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Is the Ouya revolutionary? A detailed look at the latest console

by Trabman Featured 25 Comments 34 Votes 16165 Views 20/07/2012 Back to Articles
You may well have heard about the newest console 'Ouya' this past month, notibly because it's been getting an incredible amount of attention all across the net. Now that Kickstarter is well over the 5 million dollars drop, it's about time we take a deeper look at the new android-based console and see what features it offers for gamers.

Although I'm talking of a new console, the 'Ouya' is not meant to go competing directly with the other console giants. Boxer8, the team behind Ouya, is moreover looking to play their own game in the industry, focusing on downloadable, free-to-play video games that can be experienced on a low-cost, high power device.



THE CONCEPT:

"The Revolution will be televised!" Ouya shouts confidently.

The new console 'Ouya' (or Ou-jah) was developed for the sole purpose of bringing internet and telephone based platforms to the consoles, under which of course configure the indie games. The team says they had observed a 'brain-drain', the console market has pushed developers away to mobile platforms:

"Some of the best, most creative gamemakers are focused on mobile and social games because those platforms are more developer-friendly. And the ones who remain focused on console games can’t be as creative as they’d like."


The solution they found to this was : The Ouya. It's an entire new approach to the industry, its initiative is to offer indie game developers a better chance of bringing their games to the console. Their philosophy goes to say that "real games" deserve to be played on the television too. Their mission? Bring back the innovation, and make fun gaming even more fun and accessible for everyone:

"Let’s open this sucker up! It's time we brought back innovation, experimentation, and creativity to the big screen. Let’s make the games less expensive to make, and less expensive to buy. With all our technological advancements, shouldn't costs be going down? Gaming could be cheaper!"


The team hopes this way they will open the market up a little bit. What's great is that any developer with an Ouya and the system's SDK is allowed to create games for the console, set their own price, and sell them via the system's marketplace.

Hackers are welcome! It might sound crazy, but Boxer8 is inviting all hackers to hack and tweek on the box all they like. (Finally the: 'when the system is sold, it's all yours' phrase can be used here.) Hackers are allowed to create their own peripherals, and connect via USB or Bluetooth. This will equally allow for new opportunities, mods and creativity.


THE CONSOLE:



The Ouya is delivered to your living room via a small set-top square box which will be at the price of 99$. Although the team is committed to keeping the manufacture price low per unit, it is absolutely not cutting on the design and specs.

Although a great idea, it must match a specificity in hardware, will the console work correctly. Ouya runs on Android 4.0, known as the OS for telephones. Here are the system's specifications.

Specifications:

- 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

To be concrete, the system is powerful enough to run any indie game, and sometimes bigger titles but won't be able to support graphic monsters like Crysis 2 or Battlefield 3. To give you an idea, here's a demonstration of the graphics card:

Get the Adobe Flash Player to see this video.

While Boxer8 insists that the Ouya is capable of delivering "real power" by default, developers and other will have the freedom to take the console apart and augment the software and hardware if they want. Company executives state that "it was built to hack".

THE CONTROLLER:



The system is controlled by a wireless controller, which has been eagerly designed by the company's engineers (watch the below video). Like the controllers we're familiar with, it will have the standard two analog sticks, directional pad, eight action buttons (front and top) anda home button on the front.

It will equally be equipped with a tactile surface "for those games that will do the journey from mobile or tablet to the television".

The controller however won't have a rumble feature. "We've stripped out the frills," Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman says, explaining that Ouya's controller is focused on "responsiveness and precision."

Like the console itself, the controller can be entirely taken apart and toyed with. "We'll publish the hardware designs, if enough people are curious about it," Uhrman said.

THE GAMES:

For the moment the team has not yet announced which titles will be coming to the Ouya but the creators claim they already have full support from Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner and other big names. Even Mojang, creators of the immensily successful Minecraft IP said they would bring their bestseller to the Ouya. Canabalt developer Adam Saltsman, and Brian Fargo, who is currently working on the Kickstarter-funded Wasteland 2 have also offered their support.

WILL IT WORK?

Judging on Ouya's success up till now, there's no doubt there's a big group of gamers which are willingly supporting the new console by throwing in their money. There is definitely still life in the indie game industry, and Ouya is ready to promote hard work and innovative gaming. Most importantly, they have the possibility of bringing developers back to the television.

It's interesting to see that there are other ways we can play our games on the television. A console running on android which permits hacking will result in a lot of possibilities, and due to the low cost philosophy, the console will probably appeal to a lot of people.

The Ouya will not knock Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony out of the competition, that's pretty certain right now. However it will offer a new, fresh and innovative medium for gaming.

Get the Adobe Flash Player to see this video.
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Is the Ouya revolutionary? A detailed look at the latest console Comments

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My only point of concern being, and i forgot to mention this, is that since the console can be hacked, people will inevitably download and pirate games, load them onto their USB key, and play any game on the Ouya for free.
Look at what those cartridges did for the nintendo DS, they. threatened to stop a lot of sales for the DS until Nintendo finally stepped up and decided to confront these problems.
I dont know enough about hacking to say this is true, but theres always a downside to hacking...
Great read @Trabman and I agree with your points. The idea of the Ouya definitely excites me, but I don't think it excites me enough to throw them $90 to get my hands on it.

If developers really pull together and start releasing some great titles for it, then I would definitely consider it. I guess we just have to wait and see how it goes.

On a side note - Level 11 already? You're smashing MMGN :P
if they stick to the same price as mobile games, it will work and might take over as the no1 home console
99c for a good game, who would bother hacking?
even top games at $7.49 go on sale for 99c, it will work on a epic scale
really interested in this haah
Not interested in the slightest.

So basically it is a crapy computer that doesn't do anything else but play low spec games on your TV?
LMA0
+
Looks ghey because I said so
Actually, the more I look into this, the more excited I become. i've been thinking about making a game for a while, and the ability to release a console game WITHOUT the hefty fees to potentially millions of consumers is really, REALLY appealing to me.

If only I had $99 to get one.

barters81 said: Not interested in the slightest.
So basically it is a crapy computer that doesn't do anything else but play low spec games on your TV?


That's the way I'm seeing it as....
I'm actually interested in this.
I think it's a good way for someone wanting to get involved in the console game market.
Plus the ability to open it up and play around with it, appeals to me.
I'm seriously thinking about getting one

renagadez said:


barters81 said: Not interested in the slightest.
So basically it is a crapy computer that doesn't do anything else but play low spec games on your TV?


That's the way I'm seeing it as....


I think you two need to be more open minded. The system is OPEN. Small development teams can put whatever they like on there. They won't be pressured by big publishers to make there games more "mainstream". There is aready a market like this out there, handeld systems like Open Pandora, Caanoo, Dingoo and Android gaming systems. This just offers the same in a simple home console form. There are heaps of talented amatuer and Indie programmers out there producing top quality small scale games. Not all games need to be 50 million dollar blockbusters to be good. There is plenty of room for both.
Where/when can one be purchased?

I'm very interested in one of these and if it can provide a similar store to the app store and we see thousands of games added by indie gamers and the likes this could take off big time.

$99 isn't much money if it can provide that.
it looks like it won't be out till around Mar 2013.
Check the kickstarter website.
You can pay $99 +postage to secure one and help funding the project.
We've pre ordered :)
There's bound to be media centre apps or connectivity with it too. You know what would be cool? If something like Fraps was available for it.

1wiierdguy said:

renagadez said:


barters81 said: Not interested in the slightest.
So basically it is a crapy computer that doesn't do anything else but play low spec games on your TV?


That's the way I'm seeing it as....


I think you two need to be more open minded. The system is OPEN. Small development teams can put whatever they like on there. They won't be pressured by big publishers to make there games more "mainstream". There is aready a market like this out there, handeld systems like Open Pandora, Caanoo, Dingoo and Android gaming systems. This just offers the same in a simple home console form. There are heaps of talented amatuer and Indie programmers out there producing top quality small scale games. Not all games need to be 50 million dollar blockbusters to be good. There is plenty of room for both.


lol Yeah well I don't want to play those games. [MOG]
about as revolutionary a box of hair

and promoting it has hackable isnt a very smart idea, i hope they have good lawyers

Homedad said: if they stick to the same price as mobile games, it will work and might take over as the no1 home console
99c for a good game, who would bother hacking?
even top games at $7.49 go on sale for 99c, it will work on a epic scale



I reckon that's probably a better idea. If ALL the games are free, does that mean they will be spammed with ads?
Paid games for mobile devices dont have ads.

I guess it's best to actually see it in action to judge properly, right now it's all a bit strange for me.
@Dino

Well thats the thing, the games are free to play up till a certain point. I think they mean like demos, and if you wanna play more you'll need to pay.
Dont think they'll put adds in the games, that goes a little far.

Trabman said: @Dino
Well thats the thing, the games are free to play up till a certain point. I think they mean like demos, and if you wanna play more you'll need to pay.
Dont think they'll put adds in the games, that goes a little far.


Oh okay, well I guess no one really knows anything until they explain how it will work.

Trabman said: My only point of concern being, and i forgot to mention this, is that since the console can be hacked, people will inevitably download and pirate games, load them onto their USB key, and play any game on the Ouya for free.
Look at what those cartridges did for the nintendo DS, they. threatened to stop a lot of sales for the DS until Nintendo finally stepped up and decided to confront these problems.
I dont know enough about hacking to say this is true, but theres always a downside to hacking...



I honestly don't think this will be a major problem, you can do exactly what your saying on any android phone, yes some people still do, but I know most people are willing to fork out the $0.99-9.99 to support the devs. It defiantly hasn't overly effected the android market.
I'm sorry, but I just don't see the point of an entirely new console. Why not a toolkit that allows for streaming from the millions of Android devices out there, with a mere controller being the basis. As it stands, they're aiming for a completely new App Store that is essentially a new platform, seeing how none of the games already released on Android are supported.

I'm thinking it'll fail.The audience they're targeting is already covered by a wide variety of devices; PC's, smartphones (Which can already connect to a TV in 1080p and have dedicated controls like the Nyko Playpad), current gen consoles (Over 200 million of those out there), etc.; why on Earth should a developer settle for F2P when you have all those options that are already proven to actually net you some cash? [WTF]

I don't want it to fall, but I just can't see how it'll sustain itself in the long run. I can't imagine myself playing on this thing 6 months from launch, let alone after 2 years.
When people get home from work, tired but hoping for some light entertainment, they're not going to get into an intense Halo session or play a big, stressful Metal Gear campaign.

That's why this can be successful. Great games that you don't have to think about too much when playing. That's what people want.
" a big group of gamers "

40k isnt a big group of gamers

its a nonstarting waste of a story until wii u drops
Im gonna get one :)
punk
+
the way the buttons are positioned on that controller look like a huge fail to me.

Not a big fan of this console even though its created a lot of hype.
But that's because I don't really care for tablet/smartphone gaming and the games that are currently found on it.

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