When we heard about the Ouya (pronounced “oooh-yah”) Android-powered gaming console it was still gathering up steam on Kickstarter. However, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, which helped Ouya raise $8.6 million from over 60,000 backers; the developer of this interesting new console has promised that supporters and developers will have access to their units around December 28th when they're shipped.
Ouya is a NVIDIA Tegra 3-based platform that runs an interface based off of Google’s Android OS. The system will have a game store, and is open to any developer who wants to publish games for the system. The Ouya campaign boasts support from developers such as Mojang, inXile, and Canabalt (among others). Outside of the above mentioned developers, game/app makers like Vector Unit (developer of Tegra-enhanced titles such as Beach Buggy Blitz and Riptide GP) are closely monitoring Ouya's progress.
Vector Unit said the following in an email:
"Currently we are not working on an Ouya version of our games, but we're keeping an eye on it to see how it does, and may consider adding games in the future!"
Developers seeking to make apps for the Ouya receive the SDK for free with the purchase of a console.
For gamers, the Ouya promises playability of AAA to indie titles, and functionalities from Android apps such as TwitchTV for streaming of e-Sports to a television. All games will all be free-to-play, with in-game purchases and trials being the exceptions. The console has a planned pricing of under $99, and will come a standard controller with touchpad.
For the Android enthusiasts, the Ouya is ‘built to be hacked.’ For instance, rooting the device won’t void the warranty, and every unit will come with a debug console. On the hardware front, the Ouya is held together by standard screws, which will make it easy for tinkerers to bust the unit wide open without too much effort. USB ports will be available for attachment of peripherals, and the PCB comes with ‘clearly documented test points’ for people who want to solder a thing or two onto the Ouya hardware.
The first batch of dev consoles will be ‘pretty special’ according to a blog post on Ouyah’s official homepage. The announcement neglected to mention what will make the early dev consoles ‘special,’ and teases people that they’ll know once they receive it.
For the rest of us who are still eyeing this project, the maker of Ouya is projecting that the first consumer-ready consoles will ship in early 2013.