It’s no secret that smartphone and tablet gaming is heating up in a big way. Titles are much easier to code on these platforms and the low production and consumer cost is a win-win for everyone involved.
A startup based in Los Angeles called Ouya agrees with all of these statements, but they feel that gaming is still best done at home on a large television with booming surround sound. Their solution is to merge portable gaming with at-home console gaming, and do so on the cheap.
Update (7/12): Funding has gone all the way up to $3.5 million dollars, and counting...
Update (7/11): Ouya's Kickstarter has not only surpassed its $950,000 goal in less than 24 hours, but as of writing it's raised over $2.1 million with 28 more days to go and showing considerable interest with some 17,000-plus backers thus far.
The Ouya is an Android-based open-source console that is powered by a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal flash storage. The device uses a wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button) and a touchpad. The console and controller were both designed by Yves Behar, the person behind the Jawbone Jambox and the One Laptop per Child portable.
The console is open to any developer with one condition: at least some portion of gameplay has to be free. Of course this can be interpreted by the developer in a number of ways, from offering virtual goods at a price to selling subscriptions.
The console is hacker-friendly as Ouya encourages users to root it. Everything opens with standard screws and we are told that users can even create their own peripherals and connect them via USB or Bluetooth.
Ouya is taking to Kickstarter to fund the console and if early pledges are any indication, they shouldn’t have any trouble reaching their goal of $950,000. As of writing, more than 3,000 backers have already pledged over $375,000 with 29 days to go.
The final product is expected to cost under $100 and could be available in the first quarter of 2013.