The promoters of the $99 console, Ouya, were aiming to raise $950,000 on Kickstarter for production of the console. As of this post, they have crossed that goal five times, with contributions piling up to $4,961,816. Now that they have the money they need, Ouya are in talks with Nvidia for maximising the potential of the Nvidia Tegra 3 chip they’re using, according to a post on Ouya’s Kickstarter page.
As per the report, Ouya is also considering allowing developers access to the raw circuit board at an earlier date than originally planned, allowing them to get a headstart on development. “And maybe we’d add one more level that gives you just the software—no early console.” said the company.
The Ouya Kickstarter started a little more than a week ago. The team working on the Ouya has a dream of changing how the current console market works, where console manufacturers have a tight leash over what games can and can’t be on their system. Julie Uhrman, founder of Ouya – who’s had executive experience at IGN, Vivendi Universal, and GameFly – thinks it’s about time the console market finally learned something from platforms like the iOS about new business strategies. “It’s ironic. All the growth in gaming is moving to mobile platforms, [and] we’re seeing a lot of AAA developers leaving their console shops to go to mobile. Yet three out of every four dollars is still spent in the living room, a majority of gaming time is still spent on the TV, and if you survey any gamer they’ll tell you their No. 1 platform is the TV."
The increasing expense and complications of getting a game on to a console are forcing developers onto other platforms, Uhrman said. She opined that it’s leading to a situation where the consoles are “stuck with sequel after sequel versus new games and IP because it’s too expensive and no one wants to take a risk… We just think the time is really right. Nothing new came out of E3 [hardware-wise], and everybody’s feeling a little tired. It’s interesting because around the time of E3, everyone was asking if consoles were dead. We don’t think consoles are dead, we just think it’s time to re-think the way we do business.”
The Ouya has the hardware specs you would expect from a console that costs $99. It uses the same kind of quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor that powers Google’s Nexus 7 and Microsoft’s Surface tablets, along with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of built-in storage. This will let the system run decently complex 3D games at 1080p, but the graphics won’t be very good as compared to the Xbox 360 or the PS3.
Every console will come pre-loaded with an SDK, letting anyone familiar with Android development be a potential developer for the Ouya without paying any additional fees. The Android operating system on the Ouya will be fully rootable as well, meaning that a Linux distro is likely to be seen on the machine shortly after launch.