Set-top boxes have come a long way in a very short time. With the Apple TV you can stream any of your content straight from your iOS devices, and Google TV lets you interface with many of your apps on your HDTV. But, what any gamer can tell you is what these set-top boxes have been missing: An impressive gaming experience.
That's where the Ouya comes in.
Ouya is pronounced like "Booyah" without the B.
While the team is careful to call it a "console" not a "set-top box," you'd be forgiven for making the mistake initially. Both are small, usually cheap, and offering experimental experiences.
While its gaming experience won't compete with the current console gamut, it sidesteps the competition by offering something entirely different.
Every game on the Ouya will be free-to-play, at least at first, with developers then setting their own prices, micro-transactions, or anything it takes to monetize their games.
On top of that, the console will only cost $99.
That is, of course, if Ouya's kickstarter makes its goal of $950,000 on Kickstarter.
The Ouya looks gorgeous, and that's in large part thanks to Yves Behar and his firm fuse project, the creator and designer behind a wealth of beautiful products including Jambox, Jawbone, Peel, and more.
The company is also headed up by an ex-IGNer, Julie Uhrman.
But the actual box is only part of the excitement. The controller is where the real magic is. It features all the usuals - two analog sticks, a d-pad, eight buttons. But then it also comes with a touchpad (much smaller than the Wii U's (we're told it'll be somewhere between 3.5 and 4 inches), which should make all the Android touchscreen games easy to port.
For $99, the specs aren't shabby either. They include:
• Tegra3 quad-core processor
• 1GB RAM
• 8GB of internal flash storage
• HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
• WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
• Bluetooth LE 4.0
• USB 2.0 (one)
So how can they sell all this for just $99? By basing their operating system on Android (ICS). The Ouya is intended to be open, and they welcome hackers - rooting it is easy, and won't void your warranty. This raises a rather large concern about the integrity of any multiplayer experiences - if it's so easy to root, it's likely we'll see a surplus of cheaters in any multiplayer match.
But still, for every cheater we could see a tinkering developer making an awesome new feature, or accessory. Who knows? Maybe someone will even create upgrade kits for the Ouya so it can truly compete with consoles. Nothing like this has been done before.
Currently, they have some pretty impressive developers on board, from Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman to Mojang.
Mojang wrote, “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. 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.”
You can check out a video & more on their Kickstarter page: kickstarter.com/projects/ouya/ouya-a-new-kind-of-video-game-console
-- Thought this might be interesting considering we can't really hack PS3 and those controllers look drop dead sexy.
Official XMBC endorsement (they were coding an Android version anyway, but this will likely be optimized). I am not in love with the hardware, but as a game developer I love the fact that I can work on the Tegra profile I already created for creating games on Tegra-based platforms.
Sadly not a lot of companies went for the Tegra boards, but I still have a Tegra 2 development board that I am using to test code on until my OUYA unit arrived.