Ouya, The Future of Console Gaming?


 

Ok, I won’t be surprised if you don’t know what Ouya is, since up until yesterday I was fairly unaware of it myself. I mean, I knew it was coming into existance, but I didn’t know the scope of it (and I don’t think the developers did either) until the Ouya Kickstarter went live.

So… What is Ouya? Well, besides having a strange name, it’s a small gaming console with big dreams. The idea is to bridge the gap between mass market blockbusters, such as Call of Duty, and smaller independently developed masterpieces, like Canabalt. The developers want Ouya to be the go to console for independent developers. Ouya will be less expensive to develop and market for, as well as being cheaper to buy. How much cheaper? The target price point is $100!

Analysts feel that the console market is dying, and the current trend of “making a game then closing the studio for good” lends credence to these speculations. Ouya wants to see the market thrive. They’re doing this by appealing to a different demographic of developer. Instead of relying on big budget blockbuster titles, Ouya will focus on small independent studios to develop fun and FREE games for the console. So while the “Big 3” consoles throw money out the window in favor of the big studio games, Ouya will encourage smaller studios to develop for them instead.

Developing games is insanely expensive for even the smallest games. It’s gotten to a point that most independent developers can’t produce their games for consoles, and instead need to rely on selling their games via the iOS and Android app stores, or STEAM, to make any kind of profit on their projects. The biggest issue with this model is that iOS and Android aren’t as reliable in creating consistent sales like console games. On top of that, expensive apps tend to not sell as well as cheaper ones. I don’t know about you, but I tend to not download most apps unless they’re free, or on sale for really, really cheap (WHERE ARE YOU STEAM SUMMER SALE?!?!?!) Ouya is going to make the console market easier to get into for independent developers by building an inexpensive console around an easy to develop OS, Android 4.0. With Android being used it means that essentially anyone can develop for Ouya.

Of course just knowing the OS won’d be enough for devs. We’ll need to know the specs of the console! Currently the Ouya sports the Tegra 3 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8GB Internal Flash Storage, HDMI connection with up to 1080p resolution, Wireless 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth LE 4.0, and 1 USB 2.0 port. It will also come packed with a single controller that has all of the standards gamers are looking for: D-Pad, face buttons, triggers, dual analog sticks, and a touch pad for easier integration of mobile games.

Ouya is encouraging developers to make new, and unique games for the console. They’re also allowing devs to port over their already popular titles from the mobile platforms to the new console. The goal is to make console development more open and friendly to all levels of developer.

One thing I’d like to stress is that mobile OS gaming has excelled in the short amount of time it’s been active. Just because Ouya is based off of Android doesn’t mean we’re only going to see ports of Angry Birds, and Farmville. While they may still show up, it’s important to know that a lot of companies are releasing amazing games for Android and iOS. Games like Infinity Blade, Dead Space, and Final Fantasy III are all top tier titles that are available for purchase and play on your handheld device, and they all look amazing! Soon enough games like these will  be available for play on Ouya on your TV in up to full 1080p resolution! The best part is that even the smallest developers will now have the opportunity to see their dream titles come to life on a console, without spending a fortune they don’t have.I think Ouya could be a refresher to the console gaming market. I don’t see it revolutionizing anything, but I do see it changing the way the Big 3 look at their online arcade and indie development strategies.

The best part is: People believe in this console! The kickstarter went active yesterday, and as of this writing there are over 22,000 backers with nearly $3 million in pledges! That’s more then 3 times the target amount in just over 24 hours! It’s an astounding amount of money and even the developers behind the Ouya were surprised. They have stated that now their goal is to come up with some eally cool stretch goals. They’ve taken some suggestions and the most common points are: better processor, more ram, and expandable memory. These are all great ideas, but they still want to keep the price point below $100… So I don’t really see those kicking off anytime soon. But here’s hoping for the best!

You can find out more about Ouya from the official Kickstarter page as well as watch a video explaining the goals and ideas behind the console itself. I’ll be doing my best to pledge some money before this one closes up, and I highly recommend you do the same!

is not a boss.

You can Email Eric or follow Eric on Twitter @EricSweeten or Facebook

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