OUYA Home Console Will Hit Stores at $100 this Summer
Last fall, Epic Games’ Founder Tim Sweeney expressed his worries about the cost of next-gen game development. Explaining that, based off of what it took to make this impressive Unreal Engine 4 demo compared to demos of UE3, he is hopeful that making games at the start of the upcoming generation will only cost twice as much as it did at the start of the previous console cycle. Yes, only twice as much. It’s tough to say what this would mean for consumers wanting to both play these games and feed themselves, but it seems there will be at least one solution to this dilemma coming to us frugal gamers earlier than any game running on UE4. The OUYA, a simpler $100 Android-based home console that blew up on Kickstarter last August, will be in stores like Gamestop, Best Buy, and Target by June.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, CEO Julie Uhrman explained that backers of the project will receive consoles next month and those who purchase through the official website would get theirs in April, though the site is only promising fulfillment by June. A hundred bucks will get you the Rubik’s-Cube-sized console with a quadcore Tegra 3 processor, 1 GB of DDR3 RAM, 8 GB of onboard flash storage, and one controller (an extra one costs $50 more) with two analog sticks, a D-pad, four face buttons, two triggers, two shoulder buttons and a small touchpad in the center. But, your money goes a lot further than that. Every game released on OUYA will be free-to-play on some level, giving you at least a demo before charging anything for the full version, in-game items, or just requiring a subscription. Just like any other modern console, games aren’t the only application: Twitch.tv, VEVO, iheartradio, XBMC, and Plex will all be available on OUYA, and the company is working on getting other media streaming services to provide apps for the box as well. Unfortunately, games and apps purchased on this system won’t run on other Android devices, and games from other devices won’t work on it either, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with it.
Because OUYA is an open platform, you can plug any controller or external USB device into it, and you can also play around with the console itself – using it as an emulator, or putting another OS on it to make it act like a simple PC. Every console can also act as a dev unit, so this is an extremely good buy for those who have aspirations about making their own games or for people who just like messing with tech. Developers who have had their hands on the system for a couple months have reported performance on par with a NEXUS 10 and better than a lot of Android devices on the market. Although comparing it to the systems already hooked to gamers’ televisions is difficult because of the differences in architecture. OUYA supports 3D and HD displays up to 1080p, though, so the games could look just as good as anything on current home consoles.
The tech, price point, and open architecture combine to make this a very compelling package, but because OUYA is totally different than any console we’ve seen before, we’ll have to wait and see whether this can lead to success. The platform is open to any developer, so a lot of new ideas could actually make it to a home console that might have been stuck in mobile or indie PC spaces previously. With such a low cost of entry, these games might end up reaching a very large, price-sensitive audience that the $99 PS2 first proved existed. Those people might be ready for an upgrade while saving their money and waiting for Microsoft and Sony’s console announcements. Whatever happens, many different pieces of hardware will be giving consumers an interesting decision this year.
Follow Levi’s thoughts on hardware announcements as he attempts to save money for any of this stuff, @bigGUNSfowler