So, I just stumbled upon this OUYA Dev console. A device that promises to “put gaming back on the TV.” To me, it hasn’t ever seemed like games have gone away from the TV considering we have the Xbox, Wii, WiiU, PS3 and more, but Ms. Julie Uhrman, the mastermind behind OUYA, thinks otherwise. The console uses Android Jelly Bean, is hack-able, games are free-to-try, game designers can launch their ideas for free and it’s only $99.
The idea was pitched July 10, 2012 on Kickstarter and in eight hours they had reached their goal of $950,000 and were able to end funding just one month later. Their end funds clocked out at over $8 million (that’s 804% over their goal) with more than 60,000 backers making it the top grossing gaming project of 2012. As of Dec. 28, 2012, OUYA has started shipping their plastic encased prototypes and unboxing videos are all over YouTube.
The console is smaller than a coffee cup, coke can or rubix cube (whichever suits your imagination). The gears inside consist of a Tegra 3 Quad Core Processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB flash, HDMI port, two USB ports and a fan. The controllers are wireless, open-able and the batteries go in either side for more even weight distribution. It includes an SDK (hence “dev”) and you can continue to root the device without voiding the warranty. Check out Benheck open up his prototype on YouTube.
Gamers can play whatever they want on demand. Apps from Android, indie games, all the way up to AAA games. Everything is free-to-try and full versions available for purchase. Twitch TV is another feature included for live-streaming and watching games like StarCraft. A full list of games can be found here.
When asking around on my Facebook page, I couldn’t find concurrence with Uhrman’s statement that “more and more people are moving away from television.” I asked people what platform they play on the most and three of five replies said Xbox. These Xbox players also named consoles like Wii and PS3 and two also noted their Facebook games or apps on their phone. I asked again and got a reply from one who said he plays both TV and PC. In response to “Do you think gaming is moving away from the TV,” Carli Hudson talked about her observations of her boyfriend playing PC games. “I think the way they play games is sort of old fashioned (but) they are some of the only people I know that play games on their PC’s rather than on the Xbox and a TV,” she says. Ian McCarty, an avid PC gamer said, “If anything PC gaming has gone down.” I could see how the kids down at OUYA could combat tablet and mobile gaming because the system can play apps as well as “regular” games, but unless I live in an paradox from their world, the TV thrives.
Overall, I think the best features of the OUYA will be the ability to create games, the amount of games that can be played and the hack-abiltiy of the internal mechanisms. Take note developers: You can set your own prices as long as the initial download is free and 30% of your earnings go to OUYA. Currently, the OUYA blog is calling for people to launch prototypes of their games in a contest called CREATE. The team has promised to release the official OUYA sometime this March.
(always remember to let me know if I missed anything or messed anything up.)