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Meet OUYA: The Next Big Console

Having just finished with my wrap-up of E3’s debut trailer marathon, I now wish to turn my attention to the major media event that is hitting our industry by storm, and I couldn’t be happier.  In the last week, news of an Android-based open-source console, known as OUYA, began popping up, with talk of no licensing fees for developers and high-quality specifications.  Clearly, it’s supported by the public, as its request for funding since Tuesday have given its development staff over $3.4 million in donations to work with.

The brain child of Yves Béhar, founder of the design firm Fuseproject, OUYA is an ambitious and exciting concept that seeks to bring back the essentials of gaming culture: unadulterated entertainment free of commercial manipulation.  Since this console has so many facets, here are a variety of reasons that OUYA is worth your money:

1. Its excellent business model

First, the console and key accessory are very well-priced, even better than its competitors.  $99 will get you the system and a controller when it launches, with all games available from an exclusive OUYA store and following some form of free-to-play model, a la Team Fortress 2.  Cleverly, the console’s developers are promising that full-game upgrade option, subscriptions and in-game items will factor into this strategy.

2. Its impressive design specs

Fuseproject is known for pioneering in the field of technology, but this is certainly some of their finest work.  In the OUYA console, gamers will experience the power of the Tegra 3 processor being run on Android 4.0, which will work hand in hand with the support of 1080p to enhance the audience’s experience.

The console will also have 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal flash storage (which may be increased), HDMI connectivity to the TV (key selling point: the console links directly to the TV), WiFi and Bluetooth support, and a USB 2.0 port. As for its wireless controller, it will consist of a mixture of console and mobile sensibilities –  two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, and a system button, as well as a touchpad.

3. Its open-source design

One of the points stressed in OUYA‘s promotion is that it will appeal to the modders and “hackers” of the world through emphasis on each console essentially being a developer kit.  Independent hardware developers can create their own peripherals and connect them via USB or Bluetooth, Fuseproject is already conversing with anyone interested in publishing their own apps (as they plan to do with Twitch.TV), and anyone with the knowledge to do so can develop their own version of Android or their own game, free of retail and publishing fees.

4. Its support by major developers

This independent console is not being carried on the hopes and dreams of Android loyalists alone.  Key video game developers have spoken on the potential carried by the console, and have stated interest in providing content for OUYA.  Some of these well-respected individuals include:

Jordan Mechner, creator of Prince of Persia and Karateka – “Who wouldn’t want a beautiful piece of industrial design that sells for $99, plugs straight into your TV, and gives you access to a huge library of games?”

Mojang, developer of Minecraft – “If OUYA delivers on the promise of being the first true open gaming platform that gives indie developers access to the living room gaming market, yes that is a great idea.  We will follow the development of OUYA and see how it resonates with gamers. I could see all current Mojang games go on the platform if there’s a demand for it.”

Jenova Chan, thatgamecompany, creator of flOw, Cloud, and Flower – “I’m excited for OUYA! I am a firm believer that there is always room to challenge the status quo.”

Conclusion: How do we support this project?

As a firm believer in the artistic nature of gaming, I feel that we should applaudFuseproject and Mr. Béhar for their efforts in exploring the possibilities of this ever-evolving industry.  Furthermore, I believe that we should support this project in any way possible – especially financially.

In the past 24 hours, Fuseproject has surpassed its goal of $950’000 to meet their production costs.  However, for the next 29 days, you can still donate money and receive a reward depending on how much you give.  For instance, those who give $10’000 or more will receive a free OUYA console and controller with their name engraved into the console, and will be invited with a friend to privately dine with game developers and designers.

For more info on donating, and on the console itself, check out this link.  For more news on OUYA, and all things gaming related, keep reading, gamers.

-Kurt Hvorup, Founder and Admin


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