The Ouya, an Android powered game console, has been on the minds of gamers everywhere for the past month since it raised over $1 million in a day for its Kickstarter campaign. Everybody in the industry had something to say about the Ouya from claiming it was going to fail to saying it was going to save gaming. Either way, it's the second most funded project that Kickstarter has ever hosted.
Funding ended last night for Ouya and the project has raised a little over $8.5 million. The only other project to earn more pledges was the Pebble, a watch for iPhone and Android. It brought in a little over $10.2 million.
Despite claims that the Ouya was a fake or that it was going to fail, gamers obviously feel very different about it. On top of the insane amount of money raised, the console was backed by 63,416 people all wanting the console for very different reasons. There are those who obviously just want a new console, but many developers put in money to get access to dev kits.
So now that the Ouya is funded, where do we go from here? The console will start going into full production now with a tentative release date of March 2013. During that time, developers will start creating games for the device. It's a decently capable machine that's powered by Nvidia's Tegra3 processor.
The processor is going to be its biggest weakness, however, when attempting to appeal to a hardcore audience. The makers of the console envision it as a place where the casual and hardcore can get along and just enjoy games. The only problem is that a lot of hardcore gamers demand the very best in visual fidelity and the Ouya just can't deliver.
What it will deliver is an inexpensive game console that will have all the benefits of modern game consoles, including media streaming, without the big budget games. The open nature of the console ensures that anybody can make games for it and sell their games directly to the players. Even the major players like Namco and Square Enix have pledged support for the console, albeit with ports of decade old titles.
The most exciting thing about the Ouya is that it might do for the console what Steam did for PC gaming. It has the potential to open the living room to indies. There are plenty of indie developers who grew up on console gaming and they would love to return to those days. The Ouya is the embodiment of nostalgia and it's going to use that to play on gamers' emotions. As long as developers realize this, it's going to at least succeed in some sense. If developers try to emulate modern hardcore experiences on the Ouya, it will fail in more than one respect.
If you missed the Kickstarter campaign, you can still grab an Ouya for yourself. The company has opened up pre-orders on its Web site which includes a console with multiple controllers. For just the console and one controller, it will cost $109.99 with the console and four controllers running for $199.99. International orders will have to tack on an extra $10 onto the U.S. price.
No matter how well the Ouya performs, it's going to be interesting to watch its development over the next year. With the Wii U coming out later this year and the rumored Xbox 720 and PS4 coming out sometime in either 2013 or 2014, the Ouya has some competition ahead. The price and developer friendly SDK might just be enough to compete.