On July 10th a little known company launched their Kickstarter project with a view to raising $950,000 towards their Nvidia Tegra 3 Android Home Console, named Ouya. The following 24 hours took everybody by surprise as it was announced that their goal had been smashed and $2,850,000 had been pledged towards their project. As of writing, the fund continues to rise and well over $4,500,000 has been pledged. What does this tell you? Well for starters, Kickstarter is proving to be an excellent way of getting solid fledgling projects off the ground, and secondly – a tonne of people are very interested in an Android home console. Especially when it’s promised to cost only $99.
Android has a huge and loyal user base, it’s versatile, it has a lot of very polished software available (including some great emulators) and anyone can develop software for it. But up until now gaming on Android devices has really been limited to the handheld market. Sure, many handhelds support controllers and have TV output but it’s not quite the same as having a dedicated system sat behind your TV, ever ready to entertain. This is the niche that Ouya is hoping to fill, I guess.
The machine will run a customised version of Android 4.0 and all its dedicated games will be free to play to some extent. The $99 price point indicates that they’re probably hoping to become profitable from game sales, perhaps in a similar way to the Amazon Kindle business model. The device will come with 1 wireless controller but will support at least 2 and the O/S source will be available for developers to do what they want with. Finally.
let’s hope there are some shoulder buttons on the back of this thing 🙂
The machine is slated for a March 2013 release but those of you who pre-ordered are supposedly going to be getting yours a lot sooner. I should be really excited about this thing, and it does look cool, but for some reason that I can’t put my finger on I’m just not very enthusiastic about it yet. It’s perhaps because I like a bit of mystery, and I’m used to seeing these obscure Chinese machines shrouded in the stuff… that and the garish, trendy promotional video makes me feel a little bit sick. The pitch makes it sound like it’s trying to take on the big three, but I hope that if the machine is a success it won’t be because it defeats the giants – it’ll be because of a committed, talented and enthusiastic niche that propel it to become as fundamental in the home console scene as the hacked XBOX1 was in its day. But maybe that’s just me.