The Android-powered Ouya console has completed its funding stage, and is now available for pre-order. UK customers can put their name down for one at just $119 including shipping.
That’s just £76 in our good Queen’s coinage - not bad for a device that runs on an Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC and 1GB of RAM. Add in the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS and you essentially have a high-end Android phone (rather like the HTC One X) in a box.
This is a very deliberate move on developer Boxer8’s part. Ouya is intended to be an open console platform, which essentially means you can make games and apps for it with no licensing fees and no need for expensive equipment. The only requirement is that developers make some content free to play.
There’s a ready-made model for all of this in the smartphone app market, and Ouya’s simply harnessing that and transferring it to the living room in a (hopefully) slick package.
To this end, the Ouya console will also ship with a dedicated joypad - which looks rather similar to the famous Xbox 360 controller. This should tempt smartphone gamers who yearn for proper physical controls when playing traditional genres (like first person shooters) on their touchscreen devices.
The story of Ouya’s funding has attracted a lot of coverage in recent months. Announced on July 3 by games industry veteran Julie Uhrman, the project was opened up to Kickstarter funding a week later.
The initial goal was to raise $950,000 from the the crowd sourcing website. It managed to achieve this figure in just eight hours, and then promptly went on to draw in $8.5 million over the following weeks.
Ouya won’t all be about playing indie games from one man start-ups either, although plenty - like Canabalt developer Canabalt - have lent their support. Deals with prominent video game companies are in the works, including Japanese giants Square Enix and Namco Bandai.
Ouya is expected to ship in April 2013. Pre-orders are open at $109 for the US and $119 for international shipping.