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Here Comes The Ouya

New kid on the block looks spiffy
by Gelo Gonzales | Jul 26, 2012
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So, we're getting a new console after all, folks. And hey! It's one not made by Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo. Aaaand, sorry. It's now a new Atari. This new console, the Ouya (pronounced “ooh-ya!”), unfortunately does not mark the return of the Atari.

Who’s making it? Not a group of high school students, that’s for sure. Spearheading the project is a group of industry stalwarts led by Julie Uhrman, formerly an executive in companies like games-for-rent outlet GameFly, games publishing group, Vivendi Universal, and media company, IGN. Designing the console is Yves Behar, whose design credits include the fresh, modern Jawbone Jambox wireless speaker.

Their plan is to not just create another box to stash in the living room. Their plan is to shake the status quo in TV gaming.

How so? Read on as we check out the little details we know so far about the up-and-coming console

Unconventional funding

While big game companies seek out big time investors, the Ouya is being “crowd-funded,” which is a pretty sweet term for mass begging. At crowd-funding site, you post a project, state what it’s all about, and ask support from people through monetary donations.

Apparently, the Ouya is a well-liked idea. Since the project opened on July 10 in the said website, it has amassed about 5 million dollars, from more than 40,000 backers. Their target was $950,000 to progress from prototype to production, but we’re thinking they won’t mind the extra money available to them now.

Specs please!
The Ouya is the first home console to be powered by the Android OS. It features an NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip, the same type found in some tablets and smartphones. It has 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, HDMI connection, WiFi, and a wireless controller with a configuration that’s more or less similar to that of Sony’s and Microsoft’s.

Yes, these aren’t the most powerful specs you’ve seen in a console, but its appeal goes beyond mere horsepower. Read on.

A developer-friendly console
The biggest appeal of the Ouya, as far as developers are concerned, is the open-source nature of the platform. Anyone (at least those who can make Android apps) can develop games for the system, hackers are encouraged to tinker with it, and even make all kinds of peripherals for it. Think Mozilla Firefox and its various plug-ins.

The power is in the tinkerer’s hands.

A console for the people
First off, the console will ship at just $99. That’s even less the cost of most portable gaming devices today. More than the price of admission, the cost of the games will be significantly, easier on our wallets—as in all games will be free-to-play to a certain extent. At the very least, every game can be played as a demo, while some games can offer extra content at a price.

So when can we get our hands on it?
The Ouya has a target release date of 2013. While Microsoft and Sony continue to milk their current consoles to the bitter end, the Ouya is picking up steam—its for-the-people, by-the-people approach offering a fresh perspective on what home gaming could be.

Perhaps this is the kind of innovation that the industry needs right now. Too early to tell if it will ultimately succeed, but the attention that the Ouya has been able to create can’t be ignored—especially in a market that’s getting staler by the sequel.

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