OUYA (pronounced “ooyah”) is the gaming console and media streaming system that has taken the internet by surprise.
On July 10, CEO Julie Uhrman put her dream of an open console on the crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter. She set a funding goal of $950,000 – the cost to convert the prototype into production-ready systems; design developer kits and place production orders. If the goal is not met, according to Kickstarter rules Uhrman and OUYA will receive none of the money from backers and it is back to the drawing board.
Fortunately it seems Uhrman is onto something with the OUYA. In only eight hours and 22 minutes,Uhrman had more than her $9.5K in funding from around 8,000 backers. Kickstarter confirmed that OUYA achieved the biggest first day of any hosted project and is only the eighth million dollar project on the site.
The OUYA project continues to attract attention; the console just surpassed the five million dollar backing mark and has already beaten the most funded video game projects on Kickstarter.
The system will include a Tegra 3 quad-core processor (the same processor in mobile phones), 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and run Android 4.0. The console will also have WiFi, Bluetooth, one USB 2.0 port and, just recently added, an Ethernet jack.
Uhrman told Engadget that they are working closely with NVIDIA to maximize the Tegra 3 chips. She also said that gamers shouldn’t worry about OUYA using the same processors as mobile phones:
People familiar with the Tegra 3 in today’s mobile devices need to remember that we won’t have to balance (and trade) power to increase battery life. So we can crank up the performance of these chips.
She also urgered the Engadget interviewer to watch this Tegra 3 video on YouTube.
The OUYA controller has a similar design to the Xbox 360 controller; it has two analog sticks, a d-pad, and eight buttons. However, there is one big difference: The OUYA controller has a touchpad screen. The screen on the OUYA will be smaller than the touch screen on the Wii U GamePad; somewhere between 3.5 to 4 inches.
What’s so special about the OUYA?
The OUYA can potentially shake up the console business. They are doing many things differently than today’s consoles, but the main changes are as follows:
- The OUYA will encourage hackers. The system will be easy to root, so if you’re tech-savvy you can change a piece of hardware or create new accessories without voiding your warranty.
- Free SDK. Every console will come with a free Software Development Kit for those that want to make a game for the system. To compare, the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 Developer Kits require game creators to be approved by Microsoft or Sony before they can buy (for a large amount of money) their respected SDKs.
- A cheaper media streaming solution. The OUYA will be an Android 4.0 device that can output 1080p video to an HDTV. Twitch.tv will be on the system, and Netflix and YouTube can be added with a few clicks. A possible competitor to Google TV and Apple TV.
- Every game will be free to play. It can be a demo or only the first few levels, or the complete game with micro-transactions; it’s up to the developer to set price points as long as the game can be downloaded for free.
On AAA/core games coming to the OUYA
Uhrman wants gamers to know that they are activity seeking out AAA and core game developers:
The potential is limitless: We know that game makers will make exciting new AAA content for OUYA, including great games for core gamers. And don’t forget, we’ve got a lot of support from the development community already voiced their support of OUYA. Brian Fargo, who is at work on Wasteland 2. Notch Persson, maker of Minecraft, was very generous with his Kickstarter backing on day one. And, of course, Adam Saltsman, said himself how great Canabalt would be on OUYA in our video. Rest assured, we will continue to reach out to the best developers in the world and work diligently to bring the best game content available to our platform.
The price and release date
If you’re interested in purchasing an OUYA, you can get a console and an extra controller by backing the Kickstarter project for $95. Otherwise the system will retail for $99 and another controller will cost you an extra $30. OUYA plans to ship in March 2013.
What do you think?
One YouTuber commented on the Tegra 3 saying the OUYA is “effectively Steam on your TV without the big budget games”.
Over on Reddit, the top comments seem more focused on using emulators built for the Android system in order to play other console games.
One enthusiastic backer even started an unofficial forum dedicated to the new console.
So, dear gamers, is the OUYA worth it? Do you hope the system ends up on store shelves or will it fail miserably?