Ouya is a prototype Google Android video game, a promising idea, and the object of many expectations, both financial and emotional, following Boxer8’s wildly successful Kickstarter campaign seeking to raise money for the device’s development and eventual release. With 8 days to go in the campaign, Boxer8 has raised a total of $5,867,364, more than 6 times its initial goal of $950,000. Since the majority of backers have pledged $99 or less it’s clear that there’s consumer hunger and not just investor hunger for Ouya.
Interest in a console doesn’t make that device a success though. People were interested in Sega’s Dreamcast back in the day but that machine still caused Sega’s death. Games are what make a console shine, and luckily for Boxer8 and Ouya backers, those appear to be on the way. While the creators of indie hits like Canabalt and others back Ouya, major publishers are starting to throw a little weight behind the device as well. Square-Enix announced it will release games for the device on Thursday.
Square Portal reported that the 2006 remake of Final Fantasy III originally developed for Nintendo DS will be its first game for Ouya. Released on the original Nintendo back in 1990, the DS remake of Final Fantasy III has been ported to multiple platforms recently, with an iOS version in 2011, a PSP version expected later this year, and an Android version released just at the end of June. With an Android version of the title already released, an Ouya port will be simple to develop and will ultimately benefit from the addition of a traditional controller.
Square is also promising to release many more titles for Ouya in the future. It’s that promise that is most intriguing. How will Square support the platform? If Ouya is a significant sales success, will Square do more than simply re-release its Android titles for the platform?
Its major console releases like Deus Ex: Human Revolution and others will already be available on the platform thanks to Ouya’s newly announced partnership with cloud-based streaming service OnLive. With a streaming option for other console releases, Square won’t have to worry about the cost of porting titles so they can specifically run on the Android-based hardware. At the same time though, Square will have to settle for making money only through licensing fees paid by OnLive, not through direct sales to consumers.
Ouya is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with, and the machine isn’t even close to being a reality. Much to live up to.