Android gaming could be coming to TV screens around the world, as the creators of a $100 developer friendly console that runs on the OS – called Ouya – have headed to Kickstarter to source funds.
The crowdfunding site shows details of the console which looks to take advantage not just of the boom in mobile gaming, but the relatively open nature of developing with Android.
Plenty of developers have been inclined to turn a buck from app stores on mobile devices, often banking on casual gaming but also offering surprisingly rich experiences. But Ouya’s creators believe that gaming is still much more suited to the TV, not to mention the ease of using directional pads buttons on the traditional controller.
They are after $950,000 to finish developing the console.
There will also be wi-fi, Bluetooth, one USB 2.0 port, as well as an HDMI cable to connect to 1080p HD sets.
Gamers are promised access to a bunch of free games, which threatens to put the wind up the manufacturers of the mainstream, expensive consoles.
Fairly high profile titles like Team Fortress 2 and Minecraft will be among those freely available, and the team behind Ouya is hoping for a lot more in future. There is a heavy emphasis on being developer-friendly and the homebrew potential is enormous.
The hardware has been in the making for a while already, but the creators say that they need some financial muscle to make that final push.
“We’ve come a long way already,” the firm’s site says. “The user interface and industrial designs are far along. Our prototype is up and running.”
“What we have left to do is simple, but it’s expensive. (We’re looking at you Mark Cuban! Woz! Help us out.)”
At the moment, Ouya needs money to change its prototype into production ready models. The creators also needs to distribute developer kits for games at launch, though the team promises every model will include an SDK when it is out.
The team wants to use the money to develop some 1st-party games original to Ouya for launch, and, crucially, first production orders need to be placed. Potential financial backers are promised that Ouya will be produced at a manufacturing firm with “lots of game hardware experience”, but the creators need to know how many to make.
The idea of a developer friendly, cheap as chips console running on open source software is certainly appealing. Whether Ouya threatens to make a mockery of the major players remains to be seen, and indeed, that may not be its aim. Bringing a TV-friendly console to a booming Indie games scene could really make a splash.
If all goes to plan, Ouya will be released early 2013, so, fingers crossed, we will soon enough whether Ouya has what it takes to muscle in on a highly competitive market.
Ouya has $252,337 on Kickstarter already – with 29 days to go before the deadline’s up on reaching its $950,000 target.