Ouya aims to bring free Android games to the TV with $99 console

The Google Nexus Q might be good enough for your garden-variety home media sharing for video, pictures, and music, but gamers will want to keep their eyes on a new Kickstarter project called Ouya. It aims to be an open Android-powered gaming console that retails for $99. One of the main goals is to provide a home platform that's free from the big-money competition and publisher pressures that plagues traditional console gaming and keeps hip indie devs away. Here's a spec rundown on the Ouya.

  • Tegra3 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB of internal flash storage
  • HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • USB 2.0 (one)
  • Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
  • Android 4.0

There's already a bunch of developer interest, including the guy behind Canabalt, the folks at Owlchemy Labs (Snuggle Truck and the upcoming Jack Lumber), Madfinger Games (Dead Trigger, Shadowgun, Samurai II), the devs behind Triple Town, and even Madden NFL 12 showed up on one screen, indicating EA is getting involved.

The one catch? All developers submitting their game has to provide at least some gameplay for free. That's awesome for end-users, even if that means that freemium upgrades, in-app purchases, and banner ads are likely to be found everywhere. Twitch.tv is also on board for streaming live sessions of StarCraft and other games, so we may very well see other non-gaming apps get involved.

Ouya's Kickstarter campaign is already well over half of the way to their $950,000 goal after launching just this morning, but there are still plenty of pre-orders available for backers. Ouya is expected to ship in March 2013, and backers will get their mitts on it before it hits stores.

Gamers, are you interested, or do you think there will be something just as cool (if not cooler) out by springtime next year? Will an open Android box be able to realistically compete with Xbox and PlayStation, or has Google TV already shown us just how well Android does on the big screen?

 

Reader comments

Ouya aims to bring free Android games to the TV with $99 console

35 Comments

Yeah. They got it funded in about 8 hours. So by the time it comes to charge everyone, I suspect they will have 2-3 million in backing. All it takes is one good idea with kickstarter!

I'm pretty pumped about this. They are surely going out on a bit of a limb, but the pricing is pretty good if you want to reserve one. With the enthusiastic response the kickstart has seen in half a day, I'm sure the product will come through in some shape or way.

It's too bad the delivery is that far out. I imagine by then even Jelly Bean will be a thing of the past.

I dont think the OS is really a concern, for stock systems at least. From the screenshots shown the thing looks so heavily skinned that it's almost unrecognizable as Android 4.0. The other possibility is that all of their development thus far has been on 4.0 because the 4.1 source wasnt even available until today, so in the next 8 months, they may be updating seeing as the Nexus 7 can run it on essentially the same hardware.

I dont think this will compete well with Xbox or PS3, but if it is successful, it may do well with indie game developers, particularly those who already develop for Linux but don't for Android because of screen real estate and lack of a real physical button input for controls. Even if this thing falls on its face, it still will be useful as a media device, video game system emulator, and a host of other things that the hacking and development community comes up with.

well I would actually consider using this instead of my ps3. The last time i played a game on it the loading took forever and it sounded like a jet engine and since this thing is on android there's already emulators for it.

I think it will do just fine. Xbox & PS3 games are still ~$60/each. Android games are what, $3-5? They need to throw an SD card slot or MicroSD into this thing, and allow for expanded memory.

Exactly. What I meant was that it would exist alongside the 360 and PS3 rather than try to capture their market shares. And I definitely agree about the memory issue. I plan to use mine for media as well as games and 8gb isnt nearly enough. If worst comes to worst I can always get a USB splitter/hub and hook up a flash drive or card reader to it.

This is GENIUS!!! Dev's will hack it and you will be able to use Phones and Tablets with it [Wii U can go to hell ;d ]. And games for few $...This is a WIN for gamers!

Definitely looking forward to seeing how this thing turns out. Might actually get it if the support is there. BUT! 8 gigs?! Really?! It's a game console! You'll probably get around 6 to start, and then with games like Max Payne, Nova 2 & 3, Dead Space, and other large games, you'll run out of space pretty damn fast!

If you watched the video you know it's hackable from day 1. It has USB so I don't see a problem with expanding the memory through pendrive :) The more people buy it. The bigger the support will be :)

I said this before in the forums but I think that they should team up with Vizio for the hardware and throw in a CoStar in the box. It would Sell insanely fast.

SOUNDS LIKE A WINNER. I SEE IT MAKING A PROFIT BECAUSE IT IS MORE AFFORDABLE. WE ALL KNOW XBOX AND PLAYSTATION AND NINTENDO WILL BE GREAT AND ALL BUT WILL COST MORE MONEY. IT WILL APPEAL TO CONSUMERS WHO SO NOT WISH TO SPEND MORE BUT WANT A GREAT GAMING EXPERIENCE. IM EXCITED EVEN THOUGH I WILL HAVE ALL CONSOLES BECAUSE IM A HUGE GAMER.

This sounds like a *REALLY* interesting idea. Especially at that price point. But I think it needs to either have more on-board storage or an SD card slot. 8GB is not enough.

I would also be concerned if it had access to the "real" market (Play) or if this is another attempt at a third-party, proprietary-locked marketplace with higher prices and restricted apps availability.

Also- should have an optional audio out not tied to the HDMI. LOTS of people use separate audio amps.

To be perfectly honest, the controller alone is almost worth the price of admission. Most decent bluetooth controllers are going to run you about half (or more) of the cost of this console.
And if my next phone and/or tablet is also running Tegra3, it would be fantastic to take my games with me, just connect the controller to my phone and I have my games. I wonder if there will be a game save sync for mobile devices. Though, I have to wonder if they are going to do anything to prevent you from just getting their games and plugging your Tegra3 phone/tablet into your tv and using another controller....basically, I guess I'm curious about the Market system for this console vs phones/tablets.

Spelling issue aside time for a history lesson. The common Elizabethan word thou would not be pronounced with a th sound as in the. Instead the th is derrived from a now defunct letter called the thorn. The thorn was pronounced like a y so thou would actually be pronounced very similar to you with only the vowel shift that occurred after the American revolution changing it from yeww sound to y-OW.

So to read the last sentence correctly it would read "Not fond of nvidia processors y-OW."

II have a problem with this if it won't let me connect my Play account. If all of my content from Google play is available then I will buy this in a second. If I can't play my games on that I currently have on my account then what's the point, I could just connect my transformer prime to my television and have my Xbox wireless controller to play. I was going to contribute $99 but then I didn't see any mention of being connected to the play store so I decided not to take the jump.

Even if it isn't connected to the Play store out of the box it would very quickly be hacked onto it (heck if there is an ICS rom for the Pandigital novel this can be updated easily). The source code will be released and likely the bootloader unlocked, it has a USB connection for debugging and every unit will come with an SDK with early devices going to developers who will surely play around with hacking in addition to creating 1st party games.

Hopefully someone will also launch a media portal with Play store/Amazon/Netflix/HBO-Go/Hulu/Hulu+/Crackle & hopefully more content as well.

This sounds like the perfect marketing tool for NVIDIA. An Android / Tegra based console would be the perfect device for NVIDIA to show mobile game developers. Nvidia has been saying their Tegra CPU/GPUs can produce console like graphics, what better way to prove it than with a console! I love the price of this too. And that controller is super sexy!

I know this isn't supposed to compete directly with the major consoles, PS3/X360, but I would prefer this do more than just play games. I use my PS3 more for music and netflix than games; if this console could do that, it would be the most used device in my house and I may even buy more than one.

For me to consider investing/buying this, I need the following:
Expandable Memory like an SDXC slot and/or support for USB Hard Drives (the Tegra games take up oodles of MBs and 8 GB isn't enough)
Access to Google Play apps (Music, Videos, and Store especially)

The following would be awesome additions to it but not necessary for me to purchase:
NFC chip on the controller and/or the console (adding tap to share functionality)
UPnP / DLNA Client (be able to send media from my phone to it without needing NFC)
Netflix and/or Hulu Plus support
Browsing the Web (even if I need a bluetooth keyboard for text entry)

Pie in the Sky wishes:
Voice activated controls ("wake up, ouya" and "next track")
Voice responses to commands ("good morning, ______.")
Ability to make me a breakfast burrito... hey, a man can dream can't he :)

Funded !!
over 2.5M in about two days !!!
28 days to go and there's plenty of hackables in there :)
Don't miss your chance to grab one.

I already have a phone & tablet to play android games. The only reason I have a console is to play the big, block buster, non indie titles. If this console can match the performance of an XBOX or PS3 and play the big titles just as well, then I'm really interested, otherwise no.

I like the idea, but what for?

I can just connect my tablet to the TV and play games from Android that way.

Not to mention I can plug in a Playstation controller to my tablet and control the game that way.

Only edge I can see as of right now is that OUYA will allow more than one player to play at a time. Unless of course new gaming controllers from PS and XBOX support bluetooth and they can connect to tablet via bluetooth and allow 2-4 players or something like that.