A new level
Android-based Ouya console nears release
March will see the
release of the first ever Android games console - the first able to
run games written entirely in Java.
While powered by Android, the Ouya plugs into TV sets and features an Xbox-like controller in an attempt to open up the traditionally closed market, which mostly use C/C++ and are expensive to develop for.
After a wildly successful Kickstarter last year - raising over $8.5m and an initial 46,000 pre-orders - the console should go on general sale next month for $99. It runs a heavily customised version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean powered by a Tegra3 quad-core processor and 1GB RAM - identical to the Nexus 7 tablet and more powerful than the Xbox 360 (Editor's note: Eurogamer has a good comparison).
The Ouya console.
Ouya is far from the first Android-powered set-top device, but
it’s the first to be marketed as a mainstream games console, with
considerably industry support and a dedicated controller, recently updated to
be “as honed, fast and precise as possible”.
However, it takes most of its cues from mobile platforms, rather than traditional game consoles: it features an open-source SDK, a “game store” said to be very similar to the Android marketplace and the option to root the console without voiding its warranty. More controversially, every game must include a free aspect, such as a demo (or entire ‘free-to-play’ model).
The only question now is how well the Ouya will sell: can it crack the mainstream console market, or be stuck as a niche enthusiast device?