At the beginning of 2012, there was no such thing as a Google Android-based video game console. Now there’s a growing tide of the machines. Small companies like Smart TV gaming company PlayJam are making devices like the GameStick. Meanwhile members of PC gaming’s old guard like graphics card maker Nvidia are getting in the game with Project Shield. The most promising of the Android console lot, though, is the Ouya. The startup company of the same name rose to prominence after raising millions in a Kickstarter campaign for the console last summer. Why is it the most promising? Games! Major publishers and indie devs alike have pledged support. Now a contest with some $45,000 in prizes for independent developers is underway to further bulk up the Ouya’s catalog.
Ouya has partnered with Kill Screen for Create, a ten-day game making game jam. Developers from every walk of life and corner of the world are invited to submit playable prototypes of video games. There’s a $20,000 grand prize which ten finalists will compete for, and five finalists for five sub-categories that accompany a $5,000 prize. Finalists that actually see their games to completion and release them on Ouya will get a $1,000 bonus. All finalists will receive one of the recently released Ouya development consoles.
“The television—that hearth of sight and sound—is still a closed gaming platform,” reads the contest’s mission statement, “Ouya is designed to open the television, once and for all.”
The judges for this competition make up a who’s who of the video game world, including celebrities like Felicia Day, Fez creator Phil Fish, Journey composer Austin Wintory, and notably Ed Fries, co-creator of the Xbox and one of the advisors on the Ouya.
Support from a large range of developers will certainly help Ouya find more than a niche audience when it comes out in April. Square-Enix announced in July during Ouya’s successful Kickstarter campaign that it would bring some of its existing Android games like the 3D remake of Final Fantasy III to the platform. Namco Bandai also pledged its support for the platform last summer.