Open Console OUYA Coming Next Spring
It took only 8 hours for a company hawking a completely open and hackable console to meet its $950 000 Kickstarter funding.
The OUYA console is a Tegra3 based system with 1GB of RAM, 8 GB of flash storage and an OS based on Android 4. This is all housed in an attractive case and complimented with a controller that pays homage to the Playstation controller. The controller has a touch sensitive area that will allow users play ports of Android games, but that is not the purpose of the console or the controller’s touch area.
The purpose of the OUYA is to put the focus of gaming back into the living room and specifically on the TV. While the specs of the OUYA won’t worry current gen systems, it is still good enough to drive 3D at 1080P with reasonable frame rates. So why launch a system that is already outmatched by half a decade old machine? Let’s follow the money.
The OUYA cube will be priced at $99 and come with a single controller. And additional controller is available to Kickstarter contributors for $30 more. That’s not the cheap part though. The games are supposed to be free or at least freemium. Developers won’t have to pay developer fees and can afford to take chances… basically it’s the advantages of developing for mobile, but with the end result on a TV rather than a 4″ screen. And a few developers have batted their eyelashes at a completely open console meant to mimic the success of Android or iOS gaming.
But if the system is off the shelf parts and basically wooing Android developers with familiar tool and will be entirely open source, why not just make your own Android set-top gaming machine? Because OUYA isn’t really a nice piece of gaming kit, it’s really software that manages your games on a fairly generic ARM system. In some ways this is more akin to Steam, PSN or Xbox Live than a console proper. Most gamers won’t notice or care though.
This juggernaut should probably reach $15 by the end of its Kickstarter campaign. And then the real work will start for the makers of OUYA. They have to prove this isn’t just a Nexus 7 that traded its touch screen for a gamepad. They have to show some big names ready to launch games. They have to show that there is money in free console games when $60 ones are killing studios. I’m not sure they can pull off what they want to, but I get a feeling that the PS4 and next Xbox may have lost a little shine if OUYA can even deliver close to what they promise to.