OUYA and Kickstarter: Bringing about a gaming revolution
Since the smartphone boom, gaming has sort of shifted towards the mobile market; with anyone being able to call themselves a gamer, as a result. There is a big difference between mobile gaming and console gaming; that feeling of being able to play in front of a TV, controller in hand, opposed to a touchscreen with virtual controls, is non-comparable. OUYA (pronounced Booyah, but without the “B”) is the answer to this; bringing mobile gaming to the TV in the form of a cost effective console. Could this be the answer to the problems with gaming today?
What is OUYA?
OUYA began as a Kickstarter, only stating that they wanted to bring the flexibility of mobile gaming to the TV. OUYA has already raised an impressive $2,535,938 (doubling their starting goal in one day) and still have 28 days remaining! As their Kickstarter project page mentions, console gaming is pushing away aspiring creators due to costs, time and publishing restraints; something that isn’t too prevalent in the smartphone gaming market. Let’s face the truth; the majority of gamers don’t take mobile gaming seriously, despite some excellent titles. Instead, they waggle their thumbs to a Generic FPS like Modern Warfighter 9. This is what OUYA wants to get rid of and instead bring the variation of mobile gaming to consoles, hopefully breaking the gaming monotony we have come to.
On the design front, the console looks pretty sleek in it’s prototype form, with a blocky silver design and a controller that takes inspiration from the best controllers we have had to date. The console is also meant to be hacked; no blocked accounts, banned consoles or red rings, just new ideas and innovations. Along with this: OUYA ships with a dev kit, allowing any budding developers to bring their own games to the console, which is definitely a thing we haven’t seen in gaming since the days of early home PC’s. The console will be running on Android OS, so a lot of developers will already be in the know and could have the potential to bring their ideas to a TV and have a whole new audience to experience their creations. Oh and just to mention…Minecraft has been confirmed for it, the words ‘hell’ and ‘yeah’ come to mind.
Specifications (pulled from their KickStarter page):
- Tegra3 quad-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB of internal flash storage
- HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth LE 4.0
- USB 2.0 (one)
- Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
- Android 4.0
In a world where the ‘Big 3′ can do what they want with their consoles and have the gaming public endure through it; the OUYA is a breath of fresh air and seems like it’s been built from the ground up with the gamer in mind and not just the profits. Dev kits, as mentioned, encourages hacking, and free to play games; these are all things I never expected to ever see in a console. OUYA, in my personal opinion, is really hitting the gaming bullseye. The console has come a long way and is actually quite close to fruition; let’s just hope it has a successful launch.
What does this mean for the industry?
As you can probably guess, games won’t have to be priced at the industry standard of around $60/£40 or the prices XBLA and PSN set. The pricing of OUYA games could even affect the retail value of the Video Games on the shelves of your local gaming establishment. I can only imagine that this will also help in their being more varied games on the market as well.
I think OUYA’s power in the industry will derive from it’s price, which is said to be around $100 (which is less than most smartphones and consoles). I can imagine that a lot of gamers will dish out the money for a console that is so cheap (which is part of the reason the Wii sold so well initially) . With many gamers owning these consoles, the games on the marketplace have the potential to sell like hotcakes if they are decent. Just imagine how Capcom would react if someone was to create a brand new survival horror game, that sells like crazy! Capcom would be pretty edgy to follow that money flow and create a brand new Dino Crisis or some new IP! (One of my dreams!).
The OUYA, in my opinion, is just bursting with potential and personally, I really see this hitting some high notes and selling like crazy. As the guys at OUYA have said:
The revolution will be televised”
Does Kickstarter have a part to play in this revolution?
Kickstarter became quite famous a few months back when popular, but dead, franchises were being brought back to life through crowd funding. Not only that, but also from backing of industry big names. Since then, many past big franchises of the industry have been brought back to the forfront of gaming; with the likes of Carmageddon and Double Fine Adventure, to name a few. But new IP’s have gotten the same treatment with funding. Brand new games like Clang – a deep sword fighting game – have received a plethora of support and an army of backers. Crowd funding like this could have the potential to bring back dead genres or genres that tend not to sell well. Why do I say this? because these developers don’t have to worry about the finicial strain and how they are going to obtain funds.
- Most of these games tend to be aimed at PC, not that I have a problem with this, but it only serves to help PC gaming which is enjoying a bit of a renaissance at the moment. Only a few projects are gearing towards PSN/XBLA, but I can imagine it’s due to costs.
- When one of these projects fails, which will happen down the line, then the backers aren’t promised any refund. When this happens, Kickstarter users may be pretty hesitant to back large amounts.
Apart from that, at least on the gaming end of Kickstarter, projects have had a high success rate so far (unless they are way too outrageous). Crowd funding could bring some brand new ideas from developers who have had the hurdle of publishing and expense in their way all this time. Here is to hoping that this continues to flourish. The potential is there and it has been realised, it just takes the right mind to put it to good use and cause a change.
Revolution will come.
This feature was written by Joe Hetherington. He enjoys gaming and is currently in training to become a Fon Master