Ouya, the little open source console that could has been making news again of late. The establishment of a new console gaming system is every bit as much about making business connections as it is gaming hardware and Ouya is working through this process as we speak.
Recently the deals have started to roll with pen being put to paper. OnLive the remote gaming company and VEVO the music video platform have both signed deals that will see them installed as standard on the Ouya desktop.
Game announcements are beginning to be made; Final Fantasy III, Human Element and Shadowrun all joining the console for its release party in March 2013.
The Rubik’s Cube sized console is building up to be the most desirable addition to the living room in years. To be released in March 2013 it should have at least a 6 month lead on the latest next generation Xbox and PlayStation, with the current generation getting a little long in the tooth the Ouya will actually be the most powerful console on the market for a short time.
The Kickstarter Update
After collecting just under $6,000,000 since its launch on the Kickstarter website in July the Ouya page will be closing in a week. Pre-orders are still being taken, with a special edition brown model available for the last week.
Along with the recent introduction of Ouya.com, the site for news and general bloggy information around the Ouya scene, the media updates continue on Ouya’s Kickstarter page. To celebrate the overwhelming response the company received through their Kickstarter project Ouya announced a special edition Ouya console that features a chocolate brown colour and a $140 USD price tag. No new features are included aside from the relabelled controller and special paint job.
The page update also announced the partnership with VEVO, the world’s leading music video and entertainment platform. Users will be able to access music videos from your favourite artists any time on the big screen.
News of new industry partnerships continues with OnLive and Ouya announcing the OnLive’s game streaming client will be installed on the Ouya desktop out of the box. In one foul swoop OnLive gives gamers access to a collection of 250 PC and console titles along with performance levels far higher than the Ouya’s hardware is capable of.
Games and Industry Support
Game availability is an enormous challenge for any new console, even Sony and Microsoft struggle during this establishment period of every new console.
Industry support is beginning to appear for Ouya with Square Enix backing the project. Announcing Final Fantasy III in HD will be one of the launch titles. Big name industry support from companies such as Square Enix is important to the consoles viability, and support does seem to be building.
Robotoki’s Human Element is the first exclusive title secured for the Ouya’s release. The zombie shooter will be a prequel to the company’s first game of the same name. “Robotoki is the first studio to commit to building a game exclusively for Ouya: an episodic prequel that will set the stage for his eventual release of Human Element in 2015”
Other Software announcements include Shadowrun which has recently announced Linux and Ouya versions will be released.
Gaming accessories, an important part of gaming are beginning to be announced with Gamercize announcing their exercise accessories will be available for the Ouya upon release
Highpants Commentary: The Ouya Will Work.
The decision to use Android OS the operating system for the Ouya has been a controversial one. As a platform it ticks all the boxes and has little effect on the actual personality of the console. The decision to make the console open source and openly mod’able along with the embracing the free2play model will have a much greater impact on the console as an experience.
Embracing the Free2Play model is a stroke of genius that may even combat piracy, one of the major issues discussed by the technoratti. Making games accessible is as much about making them affordable as it is about distribution.
The mobile phone gaming revolution isn’t being driven by their incredible screens, great controls or even the depth of the backstory of the game. It is being driven by the ease and speed to get playing (convenience) and the price to start playing. The days of paying $100 to start playing a game, as is normal on PC and Console, are drawing to a close. In a time when the Samsung Galaxy SIII is one of the better game consoles and media centres for HDMI TV’s you can quickly get the impression that the old model is in trouble. Now for the price of a single PC game you can buy an entire console and start playing.
PC gamers have endured many hoop jumping routines over the years; simply installing a game has often been less than simple. Hopefully the days of a half hour install from DVD, on the way installing all manner of copy protection shenanigans, entering a key and then hoping the game installs first time, hopefully these days are drawing to a near.
Ouya have also lowered the risk for the consumer by pricing the console under the magic $100 mark. If you don’t like it as a console, use it in the bedroom as a media player. However, if it does work as a console, a second one may also need to be purchased for the bedroom.
The success of Ouya may be an interesting barometer of how much the home entertainment industry has changed over recent years. Can it really succeed against the big 3; Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, we think it can. Ouya is an economical way to get your fix of gaming, media and the internet on your big screen TV.