Check out our review of the Ouya Android-based gaming console.
The era of the $99 gaming system has begun. Ouya’s Kickstarter backers will be getting their hands on the console first, as the company already started shipping to backers on March 28. Don’t worry; if you didn’t back the Kickstarter project but still want an Ouya, it turns out you’ll be able to pick one up from a retailer like Best Buy and Amazon starting June 4.
Ouya is a $99 mini-console that uses Android and is powered by the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor that you’d find on a smartphone. Like the Google Play app store, Ouya’s growing library of games (104 titles as of today) is only accessible from its built-in store, so you don’t need to pop in a disk if you want to game – the console doesn’t have an optical drive, anyway. Although its current titles are mostly retro-style arcade and mobile games, some gaming heavyweights like Portal‘s Kim Swift is already working on an exclusive title for the Ouya.
Since Kickstarter backers will be the first batch of users to give the Ouya a whirl, their feedback will inform Ouya on how to tweak the system for consumers before the device arrives in stores in June. One of the first things backers will have to do is run a system update, but, according to its blog post, Ouya thinks its update will only take “seconds.”
Customers will also have to enter their credit card information before they can download any game – even a free-to-play demo. If the comments on Ouya’s Kickstarter project page is any indication, this is not going to go over well with consumers. As one backer said, “I too have no problem giving them my credit card for the purchase of games. However, needing a credit card for downloading demos is a bit odd. As far as I am aware, XBox Live does not have this requirement (you can still download demos without XBox Live Gold), nor does the Wii.”
If enough backers complain to Ouya about its previously unannounced credit card requirement, hopefully the company will changes its mind before the consoles lands in stores in June.