Although it looked dreamy from when it was just a concept, not many would have bet on OUYA ever entering production as it was imagined in the first place. I mean, to be able to get one of the first ever Android game consoles for just $99, and for that to come with a decent hardware configuration, was just crazy.
Not to mention that the developers even planned to go with their own app store filled exclusively with free to download apps. Crazy, I tell you, cra-zy!
Still, it seems that it sometimes pays off to have mad ideals, as the OUYA project is going according to schedule and should be released on time, in March 2013. Furthermore, the console’s spec sheet has even been upgraded from initial plans, so expect Jelly Bean out of the box instead of Ice Cream Sandwich.
We don’t know if it’ll be Android 4.1 or 4.2, but that seems less important at the moment. What is important is that the console is now in EVT (Engineering Verification Testing) phase, while December will see the first software developer kits (ODK) reaching early pledgers.
Developers interested in making their work available on OUYA consoles can even start their magic if they can’t take the wait any longer. All you’ll need to do that is a regular Tegra 3-powered Android tablet with Jelly Bean, as well as a quick glance on the set of instructions available here.
Developing OUYA games should be “very similar to developing standard Android games”, however you’ll have to keep track of a few limitations and conditions. You can go crazy and make use of full screens and 1080p resolutions, but don’t plan on using familiar back, menu or volume buttons. The touchpad will only support single touch, while push notifications will not find a good home on the consoles.
As for payments, the console’s developers are still determined to make “all games” free to download, although in-app purchases will be allowed. That might distress a couple of folks, but hey, you can’t have it all. Also, let’s be fair – we all love free games, but having only such content would have severely limited the console’s potential.
One last good piece of news before wrapping up. If there are any game developers looking to partner with OUYA, but that haven’t backed out the project on Kickstarter in due time, they can still get in on the fun. “A few” extra early versions of the console that can be used as Dev Kits will be made available on OUYA’s official website in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled there.
That’s pretty much it – for now – but expect exciting new things to happen soon with OUYA. After all, March 2013 is just around the corner, isn’t it? Who’s psyched?
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It should be noted, instead of being constantly ignored, that “free-to-play” has been confirmed by Ouya to also mean just a free trial, where the “in-app-purchase” could be the actual purchase/unlocking of the full-game. It’s not as limiting as everyone seems to hope it will be.
+1 on this post. Ouya has stipulated that there must be some content that is free to the consumer up front to allow them to at least have a taste of the game experience before making a commitment to playing the game or purchase decision. It is an exceedingly well thought out.