This got viral overnight, a new Kickstarter project to create an open gaming console, hackers friendly, and with a focus on “free to play” or freemium games. The console project, named OUYA, got funded in less than a day on kickstarter, and there’s still 29 days to go, so this is pretty exciting.
One of the exciting bits is that people who pledge 99$ or more will get the console. That’s a very attractive price, and the remaining slots are going down very fast (90% ordered as I type this), so hurry up if you’re interested. I personally already pledged
This is not a next gen console…
Now let’s not get over excited too quick. We’re not really talking of a competitor to the Xbox360 or the PS3 here. The specs are not super highend, the platform will be running on Android, with hardware that currently exists (highend Android for now, but by the day this is released, in march 2013, this will be lowend specs). The 8GB internal storage really sounds not too much to me. My phone has that, and some android games already take close to a GB. Only one usb port, meh…
In the end, what makes the power of a console is the amount of exclusive contents it gets, and the team behind Ouya has yet to explain how they plan to secure that. But given the buzz around that kickstarter campaign, it is possible that they will gather some attention from big players… who knows, maybe Valve will get interested. After all, there were rumors of them coming up with a game console a while ago.
…But it could still disrupt the market
This is not the first time an alternate “hackers friendly” gaming console hits the market. The Open Pandora was also a nice portable console, with better specs than the PSP or the DS, but it joined the market too late in the game, and was a bit expensive. From a pure gamer’s perspective, the open pandora was a failure, a geeky expensive gadget for developers.
But these are different times. Kickstarter did not exist when the Open pandora was created, and the OUYA is backed up by a bunch of indie developers. It could actually make a difference in the gaming market. If anything, with more than 11’000 backers within a day, it is sending a strong signal to Sony and Microsoft that their “we take the share of the lion” console business model is not pleasing everyone, especially game developers.
This success is is also a message to the creators of that project: people are expecting a LOT from this. Trophies, online play, media center functionality… basically everything that made the xbox360 and the PS3 successful, without the hassle for developers. At the current rate of the kickstarter campaign, I would expect Ouya to try for a bit “more” than just an android tablet with a sleek design. They could actually become a major player in the console market, if they play this thing correctly.
Well, and if it’s not becoming anything of that, I guess I just got myself a nice Android for half the price of the nexus 7.
By the way I’m seeing a lot of gamers saying they would never buy a “hackers friendly” console, because people will cheat on it. This is a typical misunderstanding of what hacking is about. There are ways to secure video games on open systems. A system can be hacking friendly and still be secure. it is the responsibility of the game developers to secure their system for online play. Just the same way you are not worried to access your bank account from your computer, because the fact that your computer is “open” to development has nothing to do with the security of your bank’s website.
Thanks to Watching the World Burn for the tip!