That’s right, move over PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the soon-to-be released Wii U! Here comes the Ouya to knock you off of your respective roosts. /sarcasm. Still, this a very interesting little gaming console. The Ouya was announced on July 3, 2012 as a new home video game console, made by a team of design and tech know-hows led by the CEO of Boxer8, Julie Uhrman. On July 10, Ouya started a Kickstarter campaign to see how many people were interested in the project and wanted to donate. Boxer8 confirmed having a working prototype with in-progress software and user interface, and is expected to have their own online store for applications and games. The prototype runs on a modified version of the Android 4.0 operating system (a.k.a., “Ice Cream Sandwich”), features many high-end specs, and a budget price tag of $99. As of July 18, 2012 at 3:00PM CST, the Ouya kickstarter had raised US$5,072,076 with 21 days to go in the fundraising, far FAR ahead of its goal of US$950,00.
The Ouya Kickstarter page has an introduction video that summarizes the many aspects and features of the console. The video shows the design process of the controller with a 3″ touchpad, a glimpse of the system’s internal motherboard, and a peek of console’s game store. The store showcases games from several independent game developers who had supported and shown interest in Ouya, with many of those developers having interest in the system as far back as seven months before the Ouya’s official announcement. Some of the potential games on the new platform include popular and critically acclaimed games such as Minecraft, Canabalt, and Triple Town.
The Ouya will be hardware moddable (with “well-documented test points”) and rootable (developer models ordered during the Kickstarter campaign for $699 or $1,337 — as in “leet”, slang for “elite” — will arrive pre-rooted), and either activity will not void the warranty. The console’s physical design allows it to be easily opened, requiring only a standard screwdriver. All Ouya systems can be used as development kits, allowing any system owner/gamer to play the role of developer, without the need for moderate-to-expensive licensing fees, which is a common hurdle for independent developers who want to publish their games for a major console. All games on the Ouya will be required to have a free-to-play form (such as demos, with either single upgrades to the full/paid versions, or optional micro-transactions within each particular game), a business model adopted from popular PC games such as League of Legends, Team Fortress 2, Triple Town, and many others.