The little OUYA that could
OUYA's Console Specs, XBMC Support, and its Kickstarter Beginnings
The Big Two Should Take Notice...and be Afraid
For the past seven years video game console players have endured a gaming market that Microsoft and Sony strongly dominate. Nintendo's Wii revolutionized gaming from a motion control standpoint but was never able to get a grasp on the hardcore gaming market. The gaming climate under the big two is very restricted where gamers cannot mod or even open their console with violating the terms of service or void the warranty. New titles are set at $59.99 for both Sony and Microsoft's consoles which most gamers think is pretty high. Gamers looking for cheaper games can go to a video game retailer like Game Stop where players sell back or trade in their games. Trading and reselling video games at popular retailers affects the bottom line of console manufacturers which is why the next generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft may have implementations where either games can only be downloaded or a memory-chip like card will be electronically locked to the buyers console.
From Idea to Living Room
This is where Julie Uhrman comes in to the picture and may very well change how we play video games in our living rooms forever. Uhrman, who has a long career in video games and technology, teamed up with Yves Behar to create an open source gaming console with the focus on bringing gaming and entertainment to the living room in a way that consumers truly want, not what is forced on us by corporations. We have all witnessed the way Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store have changed the way people play games and how developers make those games. Games look beautiful and can offer much of what console games have. The problem with gaming on mobile devices is that is it locked to the tiny screen with very few options to add a physical controller. OUYA will take everything we love about gaming on our phones and on existing consoles and merge the parts we love in to one time Rubik's cube sized console that we can plug-in to our television.
Developers (Studios and Indie) Rejoice!
The Big Two are notoriously hard to develop for and that's on top of developers having to deal with the costly process of making the game for both PS3 and Xbox 360. Much like the way New Media is changing the way people consume content, OUYA is completely changing how games can be developed and played. OUYA is Android based, making it easy for developers to know exactly what they are getting in to. Not only can major developers like Square Enix make games for OUYA, anyone with desire to develop for Android can do so as well, just like it is for the Google's Play
This article might seem a little too optimistic about the success of OUYA. The reason I am so optimistic is due to the way OUYA came to be. How did Uhrman's and Yves' idea go from being just an idea to a projected ship date of March and April of 2013? The answer is the power of Kickstarter. For those unfamiliar with how Kickstarter works, people or organizations express something they are developing ranging from music to products. OUYA (the company and console share the same name) brought their prototype to a Kickstarter page and expressed what their intentions are to the world. The reason why I know OUYA will change the gaming industry forever is people choose to back this project. This is nothing something a company develops behind closed doors, launches it, dumps a bunch of money in to advertising and then it takes off. OUYA shared their idea, put up financial goal the company needed to reach to get OUYA off of the ground and sat back to see what would happen. People backed OUYA and not just backed the project to meet OUYA's goal of $950,000, people pledged eight times that amount. This is the first time a gaming console has been developed because of direct support of the gamers themselves.
In the Words of the Toy Story Aliens....Ahhhhh
In the land of giant consoles that could stand to use a redesign, OUYA is what I think of when I hear "the intersection of art and technology". OUYA is the size of Rubik's cube and has the texture of brushed aluminum with elegant white lighting forming the logo. If you backed the project and pledged the amount necessary to qualify for the Kickstarter edition, OUYA will come in a brushed brown aluminum which actually looks really good. The controllers match the color of the console and actually bring a bit of graceful simplicity back to console controllers. Something that makes me excited for the potential of OUYA is the touch sensitive area on the controller. This will help developers bridge that gap for games that rely heavily on swiping or gestures.
OUYA's Specs are something people have been worried about but I think they are underestimating the device. OUYA boasts a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, HDMI out with 1080p support, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, one USB 2.0, and Ethernet. I think that before people criticize the specs that it is important to remember that OUYA is made to be upgraded and modded. People get stuck in old console mindset that whatever it comes with out of the box is it until the manufacturer release an upgrade which means buying a whole new console. There is always the possibility of upgrading specs which will be fully supported by OUYA.
Not Just for Gaming
Another huge benefit to OUYA being Android is the ability to use any application that is offered on Android, including the popular XBMC, Plex, VEVO, iheartradio, and the gaming network Twitch. People pay $99 just for some android based media centers that only play media. OUYA will be able to do it all and be opened source and hackable. Nothing has been said about OUYA and Netflix but there still is a lot of time for new partners to be announced.
The Revolution Will Be Televised
I'm excited for this little console. I'm in my late twenties and I think how lucky I have been to see all the innovation and change in technology that I have. Right now we are in the middle of seeing how television and cable companies are changing because of new media. I believe we are at the beginning of seeing the console gaming world change forever. Luckily, OUYA is coming just in time, right before Sony and Microsoft launch their newest consoles. Keep you eye on OUYA, as the tagline says "the revolution will be televised."