinely don't know what this is for or why it exists. It clearly has nothing to do with virtual reality, but can apparently be used as as a controller for your phone. Here's the kicker: its promotional art features F1 2012, Grand Theft Auto, Star Wars, and NBA 2K. Evidently, stepping on the toes of Sony, Gearbox, Bandai Namco, Nintendo, and Square Enix wasn't enough, so Way's decided to up the stakes in his game of legal chicken.
I don't know if major companies actually care enough about this kind of small-fry stuff to really go after it, but it's so stupid I just can't ignore it. I also couldn't ignore the fact that, on top of this ridiculous operation, Way, whose net worth was valued at $30 million last year, directly asked his fans for donations on Twitter earlier today:
All my fans send me something https://t.co/2IOlL7tKV3 I will pick a random donator who sends the largest donation and give you a free SouljaWatch and SouljaConsole tweet me when your done!January 14, 2019
Firstly, I don't think giving a gift to the highest donator qualifies as random. Secondly, what does Way need all this money for? Is he in debt to Tom Nook?
Not two weeks after pulling four bootleg video game consoles from his personal merch store following a bizarre and shady launch, rapper DeAndre Cortez Way - AKA Soulja Boy - is back with yet another knock-off console. This one, which is also called the SouljaGame Handheld, is a blatant copy of the PS Vita, and it might just be the shadiest ripoff yet.
After a few weeks on the Soulja Boy hardware beat, I like to think I've gotten a feel for the patterns, and this new SouljaGame Handheld fits all of them to a tee. First of all, you can get the exact same console - which is actually the X1 Handheld - cheaper on AliExpress, and I mean way cheaper. SouljaWatch has them 'on sale' for $99 (purportedly down from a whopping $200), but AliExpress has them for $28 (on sale from $44).
Branding and specs aside, I know for a fact that these are the same products because, once again, SouljaWatch lifted its images and product descriptions wholesale from AliExpress, typos and incoherence included. Here are some of my favorite selling points for this utter disaster of a device, straight from SouljaWatch:
- "Support PC Camera, connect the computer, can use as computer camera."
- "Multi thread task mode, you can listen to music, while watching e-books."
- "Supports JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIF, PNG image format."
- "Practical functions: calculator, calendar, stopwatch, etc."
- "Built in high definition microphone, high quality recording and ordinary recording for you to choose."
I mean really, who doesn't enjoy watching a good e-book? But if that, JPEG support, and the option to choose between recording in ordinary and high quality doesn't sell you on the X1 Handheld, maybe these images from AliExpress will:
No? What do you mean no? This thing apparently comes equipped with 16 million cameras! How did they even fit them all in there? Technology's amazing, I'm telling ya. And how about that 4.3" 480x272 screen which apparently boasts 16:9 and 16 million color support? I don't even know what that means, but 16 million sure is a big number, so maybe if we say it a bunch somebody will buy this thing!
As you may have deduced, the X1 Handheld - and by extension the latest SouljaGame Handheld - is a bootleg system promising the moon. Its product description would have you believe it does everything, so in all likelihood it does next to nothing. Interestingly, an image on AliExpress does cop to it being a box of ROMs for 128-bit emulators - but as with previous SouljaGame systems, we have no idea what those ROMs are or even how many are included, not that it matters. Sadly, I really don't think BulletStorm and the clearly modern racing game featured in the promotional images are on the list.
Speaking of that racing game, I'd like to share my absolute favorite image of the X1 Handheld. This image is proudly displayed on SouljaWatch, despite the fact that it shows a game being played upside down:
Way reportedly pulled his first four bootlegs from sale due to one or more companies - possibly Nintendo, Square Enix, and/or Bandai Namco - threatening legal action against him for obvious reasons. With the new SouljaGame Handheld brazenly ripping off the PS Vita and using art from Bulletstorm, maybe Sony or Gearbox will be the next to come after the industrious rapper. The new SouljaGame Handheld may also rile Amazon, as it can purportedly be purchased using Amazon Pay. (Update: the Amazon Pay option has since been replaced with a PayPal button. Hmm.)
Oh, and just to reiterate: do not buy this system, from anyone, for any price, ever.
Wondering how this Soulja Boy lineup got started and where the original SouljaGame Handheld came from? Wonder no more.