The Little Open-Source Console that Might: The Ouya
Independent developers are taking the video game industry by storm, but a majority of games can’t quite make the hurdle onto home consoles. All of that is about to change with the Ouya, an affordable, open-source game console that is aiming to reclaim consoles for the little guys. The Kickstarter for Ouya lasts until August 9 and seems to have a great deal of support already. Will the Ouya change gaming as we know it? Read on, friend!
It isn’t just a few nobodies who think it would be cool to make a game console behind the Ouya. Some folks with some mighty powerful names are working on the project; Ed Fries of Xbox, Yves Behar of One Laptop Per Child, and Julie Uhrman of IGN are just a few members of the Ouya’s team. The console’s Kickstarter has already garnered the support of over 2,000 backers who have, at the time of this writing, pledged over one third of the project’s goal of $950,000. Even Markus Persson (better known as Notch) showed his support for the project, saying that he could invision all of Mojang’s games being ported to the console. There’s no doubt that the Ouya has the support of tons of gamers and developers alike, but what does it have under the hood?
Ouya’s developers practically beg you to do what you want to do with this console. Each console comes with a developer’s kit and can be easily taken apart and modded (without even voiding the warranty). The console is built around the versatile Android operating system in order to simplify the development process. The Ouya’s controller is sleek, sexy, and innovative, while maintaining the feel players have grown so accustomed to. All games released on the Ouya are required to include some free gameplay, but developers are allowed to charge for additional content or the “full version” of games. The Ouya will cost $99 dollars at the time of release; $80 less than a Nintendo 3DS. The Ouya could prove to be everything we want in a console. The key word being “could.”
The Ouya has support and hardware, but does the Ouya have what it takes to achieve its lofty goals? There are a number of potential problems working against the little console that could. Let me ask you: If you were the President over at Sony Computer Entertainment, would you be thrilled to hear about a new console that might very well revolutionize games distribution as we know it? If you were the CEO of Ubisoft, would you be keen on developing games for this experiment in video games? The Ouya has support, but may soon find out that it lacks the support where it counts. Another grim omen for the Ouya is the slew of low quality games that are sure to flood to the console’s online store. Even big daddy Xbox has a problem with this. How many Minecraft clones do you have to sort through in the Xbox indie game section? More than a few. These are just a few obstacles lining up to knock the Ouya down.
The Ouya is a console of the people, by the people, and for the people. It’s the Occupy Wall Street of the video game world, trying to take back home consoles for the developers and the gamers. “The Revolution Will Be Televised,” the Ouya’s tagline proudly proclaims. Are we really on the verge of a revolution? Will the Ouya fall flat on its face? What will become of the little silver cube that, from the time I began this post to the time I finished it, raised over $100,000 in pledges? We’ll just have to wait and see.