There's a lot of hype surrounding the Ouya game console. It's a Kickstarter darling, having broken all sorts of records on the crowd-funding site in just a few days. The project raised a million bucks in just over eight hours and over $2.5 million in its first day, easily outpacing other popular projects. Just a few days in, over $4.4 million has been pledged by more than 34,000 backers. Most of those folks have kicked in $99, which entitles them to the console and one controller. Here's the pitch that has folks so excited:
The Ouya uses a Tegra 3 SoC backed by 1GB of RAM and 8GB of flash storage. The Tegra chip feeds an HDMI output in addition to one USB port. 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both supported, and it looks like the latter will be used to interface with the wireless controller, which promises dual analog sticks, triggers, a directional pad, and a host of buttons. Android 4.0 is named as the OS, and custom software will run on top of that.
According to the Kickstarter page, the Ouya will be easy to root and open to hackers. Indie developers are being courted, as well, and there's mention of all games being free to play. No wonder so many folks have coughed up a Benjamin to reserve their own system.
Before you get too excited, check out The Penny Arcade Report's skeptical take on the Ouya. As the site points out, some of the project's claims are contradictory. Games won't necessarily be free to play, although they may be free to demo, and it doesn't appear that any developers have actually signed on to make titles for the console. The controller hasn't been finalized, and work has only just begun on the distribution system charged with delivering games to users. There is much to be done before the Ouya's projected March 2013 release date.
Obviously, a lot of folks are keen on the Ouya. I'd love to see it become a success. However, the project faces very real challenges, especially since most Android games are designed with touchscreens in mind. The Ouya may need a lot more backers to establish an installed base large enough to lure developers.