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Ouya gaming project announces console giveaway

Free prototype units for ten lucky developers

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The makers of the hotly anticipated Ouya Android-based gaming console say they're on track to ship their first development consoles by the end of the year, and a few lucky developers will be able to get their hands on them for free.

According to an update posted to the project's Kickstarter page on Friday, early versions of the games console are currently in production and will ship from the factory on December 28.

The Ouya crew reckons the devices should arrive within two days, which means most developers should have them in their trembling hands just after the New Year – although addresses in Turkey and Russia might take longer.

Not every wannabe Ouya developer will receive one, however, as these first-run devices don't come cheap. While the final Ouya consoles are expected to retail for $99 apiece plus shipping, the early developer devices are only going to coders who pledged $699 or more to the Ouya Kickstarter project.

That steep price tag reportedly caused lots of sad faces among the Ouya community, with many developers emailing the project to lament that the developer kit was simply too expensive.

In response, the Ouya team has launched a giveaway program, in which ten hand-picked developers will be selected to receive one of the first-run developer consoles during the month of December.

To enter, developers need only post a message to Twitter – just one tweet, 140 characters or less – explaining the idea for a game they want to develop for Ouya, along with the hashtag #myouyagame.

The Ouya folks plan to pick ten of their favorites based on how cool they think the idea is, how popular it seems to be (whether people are re-tweeting it or commenting on it), and whether they believe the developer can actually make the game described.

To make things a little easier, entries can also optionally link to a site with more information about the proposed game, which can include art, video, or whatever else helps make the developer's case for the game. The Ouya folks say "we'll try to check that out, too."

The contest starts on December 10, and one developer will be chosen to receive a developer-model Ouya every day for the next ten days (for a total of ten free consoles).

"We will also save a few of these dev consoles for students, so no matter how experienced you are, share your game ideas," the Ouya team writes. "We know there's a lot of craftsmanship between a game concept and a finished product. This little contest is our vote of confidence that you'll get there."

Developers who fail to score a free preview unit (and who haven't already plunked down their $699) needn't feel left out, though. When the retail Ouya models ship in April 2013, every device will also double as a developer console. ®

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