OUYA is one of the major success stories of the premier crowdfunding site, Kickstarter. The company raised over eight and a half million US dollars last year, all from consumers interested in the promise of an affordable new kind of gaming console. Unlike the high-powered, high-cost alternatives from Microsoft, Sony, or even Nintendo, the OUYA uses low-powered ARM chips and the open-source Android operating system.
One of the draws of going with Android is that users will be have access to multiple apps from the Google Play market, including streaming software such as Netflix or Hulu Plus. Unlike other consoles, this compatibility allows OUYA creators to pad the system with substantial new capabilities, all for a minimum of engineering and development effort.
We first saw the console get shown off late last year in a special development edition. The dev units were sent to registered game and software developers in the hope that when OUYA launches, it’ll come with dozens of game titles available for users to buy and play.
One idea that sets the OUYA apart is that all games available in the console’s marketplace will be available for gamers to try, for free. This lets users pick and choose what they want to spend their money on.
With general availability to land somewhere around the beginning of June, OUYA will start shipping to Kickstarter backers as soon as March 28th, so we’ll all find out soon just how good this incumbent gaming system might really be. The OUYA will cost buyers $99, a steep discount from the several times more expensive alternatives; a second wireless controller will run an additional $49.99.