Android-powered Ouya games console released to public
Seven months after one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time, Ouya console begins shipping.
Today sees the release of the Ouya, the first Android-powered games
console. Having raised over $8m
on Kickstarter last year, initial backers will receive their
devices this week ahead of a full retail release in June.
Unlike traditional consoles, which still mostly rely on
expensive boxed games, the Ouya takes its cues from smartphone
gaming trends. All games are distributed by a single Ouya game
store, are “free-to-try” and can be developed using the free SDK
included with every console.
This democratic approach may be the norm on Apple’s App Store
and Google Play, but on existing consoles game development is an
incredibly costly and bureaucratic process, with indie developers
frequently segregated from big-name publishers.
The hardware includes a Tegra3 quad-core processor and 1GB RAM –
more than enough to handle the majority of today’s Android games –
running a customised version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Games can
be developed both in Java (as a regular Android app) or using the
Unity engine, which supports Boo,
Ouya the company was last month joined by Kellee
Santiago, co-founder of thatgamecompany, to head up developer
relations. Her involvement in some of the past few years’ most
critically-acclaimed indie games, including Flower,
should add provide the fledgling console with some extra
Ouya isn’t the only Android-powered, crowd-funded games console
on its way to market. Game
Stick (pictured above) raised $650,000 on Kickstarter and is
set to retail for $79, also at the end of June. The console itself
is around the size of a USB thumb drive and tucks away neatly into
It remains to be seen if either console will be able to steal
the limelight from the PlayStation 4 and the successor to the XBox
360, likely to be released at the end of the year. However,
pre-orders for the Ouya are already being accepted by high street
retailers such as GameStop in the US and GAME in Britain.