$100 game console pitch ‘OUYA’ smashes Kickstarter records

ouya gaming consoleCheck out our review of the Ouya Android-based gaming console.

Taking on Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo in console gaming is not easy. Most would tell you that a competitor would be destined to fail off the bat. But OUYA, which seeks to enter the console market by turning to Kickstarter, has gotten off to a promising start. It has already set a couple of Kickstarter records, breaking the $1 million mark in record time and bringing in the biggest single-day total of any Kickstarter project yet.

According to Kickstarter, Ouya raised over $1 million in just 8 hours and 22 minutes. The second fastest $1 million grossing project was the highly publicized PC and Mac game, “Double Fine Adventures,” which raised $1 million in 17 hours and 30 minutes. Adding its successes, in a span of just 24 hours, OUYA has raised over $2.5 million. Both figures double the single-day total of “Double Fine Adventures.”

So what is OUYA? At a time when developers are putting their efforts into mobile and PC-based games, OUYA is an attempt to bring gaming back to the living room. It’s an affordably priced $100 dollar gaming console that is the size of a Rubik’s cube and built on the Android platform. The “open design” will enable indie developers to develop inexpensive games based on the free-to-play model like League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, and Team Fortress 2.

ouya game store

While the monetization model for the games is up to the developer, OUYA’s creators have a couple of requirements for releasing a game to the console. Some of the gameplay must be free-to-play, and OUYA will keep 30 percent of the revenue earned by the developer. Think of it as what Valve’s Steam hybridized with the mobile gaming model would be in console form.

The development of the project is headed by CEO Julie Uhrman, a former VP at GameFly and IGN. The individual responsible for the design is Yves Behar, the designer of Jambox and the laptops by “One Laptop Per Child.” Thus far, OUYA has revealed that Minecraft may make it onto the console on a conditional basis, and has already been backed by InXile Entertainment, former Microsoft Xbox executives, Minecraft developer Markus Persson, Jawbone founder Hosain Rahman, and others.

Despite the angel funding that OUYA has received, the money raised from Kickstarter is needed for the following purposes (according to the fundraising page):

  • Convert our prototype to production-ready models and get all the regulatory approvals (yeah, we need these to sell them)
  • Deliver developer kits (for early developers so we can have games on day one, though every console will include an SDK once we launch)
  • Place our first production orders (we are working with a manufacturing firm with lots of game hardware experience, but we need to know how many to make!)
  • Ideally, fund some initial game development (i.e., 1st-party games)

With over $3 million raised in just less than two days, this project just might turn out to be the highest grossing Kickstarter project in the crowd-sourcing platform’s history. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo just might have a new disruptive contender that could be a cause for concern.

OUYA’s specs

ouya console

Console:

  • Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor
  • 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
  • 8GB on-board flash storage
  • HDMI connection to the TV at 1080p HD
  • WiFi 802.11bgn
  • Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • Enclosure opens with standard screws

Controller:

  • Wireless controller with 2.4GHz RF
  • Standard game controls (two analog sticks, D-pad, eight action buttons, a system button)
  • Touchpad for porting mobile games more easily
  • 2x AA batteries
  • Enclosure opens with standard screws

OS and Software:

  • Android 4.0
  • Custom TV UI
  • Integrated custom game store — find and download games (and other apps)
  • Includes SDK for game development
  • Ability to root device without voiding warranty
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