VIDEO: Affordable Android Based Console called OUYA
A group of developers are working on a prototype of a console that will "crack open the last closed platform: the TV". Indeed, making games for consoles like the PS3 or the Xbox is a long and expensive process. That's why the Android based OUYA is hoping to be a definitive game-changer.
Basically, the OUYA is a $99 USD compact console that is powered by Android 4.0. The makers of the system want to make it as open as possible. Every console acts as a development kit without having to purchase any licenses or extra SDKs. If you have the console, are familiar with Android and have a game concept, you can make it happen on the OUYA. In the spirit of making their platform as open as possible, it will be easy to root the console and doing so won't void the warranty. It will be built with standard screws so anybody may open it with regular screwdrivers. You want to run your own software or build your own peripherals? Just connect everything to your OUYA using standard USB ports or via Bluetooth. Technical specs were released by the makers of the OUYA themselves for every hackers convenience. Not to mention that being an Android based console, it will support many existing apps and mobile games previously acquired through the Android Market.
The OUYA is still at the Kickstarter phase; meaning that funds are being raised in order to start building and shipping the finished product. Check out the intro video below:
Is there are market for the OUYA? Of course! With the explosion of mobile gaming brought on by the popularity of smartphones, more and more people are acquiring a taste for affordable simple games. Not to mention that iOS, Android are more developer friendly giving independent game designers the tools to easily create and monetize their product. Services like Steam have bridged the gap between the developers and PC or Mac users. The popularity of independent games like Minecraft and Torchlight on the PC is more evidence that there is not only a market for smaller production games but also that big budgets and hight tech development doesn't guarantee your success. Bottom line: people want fun games to play on the platform of their choice, that can be the larger than life Skyrim or the nostalgic 8-bit looking sandbox that is Minecraft. However, this new trend in gaming has yet to transpire in the game console world. The OUYA would be the first to do so.
Why haven't I ordered one yet? Because no matter how good the container, without great content, it's just empty and sitting pretty. We've seen it before with the Wii and the DS. Nintendo revolutionized the world of gaming with the DS' dual screen touch-pad design and the Wii's motion based gaming. However, Nintendo always fails to deliver enough blockbuster games to properly support their consoles. You expect the Mario World, the Zelda, the Mario-Kart and other familiar titles but there is very few fresh new IP's coming out. The makers of the OUYA can't make the same mistake, even if it's just a $99 console. Other than Android mobile ports, they've got a few independent game designers and developers and a few partners on board to bring content to the console. It was confirmed Minecraft and Twitch.tv are going to be on the OUYA. Eh, not good enough. I can get those on my TV with a DVI to HDMI cable. What else? An exclusive title? Sounds interesting. It's called Human Element and it's a survival game set in a post-zombie apocalyptic world. Could be good like it could be Fallout clone. But it's a good start. Undiscovered gaming geniuses of the world need to step up to the plate. Time to get that concept out of your brains and onto Android. There's also the simple fact that it's still at the prototype level. Without a physical working model, one cannot completely assess the quality of the product as well as its lifespan. I won't be making the leap of faith and ordering one through Kickstarter for now.
For more information, check out the OUYA's Kickstarter campaign.