All games in Android-based system to offer form of free play

Hackable console Ouya begins $1m Kickstarter campaign

Ouya has launched an $950,000 Kickstarter campaign in a bid to urge consumers to back the hackable console.

The $99 android-based system, which plugs into the TV, is being backed by the likes of Xbox co-creator Ed Fries, Jawbone Jambox designer Yves Behar and VP of business development at IGN Julie Uhrman.

Games on the platform will all be required to offer some sort of free play, whether that be in the form of a demo or the free-to-play model.

The console is powered by a Tegra 3 Quad core processor, and features HDMI connection at 1080p HD, 8GB on-board flash and 1GB of RAM.

The controller will feature two analogue sticks, ten buttons and a touch screen, allowing developers to create both gesture controlled and more traditional titles.

“Ouya is a new games console for the TV which we think is really going to upend the console market,” Ouya founder Julie Uhrman told Develop.

“We’re bringing the openness of mobile and internet platforms to console gaming for the first time. For consumers it is inexpensive, in that the console will be less than $100, and all the games will be free to play.

“For developers it will be open. It is based on Android, meaning that any developer that wanted to make for TV can now do so.”

Urhman said that consoles had recently faced a brain drain, with many developers leaving the space to create their own games on mobile, tempted by cheaper development costs and more control of their IP.

“I love playing games on the TV, and I don’t think I’m alone on feeling that the console gaming industry has faced a brain drain in recent years from both gamers and developers,” she said.

“They’re switching focus from TV to mobile platforms. Gamers find hardware and software still to be super expensive and developers feel that it is still complicated and expensive to bring games to the living room.

“A lot more of the creative, exciting and innovative games are coming to the mobile platform and not the TV. We think that’s a shame, there is no better screen for playing games than the television.”

With backers such as Xbox co-creator Ed Fries and Wasteland 2 dev Brian Fargo on board, as well as a previous angel investment round, Uhrman refuted suggestions that the move to the popular crowdfunding site was simply a promotional step.

She claimed that the money gained would take the console out of the prototype stage and ready for the market, whilst also proving there is a customer base.

“We wanted to take it to Kickstarter regardless. Because Kickstarter will give us the support we need from the gamers and developers to get additional content on the devices and bring additional partners to us.,” she said.

“It is unbelievable validation where gamers really demonstrate their enthusiasm with for what we’re doing with dollars, and those numbers demonstrate that there is a market.”

Uhrman added that if Ouya exceeded its funding target, some of the extra funds would go towards other Kickstarter projects, similar to Brian Fargo’s proposed ‘Kick it Forward’ scheme to help other games and hardware get off the ground.

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