Android console Ouya smashes Kickstarter goal

Industry figures praise concept of $99, F2P, open design machine [UPDATE: Now over $3m]

Ouya, the Android console concept developed by Yves Behar, has rocketed past its crowd funding total in a number of hours, already breaking the $2 million mark with 28 days to go. [Update: the money just keeps flowing in, as the Kickstarter is now over $3.27 million as of 4PM Eastern time in the US.]

Behar's design, which focuses on open platform technology and insists that all games must have at least some aspect which is free to play, emerged last week after news outlets spotted it online.

Since, many industry luminaries have offered their verbal and financial support for the project: the appeal's page has testimonies from the likes of Jordan Mechner, Adam Saltsman, Jenova Chen and Brian Fargo.

Ouya's specifications, which centre around a Tegra3 quad core processor, 1gb of ram and 8gb of internal flash storage, may not put it in direct competition with next-gen platforms, but appeals directly to developers and coding beginners by making every unit a dev kit.

"Developers can wave farewell to the roadblocks of bringing a console game to market," reads the appeal's page. "Anyone can make a game: every OUYA console is a dev kit. No need to purchase a license or an expensive SDK. It's built on Android, so developers already know how it works.

"That doesn't mean OUYA is an Android port. You can create the next big title in your bedroom - just like the good old days! Who needs pants!?

"OUYA could change AAA game development, too. Forget about licensing fees, retail fees, and publishing fees."

Ouya's disruptive nature will no doubt earn it more than a few fans amongst the development community - and with over $2 million in the bank, it's off to a flying start.

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Latest comments (9)

Wesley Williams Quality Assurance 8 years ago
Great idea and very tempting to invest in, but on top of the shipping in the UK, I imagine I'd have to pay VAT and Customs Duty. That soon pushes the price over 100 for something that doesn't have the horsepower of a 360. Obviously the idea behind the console is the reason to buy it, more than the tech inside it, but I'd need more details before I took the plunge. Specifically I want to know their plans for DRM/anti-piracy, as they'll need a system like Steam in place to avoid rampant piracy on such an open system.
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Chris Nash QA Engineer 8 years ago
You'd face the same shipping and customs costs for any games console you imported from the USA, though. Imagine if Sony didn't have a mechanism for distributing the PS3 in Europe and you were forced to import - that's what the situation with Ouya is now. I'd guess that international distribution is fairly low down on Ouya's priority list - they've got to make sure it's viable in one locale before moving on to the next - but if it takes off, I'd expect to see an EU distribution deal at some point.

As far as the platform goes, I think it's an interesting experiment, but it'll be competing not only with the traditional consoles, but with tablets and phones that run the same kind of Android games. Sitting in the middle of two markets and trying to bring the best of both worlds is admirable - I just hope it doesn't go the way of the Gizmondo...
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
The thing that will keep Ouya alive is the community, as long as it produces games that can compete with console favorites in terms of innovation as well as gameplay. Visuals really aren't mattering at all here, as it's a given that indie games have a style all their own that smash conceptions about what "good" graphics are (Minecraft, Spelunky, Fex, Sword & Sworcery, anyone?).

As for piracy, well... that's always a worry, but I'm thinking a more open platform will make people more willing to pay smaller amounts for games they like as opposed to consoles where many people who pirate seem to all do so because they're constantly bitching about not wanting to pay full retail for games (although that's a lame-ass excuse any day of the week).

The system doesn't need a big licensed sports franchise (hell, get a more graphical version of Baseball Mogul up and running (and make a football Mogul if there isn't one) and it'll automatically be better than what's currently available if you want a solid sim.

Anyway, I wish these guys well, as I've been around long enough to see many would be contenders fall by the wayside (3DO, Xonox, Xavix, NUON, Phantom, etc..). It seems that Ouya just might give a good kick to the shins of the big three and make then rethink some of their business models going forward (digital-only aspects aside, which are problematic for users that can't get reliable service in too many areas )
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This might end up as an alternative for some Android App-store games ... but unless developers are allowed to charge big bucks for their games, and make significant profit - there won't be any "console" styled games for the device. Given the T&C above, it might end up as a home for Freemium titles.
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Adrian Herber8 years ago
There is a lot of talk about free gaming on Ouya, but they do clarify that just means every game must at minimum have a try before you buy option - so a demo followed by full game purchase is acceptable. Also, I hope and expect that as a tv console, more substantial games will be priced in the $10-$30 price range, not $1-$3 like tiny casual phone/tablet games. At the rate this console is getting preordered, by the time it comes out there may already be a user base of several hundred thousand; I hope this day 1 install base multipled by decent price points (with 70% cut for devs) is enough money to become attractive to small professional dev studios.
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James Podesta Lead Programmer, SASimulations8 years ago
with such a small user base, the games will be the same scope as the iPad games.
The extra memory and joystick interface will allow them to be more core-game style, but the budget for games will be the same of iPad. Expect to see a flood of re-releases of existing Android mobile games.

Having a joystick will make a big difference though. While the games will remain low-budget and small-scope (nothing like call of duty, mass effect or diablo), they will at least play more like real console games.

Remember, stuff like call of duty requires millions of sales to break even, at a high price point. Consoles typical have 10-50 million users in order to provide that kind of environment for developers.

Given that currently android vs iOS, android users tend to be tight-walletted and devs are having to make money via advertising, that will be another hurdle to jump.
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Adrian Herber8 years ago
@James You're right of course about real-world budget considerations and the cost of making games like CoD. This console needs an install base in the millions early in its life to really take off (so far its doing well, but a long road yet...).

However, it also has a lot in its favour for devs - everything about the console assists in reducing their costs - one hardware platform to target (platform fragmentation is the bane of Android development from what I hear), virtually free dev kit, traditional controls that are easy to design for, and relatively low system specs (compared to current gen / next gen consoles) that allow for a small budget for game assets (ie. small dev team).

I don't think anyone should be expecting CoD on here, but there is a genuine possibility this could attract experienced professional devs to make quality mid-level games - such as the games getting kickstarted recently, the best 'indie' games on steam, XBLA. I for one hope so, because that is the type of games I want to play.
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Nuttachai Tipprasert Programmer 8 years ago
I still not convinced by this project. All of the console's benefit seem to aim for developers - what about consumers? What's the benefit of open platform when you looking from consumer point of view? If I want to play Mine Craft, I already have my PC. If I want to play Shadow Gun, I can play on any Android tablets. Seem like all people hyped by this are neither developers or enthusiastists. Unless they can convince million of people to buy their console, this system is still far from success.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nuttachai Tipprasert on 12th July 2012 8:52am

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Adrian Herber8 years ago
@Nuttachai: You're right, most consumers don't care about an open platform. But I can see 4 benefits for consumers in Ouya:
1) All games must have gameplay available before spending any money - hopefully this will raise the quality bar and is a positive change from the pre-order push in the current console box-model.
2) Very affordable hardware.
3) They're bringing the easy and safe experience of a curated app store to consoles.
4) Opening the console up to lots of devs with affordable development hopefully means lots of new and interesting games to play.

I also agree that to really be successful they need to get shipped units up to the millions, and they are nowhere near that yet. What they're trying to do is completely crazy, but the more I look at it the more I think they're doing everything right and it *might* work.
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