Remember that Kickstarted Ouya game console? The $100 device features Nvidia’s Tegra 3 processor, Google’s Android OS, a custom controller with dual analog sticks, and the promise of loads of indie games. Over 63,000 people backed the console on the crowdfunding site, and those folks will get hardware starting in March. Don’t worry if you missed out, though. Ouya has inked distribution deals with big-time retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Gamestop. Those vendors will start shipping the console in June, according to the Wall Street Journal, and Amazon has a pre-order page already.
If everything works out as planned, Ouya will have gone from Kickstarter project to widely available retail product in less than a year. It’s easy to see why there’s been so much interest. The console is supposed to be easy to root and hack, and XBMC has pledged to support it. For $100, you’re getting a game console and a media device.
The Ouya’s success as a game console will ultimately depend on whether developers embrace it. The list of upcoming games compiled on the Ouya forums looks pretty substantial, although it’s definitely short on recognizable titles. That’s sort of the point, I suppose. The Ouya is designed to shake up the console market by making it easy for smaller developers to create and distribute games.
Let’s hope there’s a good mechanism for sorting the higher-quality titles from the rest of the fray. The sorts of consumers who might consider buying this thing at Target probably have a different set of expectations than the folks who signed up to fund its development. It will be very interesting to see whether the Ouya can make the jump from Kickstarter darling to mainstream success.