Ouya is arguably one of the most successful Kickstarter projects to date. When first announced, there was some skepticism that new player in the console race was going to get off the ground through a website where projects are dependent on user donations. But sure enough, it found backing within the gaming community, from players to developers. Now, Ouya is due to be released this June for only $99 and has a chance to kick the butts of Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, if launched properly.
The appeal of Ouya is that it is run on the Android Jellybean OS, something that many developers are familiar with. It allows even the smallest of companies (or maybe even single game designers, dreaming of making it big) to use the system as a development kit. Anyone can, from the 12 year old kid down the street to Bioware. This opens the console to a plethora of potential new games and exposing smaller companies to a larger audience at a fraction of the price it takes to develop for the PS3 or Xbox 360.
Who are the big guns on board? Square Enix has announced Final Fantasy III will be a launch game for the console. The former Creative Strategist at Infinity Ward, Rober Bowling, announced that his new studio Robotoki would be the first developer to commit to creating a game exclusively for the Ouya. If the Ouya can carry some appealing exclusives, it could give people a reason to buy one.
Will the Ouya replace other consoles? Maybe not. For the small price, it might be a good addition to a household but may not end up the primary console of choice. Still, their sales could be potentially huge, so we’ll have to wait and see how much of a dent they can make in the market. But it might be the step forward that other console companies will have to follow if they want to stay relevant.