A new challenger appears.
Don’t be fooled by the goofy name, the Ouya went from prototype to happening in less than a day thanks to Kickstarter. Designed by Yves Behar, the man behind the Jambox and the Hundred Dollar Laptop, the Ouya will run an operating system based on the Android standard and will retail, with one controller, for $99 USD.
Great, another console, you may be thinking but there are a few fundamental differences that make the Ouya an intriguing prospect. First, it’s designed to be open source. Developers don’t pay any licensing fees and aren’t required to purchase an SDK (Software Development Kit) to get started making game for the platform. Publishing difficulties and costs are what is keeping many Indie developers from releasing their games on consoles and the Ouya aims to remove that barrier.
Another key difference is that the designers are inviting modders and hackers to mess with the Ouya, as ‘rooting’, or gaining administrator access to the operating system, is encouraged and will not void the warranty. Likewise, hardware modders are invited to take the system apart.
While these features may attract developers and peripheral manufacturers, what about the player? What’s in it for me? Free games. Sort of, anyway. Every title released on the Ouya will either be free-to-play or have a free demo, with developers setting the prices. A number of games are already in development, including a hint that Mojang may be bringing Minecraft to the platform, and the hardware has already been designed and prototyped. The Kickstarter funds are merely to jumpstart the actual production, with a tentative release date of March 2013.
At the time of writing, this project has received double it’s requested funding, sitting at a cool $2 Million, in just under one day. That’s a new opening day record for Kickstarer, and the eight project to reach their million dollar club. I’m not sure how this will all turn out, but people are definitely excited. For more info, check out the Ouya’s Kickstarter page.