10
Jul
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We've seen some pretty cool projects show up on Kickstarter: Capta, Pebble, Chameleon, Vavo... and plenty more. Last night, though, one of the coolest projects I've ever seen made its way to the crowd-funded site: OUYA. You may or may not already be familiar with that name, so a little explanation may be in order.

Update: OUYA broke through the $1m barrier in less than 24 hours. I see big things for the future of this startup - keep the donations coming!

First off, OUYA is an open source, Android-powered video game console. That in itself got my attention, but if you really want to see how awesome OUYA is, watch this:

Proposed Specs:

  • Tegra 3 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB Storage
  • HDMI out with 1080p support
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • One USB 2.0 port
  • Wireless Controller
  • Android 4.0.x

This project makes perfect sense to me; with the increase in quality games (and more specifically, games designed for the Tegra 3 chipset), something like this is absolutely brilliant. I find myself hooking my tablet up to my TV and playing games like Dead Trigger and Shadowgun a lot, so having a dedicated console to do just that seems like a no-brainer to me.

OUYA is aiming for a "free to play" model; in fact, the only condition that the OUYA team has for developers is "at least some gameplay has to be free." Also, the console will be left unlocked, making it ready-to-root right out of the box (and it won't void the warranty!). Ergo, hackers and modders can go to work on this little box almost immediately. Sounds like the OUYA Team really looked at what hardcore Android enthusiasts want when they sat down to design this console.

All this sounds good, but how much will the console cost, you ask? How does $99 sound? And you can essentially pre-order the device for that price right now by helping fund their 950k goal on Kickstarter. $99 will guarantee you a console as soon as it's released, but if you want to donate more, they have pledges all the way up to 10k. So hit the source link below and let's help make this console a reality.

[Kickstarter]

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • marcusmaximus04

    "OUYA is aiming for a "free to play" model; in fact, the only condition that the OUYA team has for developers is 'at least some gameplay has to be free.'"

    The only redeeming part of this is the fact that a demo is an acceptable free portion of gameplay.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm aware how nice free games sounds to consumers, but development studios need to make money somehow, so if it wasn't for that loophole(well, not really, it's one of their examples), you'd just get every single game subsisting off micro-transactions and DLC.

    • Greg Neher

      A lot of android games are free with ad support. They may be trying to bring this model to their console?

      • marcusmaximus04

        I *could* see that except the only games that are really successful with it are ones like Angry Birds: small, simple games that have minimal development costs and incredibly large user bases.

        Those work great for smartphones, I'm less than convinced people want to play them on their HDTV's.

  • gdi2290

    lol they need JellyBean

    • marcusmaximus04

      I'm not sure what parts of jellybean would really help. The new notifications? Google Now? Even project butter only applied to the android touchscreen interface.

      There's no real applicable improvements in Jellybean that would make it required for this kind of device.

      • Greyhame

        I know that certain games indeed ran more smoothly for me on JB than on ICS (Project 83118 for example). Just sayin'.

        • marcusmaximus04

          I can't speak for other games, but from my own experience, as an Android game developer, I've not seen any difference in framerates or anything else moving from ICS to JB.

          Given that that follows from their stated improvements(better response times to touch events and more consistent framerates for Android OS framework UI elements like scrolling and animations), I'm inclined to believe that perceived improvements in framerates of games are likely a result of the placebo effect, rather than any real improvement. It certainly doesn't appear to improve OpenGL performance on my end.

          • Greyhame

            While I certainly understand and appreciate your statements and opinion, it is definitely not placebo effect. I've seen this game run much more smoothly. It could definitely have something to do with more consistent framerates implemented by syncing touch sensitivity to screen refresh rate, but there was a noticeable difference from stock 4.0.4 to the hacked version of 4.1.

            It may be one of those things that doesn't show up on benchmarks (which is why I put little stock in them), but more in overall user experience.

          • marcusmaximus04

            Of course, if it has to do with the touch screen in any capacity, it won't have any effect on this game console, since it doesn't use one.

          • Greyhame

            Hah, touche and way to stay on point! Looking forward to getting the "real JB" and then we'll perhaps know if there's a difference. I heard there are more flags used in JB than ICS, so that may help with graphics.. just look at what the Linaro group did! And I heard their code was submitted to the AOSP.

      • Martin

        The input lag improvements from triple buffering and smarter v-sync in Project Butter are basically essential for any kind of game that requires reactions - first person shooters, racing games, platformers, the list goes on. Right now in any previous versions of Android, the lag is in the 100s of milliseconds range. That's absolutely unacceptable for any console.

        See here for a quick 30 second video demonstration of what I'm talking about and why it's important: http://youtu.be/1WQcl4RDl5I

        For these reasons I'm assuming they've either got their own homebrew fixes for the above problems or will move to 4.1 before releasing.

        • marcusmaximus04

          Note that for vsync timing, their improvements were that they extended it "across all drawing and animation done by the Android framework". It's the same for triple buffering, they just extended it to their UI framework.

          Basically, these things were already there. Google just extended them out to the Android UI. Any game that was using OpenGL could already enable triple buffering and vsync.

  • http://twitter.com/deinoerd Deino

    Isn't 950k a bit too much? That is a crapload of money, what exactly do they need this kind of extra cash? They video said they already raised some money from friends&family, and they need an extra million bucks for what specifically? (I know, I'm paranoid.)

    • marcusmaximus04

      I'd imagine for manufacturing costs of mass production.

  • Mastermind26

    So if I pledge and they don't meet their mark, what happens exactly?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      You're not actually charged until the goal is met.

      • Mastermind26

        Even if it's past the deadline/goal?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

          I'm not entirely sure what you're asking. If you pledge after the goal has been met, you'll be charged immediately (as far as I know, anyway). If you pledge before the goal has been met, you won't be charged until that happens. If the goal isn't met, you won't be charged at all.

          • Mastermind26

            Ah. Ok. Yeah. My question was basically if I pledged now and the goal wasn't met, would I have been charged.

            Thanks for clearing that up.

  • watson387

    Jumped on and backed this one. This is going to turn out to be huge.

  • Cam

    Specs sound suspiciously like the Nexus Q. Why not a kickstarter to turn that thing into a gaming platform.

    • marcusmaximus04

      Notably, the nexus Q is running on an OMAP4460(1.3GHz dual core Cortex A9 w/ PowerVR SGX540 running at 384MHz).

      This is running a Tegra 3(1.3-1.7GHz quad core Cortex A9 w/ 12 core GeForce GPU). So the CPU is going to be ~2-3x as fast and the GPU is going to be somewhere around 2.5-3x as fast(depending, of course, on the application. All "speed" numbers are going to be relative to what the processor is doing)

  • BroodjeBami

    Sounds awesome and all but I have my doubts which make me think it isn't going to work out:

    1. Developer support. A start up company just doesn't have the contacts and support to build a big enough ecosystem for a game console. They showed some games, but I think the chance is really big that the game content isn't going to be much larger than what they showed you.
    2. Google tv. In the future, Google tv will be a direct competitor to this game console only with more money (google), support and choice (different manufacturers). There's just no way they are going to be able to compete with them. Even though Google doesn't see this future in Google tv now, they will when this project takes off.

    • Alex Murphy

      Have you actually read who is involved in the creation of this device? It's only a "startup" because its new.

  • James Jun

    This is what the Nexus Q should have been I believe, except packing more functionality.

    • gladgura

      or could be... can we really say that the Nexus Q can't evolve into something phenomenal. In the Google I/O... "it's also hackable"

      • James Jun

        I wonder though, is OUYA packing some extra development SDK that aids in making the game such as textures or modeling, or is it's SDK just for connecting games to OUYA's online service? They said games like Starcraft and such are being played on the OUYA, is that actually processed real time on the device or through the cloud?

        • gladgura

          I would suggest both.

          • sansenoy

            Google has no interest in hardware-based solutions, they're quite comfortable in their little cloud castle, all they need for "the full evolution" is better global connectivity, nothing else...

          • sansenoy

            also, this device is a joke: WiFi direct, NFC, bluetooth 4, what more do you need to turn any phone into a proper PC, let alone some stupid console???

          • John O’Connor

            another few gigs of dedicated video ram?

        • Magnus Dahl Hegge

          She said that you had Twitch TV (a streaming app where you can stream Starcraft 3 and League of Legend tournaments), and said nothing about actually playing starcraft 3. Minecraft is allready in Play Store (in a limited, android edition) and the other games i could see are allready available in Play.
          Still, this, meets Google TV is going to be awesome (i say going, as since this will be open, someone will probably throw a google tv rom on there)

  • http://www.facebook.com/RobJohnson90 Rob Johnson

    Why would someone want to play the games they already have on their phone on a tv? =/

    • Nick LaVeaux

      You kinda answered your own question. Because it is on their tv. I don't want to be in my living room playing a game on my phone when I have a perfectly good tv right in front of me with a much larger screen and surround sound. Not only that, but let's face it - the controls on a touch screen device still kinda suck. They're pushing out some great games for iOS and Android. (Yes, it's hard to not mention iOS) But, the ability to play games on a more immersive level, or play multiplayer with decent controls sounds great.

      • http://www.facebook.com/RobJohnson90 Rob Johnson

        But lets compare, you can sit infront of a tv and play your game, or you can sit anyway you want(even lay in bed) and play on your phone while having the tv on in the background. I know which one I prefer! I'll give you the touchscreen control thing but I find handheld games much more immersive than console games.

  • Himmat Singh

    Promising indeed. But really, for a console, it should have multiplayer locally with two controllers. How many (if any) Android games have this feature? Also, by next March an A9 Tegra 3 will look old. For a gaming console, how long will it last? Tegra 2 lasted 9 months before being sent to the backburner. People will want the console to last a good 5 years, like their PSs and Xboxs.

    • marcusmaximus04

      "And come on, F2P? Whoever in their right minds thought of that!"

      I *almost* agree with you, except that they included a demo as an acceptable free segment. Basically, they just require that any user be able to get a taste, a demo, less good items, something, before paying. So it's not quite so cut and dry as all games have to be free or run on micro-transactions.

  • nsnsmj

    This is definitely not the gaming console of the future. All you need is an Android device, a controller and an HMDI cable, and you can do exactly what this crap does.

    • Himmat Singh

      Indeed. Considering all their games are gonna be APKs, even if they make games specifically for their console those can be made to play on any phone or tablet. The best thing from this though is a large selection of games will start getting native gamepad support. Buy their controller and you'd be good to go!

      I say after all this rosy initial reaction wears off reality will start to settle in.

    • Pedro Jimenez

      Most Android devices don't game at 1080p.
      Most people like their phone in their pocket rather than juryrig a gaming console with it plugging all sorts of cables into it.
      Most people hate having their TV game interrupted by a phone call or text message.
      Android devices with similar specs cost way more than $99 brand new.
      All other gaming consoles make it hard for indie studios to publish.

  • I disagree

    this is very much going against the future.
    1- it's a gaming console - those already have their days numbered.

    2- it's WAY behind other gaming consoles in every aspect, from processing power to developer support.

    3- it's completely redundant with your tablet (heck, even with a phone). makes no sense to keep both and guess which one is more useful?

    the not-so-near future of gaming to me will be phones and tablets wirelessly outputing to a tv, with wireless controlers and all. you just turn on your "console app" and magically everything connects and you can start playing just like that, with the console on your pocket.

    • http://twitter.com/zachvossdesign zach voss

      You can log into it and download all your tablet games and with Google Game center they will sync between all devices. Done playing on your TV? leave the house and pick up where you left off on your tablet or phone.

    • Alex Murphy

      No the future is the cloud, and all your devices are just projections of that cloud OS. It's not about "outputting" from a phone to TV, it's about all the hardware drawing from a single web-based source.

      • http://trevorsullivan.net/ Trevor Sullivan

        What future are you living in? The next 200 years, or the next 20? The state of networking across the world cannot even remotely sustain such an architecture, and it won't be for another 30-50 years.

  • http://twitter.com/rdlf2048 Rodolfo Ferreira

    Cameron, you said "This project makes perfect sense to me". How so, man? I mean, since the specs of this 'Android video-game' is exactly the same as a Tegra 3 ASUS-based tablet, why would I bother buying it? Like you said, I also find myself hooking my tablet up to my TV and playing games, specially the non-Tegra ones. Don't get me wrong, but the way I see it, there is *nothing* new on this project that hasn't being released earlier. No news here.

    Now, if they could offer something more interesting like an already-overclocked processor (since the console comes unlocked anyway, they can make the dirty work for us, why not?), also feature 2GB of DDR3 RAM and Bluetooth 3.0, THAT would sound an improvement over today's current tablet specsheet and could make me wonder whether I would buy it or not.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Personally, I just love the idea of having an Android gaming box that's always connected to my TV. This saves me the trouble of hooking my tablet up just to play a game, and it also keeps it free so I can use it for other things.

      Also, I don't like touch controls (I always use a controller), so I'm hoping that a console like this will push devs to incorporate controller support more often.

      • Magnus Dahl Hegge

        I agree. I like to have my tablet with me, and with this device, other family members can enjoy gaming on the TV (and maybe hulu, netflix and so on) while I use my tablet.

    • http://www.facebook.com/StevenCaravella Steven Caravella

      I agree, I have an ASUS TF300 Tablet that has the same specs. I can hook that up to my TV right now and just get a bluetooth controller and im set. Except I can take my tablet with me to places like the beach and not make it a console that has no other purpose.

    • Alex Murphy

      It's fully hackable, that's the beauty. Who knows what crazy shit people will come up with?

    • marcusmaximus04

      Well, for starters it costs half as much as the lowest priced Android tablet with these specs(Nexus 7, of course). That goes to ~1/4 if you go to the lowest priced one that has HDMI output.

      Also, as a note, this has Bluetooth 4.0, so 3.0 would be somewhat of a step down.

  • Tyler Chappell

    This is certainly a very cool idea and I hope they become successful with it, meanwhile, I will be using my 16GB Nexus 7 for all these games.

  • Matt

    Google's next Acquisition

    Like many have said this is what the Q should have been.

    But hack it put the market on it put on some google music etc and you have yourself a way better nexus Q

  • Ken

    WOAH. I'd like to see the ability to have Netflix/Hulu on here, and I'll pay any amount of money for it...This is what the Nexus Q/GoogleTV in general should have been like.

  • Jimmy Li

    Woot! And pledged with another controller (for the wife)! Well worth the price IMO. I was intending to buy the PSVita for my birthday but this wins because the concept is awesome!

    @AP thanks for posting this awesome kickstarter project! I currently back, including this one, 5 projects. Including the pebble and chameleon projects. Damn I am spending too much money lol....

  • ElfirBFG

    Is there a way that a phone/tablet could be tethered to the device and the phone/tablet's cpu/gpu/ram be utilised in conjunction with the built in tech?

    • ElfirBFG

      (Not out of the box, but if XDA community had a hand at it.)

  • http://twitter.com/PCSievers P.C. Sievers

    I am curious to see where it finishes, it could easily be the biggest kickstarter yet. It is already in the exclusive million dollar club with six other projects.

  • 27yearold

    so they want to make what PC's already have... console gamers are a primitive race

    • Pedro Jimenez

      Hmmm...$99 game console vs. $2000 gaming rig. What's wrong with those console gamers?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.gjodvad Mark Arpon Gjødvad

    Console hacking has always (at least from my experience) meant pirated games. Since the Ouya is hacker-friendly wouldn't that mean the developers lose lots of potential earnings? :(

    • http://twitter.com/SoWhy SoWhy

      Since the console is based on Android, it's imho not correct to use the same POV as with regular consoles: Most Android games are either free or quite cheap, so piracy is not really required. Someone who might pirate a game that costs $60 will probably not do so for a game that costs $3.99. Also, if the console works like a normal Android device, i.e. that you can sideload APKs, then there is in most cases no hacking required to use paid apps for free anyway, so being hacker-friendly doesn't change anything.

  • http://twitter.com/SoWhy SoWhy

    The idea is sound but 8GB Storage? In times when many Android games require additional files that are 500+ MB in size, 8 GB will surely be not enough. They'd do well to use that extra KS-money to replace that with a larger Storage option.

    • http://www.swehes.com/ Hans-Erik

      Connect an external 500GB harddrive and you will probably do fine. :)

  • GazaIan

    I was all for this being a PS3 and Xbox Competitor, but I noticed its pretty much just an Android device. I was expecting some next gen specs, more power, a not ARM CPU. Still, the will do go with us Android fans, get good support and I'll buy it.

  • GazaIan

    They're about to hit 3.5 Million. Amazing!

  • PINJ

    The Spec Is Insufficient