Console gaming is an extremely closed eco-system, with Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft all gripping control of their respective platforms as tight as their behemoth corporate hands will let them. That makes developing for each platform nigh on impossible for an independent developer, which is a large part of the drive behind the Ouya console Kickstarter project.
The team behind Ouya noticed that indie developers were largely moving to mobile platforms due to the ease of access, and decided to try and bring the mobile gaming experience to the television. Partnering with renowned designer Yves Behar, and his firm fuseproject (who created, among other things, the OLPC and the Jawbone Jambox), the Ouya combines the openness of the Android platform with the joy of gaming on a television.
A precisely engineered controller offers navigation (including a touchpad), while a Tegra 3 powered console device with 8GB of on board storage, SD card slot and 1GB RAM. It also has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and a USB port, and connects to your TV via HDMI.
All games on Ouya will offer a free-to-play option, allowing fantastic game exploration opportunities, and there will be titles from not just independent developers, but also major players. Minecraft is naturally a part of the plans. It’s not just about playing current Android games on a big screen though – this is about creating a platform for awesome games that simply uses the open source Android platform in the back end.
The Kickstarter project raised over $1,500,000 in the first day of fundraising, blowing away previous records on the social fundraising platform. It’s already surpassed the 950,000 goal, and those hoping to pick up the console will have to hurry as the initial run of stock is largely sold out already.
That said, the massive success of the kickstarter goal shows there’s a huge demand for an affordable, open home gaming platform. With a console and single controller selling for $US99 on Kickstarter, that seems to be a pretty sweet price point.
The final console itself is expected to ship in March next year, with the crowd-sourced funds set to help get the device through regulatory approval, UI development and more.