Ouya Kickstarts at $8 Million

Ouya Kickstarts at $8 Million

By | August 11th, 2012
No Comments on Ouya Kickstarts at $8 Million

Android has breached yet another platform, this time it’s gaming

consoles, with the successful completion of Kickstarter for Ouya


														               
							 	 						

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Android has breached yet another platform, this time it’s gaming consoles, with the successful completion of Kickstarter for Ouya. Successful doesn’t even begin to cover it though, as the campaign was funded at nearly 9 times($8,596,475) the original goal($950,000).

What does Ouya offer though? Three magic things, console gaming, an open hackable platform, and free games. The hardware specifications of the Ouya console are as follows:

  • Tegra3 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB of internal flash storage
  • HDMI output up to 1080p HD
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • 1 x USB 2.0 port
  • Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
  • Android 4.0
  • Ethernet (added due to popular demand)

Ouya isn’t a very powerful device that will be able to run the latest modern games, but it does offer indie developers an open platform where they wont have to worry about issues such as not being able to afford issuing a patch for your game because the platform’s gatekeepers are charging more than they can afford. Of course this if you can secure a place on the console at all.

Unlike traditional consoles where big publishers can secure a prominent place on the platform while smaller developers are left scrambling for some publicity, Ouya aims to be open to all. Any developer can place their game on the platform, and price it however they want.

Also, unlike traditional consoles where the hardware specifications are tightly protected and the software closed down to the extreme, Ouya will use open source software such as Android, and will actually be hackable. Users root the console, or even open it without voiding the warranty.

This all sounds good for the developers, but what’s in it for users? Well, all games on Ouya, have to have a free component. You can think of this as a demo, or a free 2 play model where the base game is free but with premium content, as long as the game has a part that can be played for free, it can be on the Ouya store.

While the console has drawn some scepticism—and for good reason—overall the concept does seem like something people have been looking for. While time will tell whether the console will get the kind of support from publishers that it needs in order to be successful, fact is even without that it can be a rather decent device. The fact that the console is open, hackable, and rightly touts it, even if it doesn’t see too many games coming its way, it can be a decent device for playing retro emulated games using a controller. It can also be able to surf the internet, watch streamed content or content from a hard drive. It should also be able to run many Android apps.

A number of developers have come out in support for the concept. XBMC, the popular media management, playback and streaming software will be coming to Ouya, so will TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and VEVO. More important though is news of games, and in that department Ouya will be getting Final Fantasy, and Human Element.
Another victory for Ouya is that it will feature OnLive. OnLive is a cloud gaming service. The games run on OnLive’s servers, and are delivered to the end-users’ computers pretty much like streaming video. The gamer’s mouse, keyboard, joystick or gamepad commands are sent to the OnLive servers. This allows people to play graphics heavy games on devices such as tablets and gamepads which would otherwise be incapable of running such games, or in this case the Ouya console.

While the buyer should be aware of the risky nature of the purchase, it doesn’t seem like a bad deal at the asking price.

Which brings us neatly to the asking price itself. During the Kickstarter campaign it was possible to get the device for about $99 (currently around Rs. 5,500), but the campaign is over now. It is now available for pre-order on the Ouya website for $109 (or $119 including international shipping).

This price includes a single controller, however it is possible to get additional controllers as well. You have the option of 2 or 4 controllers with the console, for $139 and $199 respectively.

Kickstarter has had a number of successes recently, especially in the category of gaming. However most of the hugely successful projects have all happened recently and are still rather far from delivering. Kickstarter doesn’t need validation, it already has a number of successful successes in other fields than gaming, and most of them have delivered to satisfaction. Even so Ouya’s success could mean a lot for gaming and open hardware and software platforms.

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Kshitij Sobti
Inserted into Kshitij's motivation banks is a particularly strong desire for justice. It's sad then, that he wastes his skills gaming, watching TV, and for the mundane task of writing prose. He tweets
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