Ouya gaming system looks to overtake the industry

By David Stenger

A fourth console will be available for TV gameplay this June.

The Ouya is an independent game console created by video game industry veteran Julie Uhrman. It has become the project with the second most funds raised on Kickstarter reaching a little more than an astonishing $8.5 million. It was created by a small team of developers including designer Yves Béhar and product manager Muffi Ghadiali.

The game console is a small device with wireless, an Ethernet port, mini-USB and HDMI connection ports. It comes with a wireless controller that seems to be a cross between the Xbox and PlayStation controllers. It’s the first console to be a completely digital console for the TV. Rather than using a cartridge or disc, all games for the console are downloaded digitally to the device. Therefore, all purchases will have to be made with a credit card. It runs on an Android operating system and begins with 8 GB of internal flash storage. The system will begin at $99.99, with additional controllers starting at $49.99.

Already, more than 480 games and applications have been confirmed to be playable on the system. The console was created to bring gaming back to the television as many independent developers can’t easily get their games onto consoles. Therefore, the independent developers have been moving to mobile devices and PC games. A large number of existing games will be downloadable to the system, as well as some brand new games like “The Ball” by Tripwire Active and a game that doesn’t have a title yet, but is being developed by Kim Swift, the game designer behind “Portal” will also be available on the Ouya console. . Large companies like Namco Bandai have said they are discussing making some of their games available for the system. Square Enix has even confirmed putting “Final Fantasy III” on the system. Mojang’s Minecraft could also be available for the system, although this has not been confirmed.

What Ouya brings that makes it different from others are two words: free and custom. All games on the Ouya in one manner or another will be free. Either the game itself will be free, a free demo of the game will be available, a free game will be available but one must buy downloadable digital content, or in-game purchases will be available. This lets any gamer play a game no matter which one it is.

Additionally, apps like Twitch.tv or XBMC will run similar to how they run on Android devices now. Two emulators, Mupen64plus and SuperGNES, are confirmed to run on the system. Also, anyone can “hack” the system and make any adjustments they want. The software to make games for the Ouya is also available for free download off its website, Ouya.TV, so anyone is able to create games for the system.

The Ouya will be available at places like Best Buy and Amazon.com in June.