The team behind OUYA, a $99 Android-based gaming console, thinks that the gadget could change the way AAA titles are produced. Licensing fees, retail fees and publishing fees would seemingly be tossed out the window. Expensive software development kits would also not be necessary, as every OUYA console IS a developer's kit.
"Let's open this sucker up! It's time we brought back innovation, experimentation, and creativity to the big screen," reads the project's Kickstarter page. "Let's make the games less expensive to make, and less expensive to buy. With all our technological advancements, shouldn't costs be going down? Gaming could be cheaper!"
The idea is to hand over the console reins with only one condition: some gameplay has to be free. That means developers will need to offer a playable demo at the very least with a full-game upgrade after purchase. Ideally games would be based on the free-to-play model offering purchasable in-game items or a monthly subscription.
"We get it – smartphones and tablets are getting all the new titles – they're what's hot," the team writes. "The console market is pushing developers away. We’ve seen a brain drain: some of the best, most creative gamemakers are focused on mobile and social games because those platforms are more developer-friendly. And the ones who remain focused on console games can’t be as creative as they’d like."
According to the console's list of specs, it features a quad-core Tegra 3 SoC, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal flash storage, 802.11 b/g/n connectivity, Bluetooth LE 4.0, one USB 2.0 port, and an HDMI output port with support up to 1080p on an HDTV. Android 4.0 completes the package, seemingly describing a current tablet hardware set but without the touchscreen. To make up for the lack of touch-based input is a wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button) and a touchpad.
"We've come a long way already. The user interface and industrial designs are far along. Our prototype is up and running. What we have left to do is simple, but it's expensive," the team reports.
That's where Kickstarter comes in. The team still needs to convert the prototype into production-ready models and get all the regulatory approvals, deliver developer kits, place the first production orders, and fund some initial game development such as 1st-party titles. As of early Tuesday afternoon, the team landed 3,081 backers funding $393,627 of the $950,000 goal. Than as of 5:30pm EST Tuesday evening, the project received 8416 backers funding $1,047,041.
Looks like the project didn't need the August 9 deadline after all.
"Who wouldn't want a beautiful piece of industrial design that sells for $99, plugs straight into your TV, and gives you access to a huge library of games?" said Jordan Mechner, creator of Prince of Persia.
"If OUYA delivers on the promise of being the first true open gaming platform that gives indie developers access to the living room gaming market, yes that is a great idea," said Miecraft developer Mojang. "We will follow the development of OUYA and see how it resonates with gamers. I could see all current Mojang games go on the platform if there's a demand for it."
For more information about OUYA, the Android gaming console, check out the Kickstarter page here. Do you want it now? Yes you do, especially if you're tired of playing Gameloft's 1GB+ titles on your smartphone.