When we first heard about Ouya, we were excited. We were also hesitant. While a dedicated console for $99 with its own controller, a Tegra 3 processor, and Android games optimized for the big screen (not to mention free versions or demos of all available games) sounded brilliant, there was the question of longevity. How could this thing continue to hold up once Tegra 3 processors weren't the norm? Well, here's one answer to that question: OnLive support is now going to be built in.
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.
Update: I've refined a few of my points in this article to focus less on the whole "how much it costs to make a video game" angle, because I'm not exactly an expert on project funding. I think the point I'm trying to illustrate about Kickstarter as a whole is now clearer, and articulated in a more generally-applicable manner.
Note: This piece is of tangential relation to Android (and it grew more tangential as I wrote it), but the game in question is a joint Kickstarter venture promising an Android game, M.U.L.E.
In recent months, we've hardly seen a game more hyped than Imangi's Temple Run. Couple that with the inherent excitement any time Pixar decides to release something, and it's hard not to get a little excited. Temple Run: Brave, despite it's entirely unimaginative name, places Princess Meridia as the centerpiece of this running game that seems to involve little-to-no temples.
The game doesn't have any illusions about what it is.
Well, this sure came out of left field. Microsoft has released an official Xbox LIVE app for Android! The app can be used to view and modify your 3D Xbox avatar, track your achievements, connect with Xbox LIVE friends, and even get news and information from the Xbox Spotlight feeds. Color us surprised at how fully featured this app is.
The app has a distinctly Metro UI feel to it, which is unsurprising as Redmond has been keen to slather the vector-based UI on all of its properties these days, but the theme definitely clashes with Android.
Back in February, we heard that HTC might be getting PlayStation Certification on some of its phones. Today at E3, Sony announced that it will be opening up the PlayStation Mobile program, which was previously known as PlayStation Suite, to HTC. This means, among other things, that HTC phones that receive PS Certification will be able to play the host of classic PlayStation games available. Additionally, HTC devices will also have access to the third-party apps and games developed using the SDK.
Nyko, best known for making the slightly less solid and slightly less expensive console controllers you buy to save money, is getting into the Android game. Literally. Working with mobile gaming force of nature, NVIDIA, the peripherals company aims to bring "physical and familiar controls" to tablet games that run on NVIDIA processors, including, but more importantly not limited to, the Tegra 3.
The PlayPad in a variety of colors (left), and the PlayPad Pro (right).
Gaming on Android has come a long way since the early days - we're even starting to see console-quality games show up for certain devices. However, there is one major shortcoming: touch controls, for the most part, are complete crap. They're a little more manageable on a device like a tablet, but they're downright unusable on a smartphone.
The solution? A controller. This is becoming a more and more widely adopted feature, thanks to things like the Zeemote.
The Zeemote is a plucky little device that keeps popping up around these parts. Normally $30, the Bluetooth controller pairs with any Android device to give physical controls to games that would otherwise be touchscreen-only. We gave away a thousand of them, and when I reviewed the little guy, I said it would be great, if it were just a bit cheaper. Well, for this weekend, it is. Use coupon code "JS1MDE12" (no quotes), and the company will knock 50% off the controller, bringing it down to a much more palatable $15.
Well, this might be one of the most (potentially) awesome stories we cover this week. GameFly, the company best known for setting up a Netflix-style gaming rental service, has announced that it plans to open up a third-party gaming store on iOS and Android (think TegraZone, but with less hardware tie-ins). This would, presumably, be in addition to the already-existing GameFly app. Additionally, the company has "set aside a game development fund" that it will use to fund game developers with great ideas, but less cash flow.