The Kickstarter door has finally slammed shut on OUY,A the $99 hackable Android console having raised an astonishing $8,596,475. While it was around $1 million off the total the Pebble watch managed to rack up, the concept has clearly struck a chord with the gaming community since appearing on the crowd-funding website way back on July 10th.
We've already got the low-down from OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman, and with over 60,000 backers eagerly waiting to see the concept turn to reality, we reveal the key details about the OUYA console, the games you are going to play on it and everything else we know so far.
OUYA: How does it work?
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In a response to the growth of smartphone and tablet gaming, OUYA is hoping to bring gaming back to your TV. So how are they going to do it? The setup consists of a small cube-shaped console and a wireless controller, but there has been no indication how it will hook up to your TV exactly. What we can expect once it's been booted up is a familiar looking user interface due to the fact that it runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The advantages of running on Google’s open source mobile operating system means users will be able to root the console without worry of voiding the warranty which means with the combination of some pretty impressive hardware the possibilities of customization are seemingly endless.
Reading like a specs list from a premium Android tablet, the console will be powered by a quadcore Tegra 3 processor and 1GB of RAM which are similar components found in the ASUS Transformer Infinity and the Google Nexus 7. There’s USB 2.0 and a HDMI support to display 1080p HD content, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi connectivity, and the recently announced Ethernet connection which was added as a result of OUYA community feedback. 8GB of flash storage will also be on board to store all of your content.
As for the controller which looks like a combination of the Xbox 360, PS3 and OnLive controller, will work wirelessly and feature a D-Pad, four face buttons, analogue sticks, shoulder buttons and a touchpad for playing touch-based games. Interestingly, the OUYA console will support up to four controllers which should help give it family gaming appeal.
Much of OUYA’s success of course will rely on what games make it onto the platform. There has been plenty of support from indie game developers with a list of titles already announced and cloud gaming service OnLive has confirmed that it will also be bringing its service and catalogue of games as well. Crucially though, support from major publishers is there as well. Square Enix has already confirmed that it will be bringing Final Fantasy III to the console at launch and will be giving it the full HD makeover, while OUYA is also in talks with Namco Bandai to bring its content to the console. OUYA’s first exclusive title comes courtesy of former Call of Duty maker Robert Bowling who announced that episodic prequel Human Element will head to the console in 2015. Details are scarce at the moment, but it is expected to be set in zombie apocalypse realms.
The focus on a ‘free to play’ element means that all games will at least be playable as a demo or have in-game purchases a little bit the way it works for games on Windows Phone 7 phones and the Android and iOS platforms currently.
While many still remain skeptical about the project, the high profile industry support has helped to give OUYA some credibility in terms of its potential success. Jambox designer Yves Béhar is helping to make the perfect controller, while Xbox co-creator Ed Fries has been an advisor in the early stages of development. Other names who are supporting the OUYA cause include Digg founder Jay Adelson and Flixster founder Joe Greenstein.
Others have shown their support financially by pledging big on Kickstarter, including Marcus Persson who helped bring Minecraft to life and gaming industry veteran Brian Fargo who helped launch developers Blizzard, Bioware, and Treyarch. To lead the development of OUYA hardware, software and the operating system, Muffi Ghadiali a man who played key role in the success of the Amazon Kindle was recently added to the ranks.
OUYA: More than gaming
Gaming is the key driving ingredient behind OUYA but that has not stopped other interested parties wanting a piece of the action. Music video service VEVO has confirmed that it will be bringing its content to the console, while the XMBC Android media player and TuneIn streaming radio will also give the console a truly rounded entertainment feel.
OUYA: How much will it cost?
So we know that the OUYA console plus a single wireless controller can be pre-ordered with one controller for $109 in the US while for everyone else, the same bundle will cost $119. There is likely to be other more expensive packages if the $225 pledge for a console and two controllers is anything to go by, but we await more concrete pricing details.
OUYA Release date
So when will OUYA be available to buy in the UK? Currently functional prototypes have been made and developers are still awaiting the SDK but OUYA claims the first consoles will land in March 2013. Unfortunately, there has been no confirmation of whether this will be a global release, so fingers crossed on that one.
Are you looking forward to the OUYA Android console? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below