by Eric Miller0
State of Play: Ouya!
So you want to know what OUYA is? Well strap in, because for the Android gamer, this will change the way that you get your game on.
OUYA was started with a Kickstarter fund, some company money and some rousing endorsements from industry leaders. This new open source console is worth investigating. But what’s under the hood of this new console?
The processor is from the good people over at NVIDIA and the Tegra 3 super chip processor is the first of its kind and has already been used by the Nexus 7 from Google. This chip is setting the standard for all mobile devices, so why is it running on the OUYA? Because the OUYA runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, in addition to the Tegra 3 processor, OUYA also comes packed with an ARM Cortex-A9 CPU. What’s that? How nice of you to ask! It’s a 32-bit multicore processor – meaning that it runs the Tegra 3 at lightening speeds.
OUYA also comes with standard 8 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM making all those games, apps, movies, music videos, books and everything Android has to offer pop up quickly.
But how will Angry Birds look on my new and expensive HD television you ask? Thanks to the HDMI input, NVIDIA ULP GeForce GPU, all your games will look spectacular.
Rounding out the technical aspects of this new device, we have 1 USB 2.0 input, WIFI, Bluetooth and an Ethernet port. The last two options were suggested by Kickstarter contributors and picked up during development: a nice change of pace compared to the customer service centers of Sony and Microsoft.
All of this comes standard and I want to emphasize standard. Because one of the many, many benefits of this new console is that rooting, modification and customization are not only possible but encouraged. Both the console and wireless controller come built with standard screws and are easily opened for modification and hacking. Because of its open source nature, both software hackers and hardware gurus can trick out their own OUYA without voiding the warranty.
The same also goes for game developers. OUYA includes an SDK for developers out of the box and the all-new integrated game store to see what’s hot, new and who stole that great idea you had.
So we have a box of electronics that is designed to be messed with by anyone and everyone, but what does it offer for the casual gamer who isn’t concerned with hardware? Thankfully, we have a list of games a mile long thanks to OUYA partnering with OnLive and its list of games that can be delivered online. As an added bonus, its first exclusive game will come from Robert Bowling (former creative strategist for Infinity Ward) and his new company Robotoki. The first exclusive title will be an episodic prequel to Human Element scheduled for release in 2015.
The other massive news that has made its way around the Internet is the release of Final Fantasy III rebooted with HD graphics. This is big. This is the first time that anyone outside Japan will be able to play Final Fantasy III on a console outside Japan. You can almost hear the collective delete of all those illegal ROMS.
Square Enix isn’t the only first-rate developer to have its hands in the pot. Others include Namco Bandai, as well as indie game legends like Marcus “Notch” Persson from Mojang and Brian Fargo of Interplay and inXile fame.
There’s been a lot of talk about the price and it is cheap. OUYA is a mere $100 with all titles as “free-to-play.” The additional price for games is up to the developers, Android gamers are used to this, thanks to companies like GAMEVIL, Halfbrick and Glu Mobile that already offer paid aspects of their free games.
OUYA is a console, and like other consoles there’s more to it than just the games. OUYA comes with music and radio streaming from VEVO and iHeartRadio as well as an international partnership with TuneIn. How are you going to play all your media you ask? OUYA answered with XBMC and Plex, two award-winning universal media players.
Even with all this information, news and excitement, some people are still not convinced and I was one of them until I saw the figures provided by Kickstarter and Boxer8. The first day OUYA was on Kickstarter it generated $2.6 million and it reached the $1 million mark in 8 hours and 22 minutes. According to Kickstarter “in just 24 hours, 20,000 people bought an OUYA console…By way of comparison, Microsoft sold 326,000 XBOX 360 consoles in its first week.”
There’s a need for a new console. We have been susceptible to the increasingly heavy shackles of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo for far too many years. Boxer8 and its OUYA could very well be the answer that gamers, developers and hackers have been waiting for. The hype machine is running at full speed. We’ll have to wait and see if it derails when the OUYA is released in March of 2013.