If you have not heard of Ouya yet, here are the basic facts:
- Ouya is a startup company founded by Julie Uhrman who’s cv includes positions with Vivendi Universal, Gamefly and IGN. (ok, I’m listening.)
- The business plan for Ouya centers on a new, inexpensive game console for the home. To be powered by Google’s Android OS, with plans to sell the device + 1 controller for under $100 USD. A March 2013 release date is planned.
- The prototype being shown has a great simple design by Yves Behar of fuseproject, and could easily be imagined as a part of the entertainment center in living rooms around the world.
- Right now, it is just an idea. But this idea has something going for it – cash. Yes, thanks to kickstarter this idea has the one thing it needs to bring the concept from prototype to market and into consumers’ hands. As of this writing they seem to have $5,723,365 pledged of their $950,000 goal. Lets hope they don’t blow it all on Microsoft stock.
- Tegra3 quad-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB of internal flash storage
- HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth LE 4.0
- USB 2.0 (one)
- Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
- Android 4.0
The story of this company and its innovative attempt to bust into the console market has been covered by a variety of media including Wired, Forbes, Time, and PC World. The buzz seems to focus on two main points:
- The bold invitation to hackers to Root it, open it up, create new peripherals, etc. The ever present piracy debate is being brought up in relation to this point and the impression given by some is that the Android platform is inadequate to provide secure distribution (guaranteed control) for software developers.
- The indication that Ouya may beat industry giants Apple and Google to market with a device very similar to ones they may be planning to release. (“Apple TV” ring any bells?)
Think about it: All the things you use a smartphone/tablet for will be there. Email, messaging, social crap, web browsing, video streaming, music… it’s all there, albeit a bit less mobile. But now you can play some “grown up” games too. A million apps at your disposal, many of them free, the rest are quite cheap. And who knows what the hackers will come up with? There is enormous potential for added capabilities to rival what we see in the MS Kinect, PS move and wiiU.
Now let’s take a step back and imagine a world of the near future, perhaps a year from now; where the Ouya overcomes many obstacles and makes it to market. Will anyone care? Will it sell more than the N-gage? I’m going to go out on a limb and say “probably”. Despite another possible Xbox 360 price drop, we are unlikely to see a viable game console with better overall entertainment value. It’s not a stretch to see the potential market for a new $100 console, just refer to the increasing amount of fed up gamers hit with the reality of $80 games.
This is why I love the underdog. Out of nowhere and into living rooms, upsetting the establishment and bringing choice and value to gamers.