Android games console scheme nets $2.5m
Free to play, sort of
Ouya, the tablet-spec games console being pitched at Android hackers, has netted pledges of almost $2.5m in its first round of funding, organised through Kickstarter.
That's more than double what the company was seeking.
The machine is planned to be built around an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, coupled with 1GB of Ram and 8GB of Flash storage. It'll have 2.4GHz 802.11n for downloading games, all of which, the developer claims, will be free to play.
It runs Android, so essentially what we're talking about here is a tablet minus the screen but plus a stylish box and an HDMI port for hooking it up to a TV. It'll come with the customary console-style controller too.
The company's notion is that developers will leap upon the $99 Ouya with enthusiasm and create games for Ouya owners for nothing.
Well actually they won't. Ouya's creators may talk about free-to-play gaming, but a closer inspection of their prospectus reveals they really mean that "all the games on it will be free, at least to try".
So, plenty of demoware and ad-supported content for the freetards, and the usual tablet-priced games for everyone else. Nothing new then - it's just what Google is doing with Google Play. Literally, since that's surely where all the games and demos will come from.
Still, it's a nice idea to take the Android tablet gaming biz and make it accessible through a TV rather than a 10in screen. Not everyone wants to play games on the move, and there are some good mobile offerings out there.
A fair few folk hope Apple will do something of the sort, and make the Apple TV able to download games. It'll need a decent controller mind.
Meanwhile, Ouya's Kickstarter campaign continues for another 28 days. All it needs do then is collect the cash and start punching out
tablets consoles. ®
I still think
A PS2 is a better idea for cheap games, get them for next to nothing and games are everywhere
Re: Software Library
Fair enough, some games will not work and will have to be rebuilt from the ground up. But there are thousands that can be ported and remapped to work with a controller instead of touch.
Looks pretty good
Good idea, opening up the console market a bit and giving indie dev teams who don't have Hollywood budgets a shot at success, and the specified hardware architecture will allow the games to be honed, guaranteeing they will actually work on the console.
Also, I'm glad they're not using a strictly free to play model. I'd personally like the option of paying £2-£5 for a game to support the devs and get rid of in-game ads.
Re: Software Library
I'll be using one as an emulator box for old games, and a media center (XBMC hopefully!)
Seems to be priced for "$99, why the hell not at that price?"
My hand keeps hovering over the button to pay $99 now and get the console on release, purely because this thing is priced the same amount as 6 hours or so on Canal Street with the other half (I am a prolific drinks buyer and consumate gentleman so I mostly pay for everything, so I actually make out pretty well only spending ~£60 in that time).
But I have a few concerns.
It's fabulously hard to become a successful hardware manufacturer today. There's a reason SEGA essentially died, why Atari's last successful console was like 30 years ago when their last console was about 15 years ago. It's because they didn't sell that well. Even with the kickstarter preorders they're looking at an install base of 40,000. Which is sweet fuck all. It won't entice any big developers. Likely this means it'll be stuck with ports of mobile phone games and a few bones thrown by some smaller indies. That's fine for the Ouya guys, they might be able to sustain this and make their money from it. But it'll die quite quickly
Bear in mind that of that $2.5m, $1,774,733 is literally preorders for the console, and a big chunk of the remainder is a small (sub 1000) number wealthy(ish) people (In fact, at levels lower than the preorder level, the kickstarter has only provided about $22,000).
I also worry that they're dangerously close to offering more consoles than they can have made, their initial backer "preorder" was 1000 consoles, which sold in minutes, so they added 5000 more, then another 5000, then another 10,000. Failing to deliver on this could fairly massively damage all the goodwill gained from making somethign unique, interesting and open source.
Ouya is the kind of thing that gets a cult following, and things like that can be successful, but I think they need to shoot for a higher install base than "cult", or developers won't be interested. Lack of developers leads to the install base not growing as people become disinterested, leads to lack of developer interest leads to....etc.
I'm starting to suspect that the initial buzz for Ouya has already peaked on Kickstarter, don't expect to see it make 2.5 million in a day again, or even 1.5 million, I think everyone who wants to know or cares to know about Ouya probably already knows and probably has already backed (give or take a few, give or take double or even triple the amount of the current backers, it's still too small an install base).