Personally, I was ecstatic when news got out that there was a new console being released this coming year. While rumors and speculation about the next Xbox 720 or the Playstation 4 circulated the Net, a group of veterans decided to take matters into their own hands and create something completely new, bringing together the powers that they had all mastered over the years.
Folks – let me introduce you to the Ouya.
What looked like a regular crowd funding project suddenly shook waves among gamers. The target was to acquire $950,000 within a month. The project now has a whopping $5,759,826 (yes, that’s millions, darling) with 10 days still remaining. That’s more than 5 times the original target, and to me, it speaks volumes on what gamers really want these days.
OUYA is an open source gaming console that can be developed and hacked so that games or potential applications can be designed by your average gaming geekster from the comfort of their smelly dorm room.
The ideas promoted on the OUYA Kickstarter page sound amazing – cheaper gaming, better development, a big win for the indie market, and … the list goes on. And did I mention this box is going to priced at 99 dollars? *empties out piggy bank and starts counting coins*
Here are the specifications of the proposed device :
Tegra3 quad-core processor
8GB of internal flash storage
HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth LE 4.0
USB 2.0 (one)
Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
OUYA’s using Android’s open source tech which allows independent devs to create games and market them to the audience at large – this has definitely appealed to majority of the backers, with a large portion having expressed their interest to get a console as soon as it ships out.
The project currently holds the record for getting the fastest crowd-funded backing, easily surpassing their goal in a matter of days.
Personally, I think this is the next big thing in gaming IF, and that’s a big IF, they do manage to come out with the promised product that will ultimately change the way we play games.
Here are a few good things about the OUYA (or the many many reasons you should probably get one!) :
- It’s based on the free-to-play model, though that depends on how much is free to play on a particular title. IF the paid part comes in at purchasing cosmetic upgrades and not give a strategic edge for players who purchase things to enhance gameplay, that sits right be me. Such as Team Fortress 2, where you can encounter weapons on a random basis where you would otherwise have to pay for if you wanted to get them quickly.
- It’s hackable-by-design, with dev kits that will be supplied which is based on Android can give a huge boost to people who want to build their own app, not just for games.
- Remember the fun station? The cosmetic imitation of a playstation one where we played games such as Duck Hunt or Super Mario, this could bring retro-grade right back.
- It will be available for global play. Yes, the OUYA, if you purchase it, will be available everywhere and the kickstarter page assures that if the need is big enough, they will develop language packs to go with it – Middle Eastern Gamers, this is your chance.
Now here’s why you should probably be skeptical. The list, fortunately, is not as long.
- Theoretically, it’s still a device in it’s prototype stages but since they show a working prototype, that has given everyone a reason to show and pledge their support.
- Market base is small, and luckily they have shot up from 4,000 units to 84,000 units - it all depends on how well they do. With a bit of luck, this won’t be a fad.
- Like most android devices, you can still have quality gaming if you connect your tablet or mobile device to a TV via HDMI (heck, the HTC One X offers a wireless media solution). So what should be the reason to get an OUYA? Exclusive apps, perhaps?
- Hackable has been read as pirate-able everywhere, giving reason for industry analysts to cry foul and remain skeptical as far as the OUYA is concerned. There’s always the tried and tested method that if people find stuff worth giving their money to, they’d do it in a breeze. Case in point: The Humble Indie Bundle (some great games out there, when not on Steam sale, check back here). To counter this, the development team has given a vague assurance that people will get rewarded for the content they put in. Only time will tell…
So there you have it. Fad or gaming redefined? It’s your call.
(Here’s a bonus game that was in the Kickstarter campaign video - I’d love to play this on a console!)