Although mobile and social gaming is all the rage, gaming on a living room console connected to your TV has always been a thoroughly enjoyable way to while away the hours alone or with friends. In recent years, the Xbox
(alone and with the Kinect), Wii
, and Playstation
have dominated living rooms. Now there’s another contender, the Ouya, which costs $99, runs on an open platform, and is built so that hackers and devs can tweak it and create for it.
Here’s the group’s Kickstarter video:
The team behind Ouya believes that game development for consoles is spiraling away from independent developers due largely to rising costs associated with game development. By producing a hackable (every Ouya is technically a dev kit!) console with open source software, costs remain low and development is crowd-sourced to brilliant tinkerers all over the world. The group is even keeping things grassroots by raising money--$950,000 to be exact--on Kickstarter; at this moment, the pledges are already up to $283,630 and counting, with 2,125 backers.
The Ouya is built on Android 4.0 and sports a Tegra 3 quad-core chip, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal flash storage, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, and Bluetooth LE 4.0. There’s a USB 2.0 port as well as HDMI with 1080p HD support, and the kit comes with Ouya’s carefully-designed wireless controller, which itself has a d-pad, a pair of analog sticks, eight action buttons, a system button, and a touchpad. There’s already a working prototype.
Games for the Ouya will be free to try (if not entirely free), and a major part of Ouya is the controller, which has been lovingly designed for “precise controls”, “tactility”, and a size that’s just right.
As always, a small-time operation--even one driven by industry veterans--looking to upset a market segment dominated by huge companies like Microsoft and Sony has a mountain to climb, although Ouya appears to have plenty of fervent backers. (Update after ten minutes or so: $295,392 and 2,229 backers.)