Even after the relatively cheap, Android-based Ouya console proved a massive success on Kickstarter (the console was able to pull in nearly $8.6 million from investors despite having an initial goal of only $960,000), pundits and prospective owners of the new gaming machine loudly wondered how well it would be able to attract developers who would otherwise be making games for the Xbox 360, iPhone or PC. Assuming you believe official statements made by the people behind the Ouya console, there is nothing to worry about on that front.
“Over a thousand” developers have contacted the Ouya creators since the end of their Kickstarter campaign, according to a statement published as part of a recent announcement on who will be filling out the company’s leadership roles now that it is properly established. Likewise, the statement claims that “more than 50” companies “from all around the world” have approached the people behind Ouya to distribute the console once it is ready for its consumer debut at some as-yet-undetermined point in 2013.
While this is undoubtedly good news for anyone who’s been crossing their fingers, hoping that the Ouya can make inroads into the normally insular world of console gaming, it should be noted that while these thousand-plus developers may have attempted to reach the Ouya’s creators, the company offers no solid figures on how many of them are officially committed to bringing games to the platform. That “over a thousand” figure means little if every last developer examined the terms of developing for the Ouya and quickly declined the opportunity in favor of more lucrative options. We have no official information on how these developer conversations actually went, so until we hear a more official assessment of how many gaming firms are solidly pledging support to the Ouya platform, we’ll continue to harbor a bit of cynicism over how successful this machine might possibly be.
As for the aforementioned personnel acquisitions, though they’re less impressive than the possibility that thousands of firms are already tentatively working on games for the Ouya, they should offer a bit more hope that the company making the console will remain stable, guided by people intimately familiar with the gaming biz. According to the announcement, Ouya has attracted former IGN president (and the first investor in the Ouya project) Roy Bahat to serve as chairman of the Ouya board. Additionally, the company has enlisted former EA development director and senior development director for Trion Worlds’ MMO Rift, Steve Chamberlin, to serve as the company’s head of engineering. Finally, Raffi Bagdasarian, former vice president of product development and operations at Sony Pictures Television has been tapped to lead Ouya’s platform service and software product development division. Though you may be unfamiliar with these three men, trust that they’ve all proven their chops as leaders in their respective gaming-centric fields.
Expect to hear more solid information on the Ouya and its games line up as we inch closer to its nebulous 2013 release. Hopefully for the system’s numerous potential buyers, that quip about the massive developer interest the console has attracted proves more tangible than not.