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Android gaming console Ouya goes into production, dev kits due in December

Google Android 4.2Check out our review of the Ouya Android-based gaming console.

The makers of Ouya have been quiet in the past month. Ouya, the Google Android-powered video game console developed by Boxer8, made multiple headlines this past summer following an overwhelming response to a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter and the announcement of widespread support from independent and corporate video game developers alike. To now, though, the console has been a prototype, a clever concept that still needed to be transformed into a commercials viable consumer device. The Ouya team broke its silence on Wednesday to discuss the engineering of the actual console that people will get to play.

“Our CAD models and SLAs (plastic prototypes that provide us with a physical look and feel of the product) are finished, and we moved out of the design phase and into development a couple of weeks ago,” said Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman via an update on the console’s official site, “Last week was a huge milestone for us—we received our first run of PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) for the console. We’re set to complete this EVT (engineering validation test) phase on time, and we’re in sync with our December target for developer kits. Since these dev kits are still in pre-production phase, we’ll build a limited quantity. Each one will be a collector’s item—unique in design, build, and appearance.”

The Ouya is, for all intents and purposes, a real console now.

Another note in the update is that Ouya has now upgraded from Android 4.0 to Android 4.2, otherwise known as Jelly Bean. “We’re making the jump from the old version, Ice Cream Sandwich, to ensure that we’re running on the most up-to-date software available.”

When last we heard from Ouya, the group was touting that “over a thousand” game makers had contacted the company looking to develop for the still-in-design console. Among those developers were industry stalwarts like Namco Bandai. Square-Enix even went as far as announcing a version of Final Fantasy III for the device back at the end of July.

The reason there was such an outpouring of developer interest was the impressive amount of money raised for Ouya from customers on Kickstarter. $8.59 million was gathered over the course of a month, with the vast majority of backers paying $99 to receive the console once it goes into production. Why do developers want to make Ouya games? Because the company hasn’t even started making them and there’s already an installed user base of around 60,000 customers. That’s a hell of a start.