OUYA is aiming to redesign the video game industry with their first steps toward an Android-based gaming console. With the slow progress of game and console development by the gaming industry, OUYA hopes to open up the industry to developers, gamers, and hackers to actively take part. Even the controller is, as founder Julie Uhrman says, a “love letter to gamers,” with the usual buttons and analog control sticks but also sporting a touchpad control. It’s all designed by Yves Behar, the designer behind Jambox and the SAYL chair.
The console will sell for less than $100, and is powered by a Tegra 3 quad core processor, 1GB onboard RAM, and 8GB flash, hefting an HDMI connection for 1080p HD, as well as WiFi and bluetooth. If you’re feeling like that’s not enough, and itching to get your hands dirty inside the OUYA console, they’re making it easy to disassemble. It also includes a USB port for building out peripherals. Or if you just want to hack away, the console is easily rooted and won’t void your warranty. As well, every unit comes with an SDK for game developers.
The games are all free to try and then they’ll be monetized in some way – either pay-to-play, in-game purchases, or whatever the game developer decides. It’s built for hardcore gamers, but can support pretty much any style of gaming – it can even run most Android apps, or have apps developed specifically for the console to run on TV. Uhrman says the OUYA will launch with Twitch TV for live streaming games. The main pull of OUYA is that it’ll be easy for game designers to build and sell their offerings through their online store.
Uhrman believes OUYA will open up more game play options for consumers. With OUYA, the company is stepping into a relatively busy marketplace already dominated by the likes of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. “Regardless of the landscape,” says Uhrman, “what’s unique about OUYA is its openness for consumers.”
OUYA is chasing their initial funding phase on Kickstarter, although they have secured some private cash to get started. You can hit up their Kickstarter page here.
The team is looking to raise $950K from interested individuals to get OUYA off the ground and replace crappy old gaming systems that keep everything locked up inside. Uhrman should know, she’s spent 10 years working in the gaming industry for GameFly, IGN, and Vivendi Universal. She’s noticed that the competition has slowed down, not offering up anything groundbreaking recently. They’re also using Kickstarter as a way for the team to harness and implement any feedback on the go. So if the unit is just not quite there for you, you can always put in your two cents.