The OUYA console project has already broken the record for the fastest project to achieve its goal yet ($950,000), and also the fastest project to reach $1 million. In less than a day they’ve already passed the $2 million mark, and they still have 29 days to go for picking up more funds, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it even smashes Pebble‘s record funding of $10 million on Kickstarter. All signs say this console is going to be a success in the market.
The console comes with an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of flash storage, HDMI output, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and a single USB 2.0 port. It also comes bundled with a controller that is designed and made by the company, but you can buy another one for an extra $30. For the price of $99, the hardware seems like quite a good deal.
It’s based on Android 4.0, so it’s built on a solid foundation, and we might even see them update the console with new versions of Android, if they think that’s important for the user If it doesn’t require a lot of work for them, they’ll have a completely custom UI on top, made specifically as a TV interface (just like Google TV’s interface is very different from stock Android).
Being built on Android also means that even though it may not get access to the Play Store, it should be extremely easy for developers to port their Android apps to the console. Basically all Android games that work in landscape mode should be ready to go with minimal tweaks, and some optimization for OUYA’s controller.
Another great feature of the OUYA console is that they plan on having only free-to-play games – games that are free for everyone, but some people may want to make some in-app purchases, and that’s how the developers will make money. Ouya will also take a cut from that. Free to play games are the top grossing apps on the Play Store, so I don’t think developers have anything to lose here.
Plus, OUYA is meant to be completely open for anyone to add their games, which is a great advantage for indie developers, compared to consoles such as Xbox360 and PS3, which are closed for almost anyone outside the top gaming companies. The development costs for those 2 consoles are also very prohibitive for indie developers.
At $99, with such great support for indie developers, and being able to run Android games, it means that OUYA has a very high potential to disrupt the console market, and I wish Google would take note of this, and try to make Google TV set top boxes do the same. If they are not interested in promoting Google TV as a gaming platform, they should at least watch this company, and buy it out if it takes off.
If you want to support this project, help them increase their funding and their chance of success, and for $95-$99 you can pre-order one when it’s released (March 2013).
I’m elated about this project.