OUYA: a hacker-friendly Android console seeking Kickstarter funds

A new Kickstarter project has launched for "OUYA," an Android-based, open-source console.

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Update: The campaign hit its goal at 2 p.m., less than 10 hours after it launched.

A new Kickstarter project is making waves, by proposing an open-source, hacker-friendly platform using Android as its backbone. "OUYA" merges the "satisfying" experience of a console with the developer-friendly nature of the Android marketplace. The project is seeking nearly a million dollars in funds, but it's already managed to reach more than half its lofty goal within just a day.

The project's goal is $950,000, a figure it's likely to hit. It's been less than a day, and it's hit more than $590,000. That's no doubt because the higher dollar amounts, $95 and $99, offer the console itself as a reward. So far, the project hasn't outlined any stretch goals, but they seem likely.

The funding will go towards converting the prototype to production models with approvals from regulatory agencies, development kits, production orders, and possibly some first-party game development. It also claims that games will be required to offer a free element, be it a demo or the full game with microtransactions.

OUYA has already specified its technical specs, including a Tegra3 quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of flash storage, an HDMI connection, and Android 4.0. The controller looks fairly standard for consoles, with eight action buttons, two analog sticks, a D-pad, and the addition of a touch pad.

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  • reply
    July 10, 2012 11:45 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, OUYA: a 'hacker-friendly' Android console seeking Kickstarter funds.

    A new Kickstarter project has launched for "OUYA," an Android-based, open-source console.

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 12:29 PM

      Free to play seems really limiting, but from reading the kickstarter, free to play can also mean a free demo, so I guess it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Still I've yet to see a game on Android or on any mobile OS for that matter that I'd say I'd absolutely need one of these to play it.

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        July 10, 2012 12:39 PM

        Yeah, I think it's dumb for them to say everything is "free to play" when they are including demos in that definition.

        If that's what free to play means, then every singel XBLA game is free to play

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 12:40 PM

      doomed to fail

      • reply
        July 10, 2012 12:55 PM

        They'll hit their 1 million goal though in a day or so. Watch the money pouring in right now, its crazy.

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          July 10, 2012 1:29 PM

          Just in the last hour or so it gained $100k. Nuts.

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          July 10, 2012 1:37 PM

          They are going to meet their $950 target in less than an hour.

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          July 10, 2012 2:21 PM

          I mean the console itself.

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            July 10, 2012 5:04 PM

            how can it fail? at worst it will be able to play current android games.

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              July 11, 2012 12:08 PM

              They're hoping indie devs jump on this like they did iOS and even put their effort here instead of XBLA. To me this could tap the casual market if it's successful, and undercut WiiU like iOS undercut 3DS.

              I can see the appeal, cheap way to get it onto the homes largest screens and easy to port to. But I think it has a tough go ahead of it getting into places like Wal-Mart where most consumers purchase consoles. If it can't get that it will be a niche product for indie enthusiasts.

              It could work, but I feel like Apple will expand their TV project into this space and grab any momentum this generates.

        • reply
          July 10, 2012 3:05 PM

          The thing is, that's almost irrelevant. Obviously the project would be dead from the outset if they didn't get enough money, but getting developers and publishers on board is going to be a much bigger deal.

      • reply
        July 10, 2012 2:11 PM

        7,888
        BACKERS
        $984,008
        PLEDGED OF $950,000 GOAL
        29
        DAYS TO GO

        • reply
          July 10, 2012 2:18 PM

          It will be interesting to see what their stretch goals will be. They have some interesting incentives for developers that make it enticing to back it. How much more can they get in 29 days? They could surpass the Double Fine Adventure of $3.3 million.

          • reply
            July 10, 2012 2:37 PM

            Interested in this as well--can they improve the hardware in any way? It seems like they have a prototype in place, but given enough funding, they may look to make the end product more feature-rich.

        • reply
          July 10, 2012 10:18 PM

          a sucker is born every minute.

      • reply
        July 11, 2012 8:02 PM

        Agreed. At best it will be a niche product that lasts a while.

        • reply
          July 11, 2012 8:03 PM

          And thats not about the kickstarter, which has done awesomely, but the future of the product itself

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 1:28 PM

      I've always wanted to play Canabalt on a 60 inch screen :/

      Me being a jerk aside the only nice thing I have to say is a sincere good luck guys.

      • reply
        July 10, 2012 1:50 PM

        Yeah, feels like at best this momentum could rustle some feathers. But other than that I don't really see the big devs/publishers backing this thing.

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          July 10, 2012 1:53 PM

          They don't have to, that's the beauty of it!

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            July 10, 2012 1:56 PM

            I don't even want them to. I've got plenty of devices to play their games on.

            • reply
              July 10, 2012 2:31 PM

              And none to play indie games on? I understand it's a great environment for that, but I still like my AAA big budget shit too. If I'm going to give it space in my living room, I'd hope for a strong gaming presence across all "classes." The price would suggest that may not be on their mind, though.

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                July 10, 2012 3:42 PM

                Don't take what I'm saying the wrong way; I love all my gaming systems and wouldn't want to be without games from major publishers. However, when I'm sitting at my computer browsing through all my games, Civ V is so much more tempting than Audiosurf. Having a dedicated box in my living room for indie games, I would plop down on my couch and play that stuff for hours on end.

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                July 10, 2012 3:48 PM

                Well, I'd prefer to play them all on my TV. So I have to rely on XBLA or the stupid XBIG channel that is not available in my country.

                As a last resort I'd go with a tablet. I played Cthulhu Saves The World on the iPad but that crashes every couple of minutes, so fuck that.

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                July 11, 2012 12:12 PM

                That's a good point. If it has any market traction at all it will just cause MS and Sony to make their indie dev kits better and make Apple jump into this space quicker.

                Like Onlive, where it seems to me online will be most remembered for showing how Cloud gaming could work, while larger corps eat them alive once the tech is really ready for mass markets.

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            July 10, 2012 1:57 PM

            yea, i dont see what different it makes it it is backed by the big guys or if it disrupts the big guys. iut gives the little guys a better option.

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 1:42 PM

      Just backed it.
      Thank God! I'm sick and tired of seeing shit on my console that doesn't belong there. Like Hulu, Netflix, ESPN, HBO Go, Amazon....I mean If I wanted to see TV I would watch TV. When I turn on my console I don't want to see or be reminded of any of that garbage.
      Thanks OUYA!

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 1:59 PM

      DING! Funding is done!

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 2:00 PM

      I find myself very skeptical. Developers generally turn to consoles because of their huge install base and difficulty of piracy. This console has neither of those, and "built for hackers" is going to read to many of them as "built for piracy". Some indies will probably support it, but if it gets a reputation for losing people money it's going to die fast.

      • reply
        July 10, 2012 2:08 PM

        All Android developers suffer that fate anyway. A free game locked through an in-app purchase might get around that, right?

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        July 10, 2012 2:09 PM

        They're pricing it at around $100 which is pretty cool.

        To be honest this is kind of exactly what i want from a console, i want a simple, cheap system plugged into my tv that i can play indie games on.

        Whether or not this will survive (it probably wont..) is besides the point, i'm pretty sure someone is going to offer this kind of device at some point, probably apple.

      • reply
        July 11, 2012 12:13 PM

        Very true.

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      July 10, 2012 2:05 PM

      Just hope it doesn't get littered with $.99 awful games.

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      July 10, 2012 2:09 PM

      Well...they have a lot of consoles to deliver in the next year. Good luck to them!

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      July 10, 2012 2:36 PM

      Good luck bringing a console to market with $1M

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        July 10, 2012 2:44 PM

        You missed the part where the pledge amount is growing by $4-5k per MINUTE.

        If they sell the entire initial run of 10,000 that's an additional $3.6 million on top of that. And then there are the higher-level tiers.

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          July 10, 2012 2:46 PM

          I'm off by a zero. Math is hard.

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          July 10, 2012 2:53 PM

          They have to produce ~8000 consoles too...

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            July 10, 2012 2:57 PM

            I wonder if they thought about that before starting this multi-million dollar Kickstarter?...

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            July 10, 2012 3:00 PM

            Actually it'll be closer to 12,000 with just what they have available now (1,000 + 10,000 + upper tiers). Seeing as it's going to sell out in 6 hours, though, I can't imagine they won't increase the size of the initial run.

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              July 10, 2012 3:08 PM

              Sorry I guess it's been 12+ hours already. Still, they'll sell out in under a day.

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              July 10, 2012 3:12 PM

              Yeah that is what I'm saying. Selling them is the easy part, making them for $100 will be the hard part.

        • reply
          July 10, 2012 3:31 PM

          There are a ton of other costs that go into development and that's not even including marketing. Hell, even making custom plastic molds can cost tens of thousands unto hundreds of thousands for just the design and mold manufacture.

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            July 10, 2012 3:55 PM

            They have certainly considered all those when they set their price. Perhaps it's just an incentive to get additional investors behind it when they see it's selling like hotcakes? Or they have something already negotiated that is based on a number of pledges?

            How was the One Laptop Per Child thing funded anyway? Governments bought them in quantities and those $99 already covered manufacturing cost?

            • reply
              July 10, 2012 4:08 PM

              OLPC is a totally different concept and fundamentally a charity. This, I assume, is a for profit business. Having a funded Kickstarter is not a measure of success. Around here we have millions of installs and that is how we generate revenue from ads and IAP. Ten thousand or even tens of thousands of consoles isn't a solid base. I know the idea is just to take normal Android games, but most Android games are touch based and there will have to be port work for a controller. For some titles that might be a major undertaking. Not worth it with that small of a base.

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                July 10, 2012 5:47 PM

                ahh, i bet most people havent considered that almost all android apps are all touch based right now, and simply are not ready to work without a touchscreen. iiiiinteresting,

              • reply
                July 10, 2012 9:51 PM

                Yeah but what does charity have to do with it? Were they accepting donations that were not tied to a number of laptops? It all sounds that with the right manufacturing quantity the sheer volume times the $99 would be higher than the real manufacturing cost per console and gamepad + UI development + research + marketing.
                Adapting the graphics and controls to a controller is something Android developers might want to look into anyway in order to make their Android games HDTV proof. With certain frameworks on iOS the transition from touch screen to mouse on Mac OS is not too hard, but then, of course a controller is different and it entirely depends on how your gameplay is designed around the touch controls (World of Goo is something that wouldn't play well with a controller anyway.)

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 3:58 PM

      The period at the end of "Hackers welcome." links to the anonymous twitter page. wtf?

      • reply
        July 10, 2012 4:07 PM

        No way. LOLOL oh man.. that's a stupid invite.

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 4:34 PM

      paging DrMikey

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        July 10, 2012 4:40 PM

        haha. tell me about it. i understand that their pitch is more polished, and their team more credible, but the idea is almost the damn same. i dont think they stole it by any means, just two similar ideas at around the same time.

        while it validates that i had the right idea, it kicks my nutsack that they made 1.5 million on day one

        • reply
          July 10, 2012 4:42 PM

          Just goes to show that the power of kickstarter is all in the pitch, really. You're convincing people to take a chance on you, essentially. Pitch is all you've got.

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          July 10, 2012 4:48 PM

          did the Shack ever mention your kickstarter? Did you ask them to?

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            July 10, 2012 4:58 PM

            i didn't ask through the shack directly, it was before i knew how to exactly. i think i submitted it as a tip, but signal to noise problem there.

            either way, if they can pull this off, all the better. it irks me to get my ass kicked on a personal level, but i'm happy to see a new type of option available for indies

        • reply
          July 10, 2012 9:15 PM

          I don't really see it that way. The difference right now might seem trivial and subtle to you, but I think in practice they're extremely different. OUYA is not just making an open console, but specifically an Android living room console which drastically benefits from their toolchain, existing software, and more importantly their developers.

          Android does not exist in the living room. Up until the Nexus Q, there wasn't even half assed integration of Android devices and media into the living room. OUYA gives Android developers, especially game developers, a common living room target with all the tools and SDKs they're familiar with, but never had an outlet for. It's quite possibly the most important part of their entire concept. The platform and controller pretty much define the console.

          Your project didn't even consider anything along those lines. It had no platform of it's own and no careful attention to the industrial design. These aren't things that you can slap on, or think of, later. They're not just details. They are the console.

          But I wouldn't feel too hurt about it, you're doing great in actually making games, no? And you didn't just get beaten by some random guys on KickStarter, you got your ass handed to you by very heavy hitters who are not only experts at industrial design, but also advertising and branding.

          • reply
            July 10, 2012 10:03 PM

            Yeah the platform and ecosystem plans set it way apart imo

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 5:01 PM

      Come one, come all... invest today in The Phantom 2.0!

      • reply
        July 10, 2012 5:03 PM

        I wonder what would happen if the people behind this project just ran away with the money.

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          July 10, 2012 5:50 PM

          Nothing. They are being given the money with no strings attached,

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            July 10, 2012 5:51 PM

            yep. only independent legal action would be an option, and good luck proving they intentionally fucked everyone

        • reply
          July 10, 2012 8:38 PM

          There are a lot of big names attached to this project. Hopefully they aren't willing to wager their reputations against screwing everyone over.

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 6:09 PM

      I backed it for the price of the console, I think it has promise and I think will be a better investment then the Wii. I haven't turned on my wii in over a year because of lack of something to play in my opinion. I think this could really help with casual gaming when I just want to drop 20-30 minutes into a game and not do anything serious. Or if I want to sit for a while and play something serious I can do that too. I hope this is awesome, and I put my money where my mouth is. :)

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 6:14 PM

      Bitboys 2.0, this time they're making a console.

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 7:46 PM

      They are now at $1.8 million. All this before the 24-hour mark. 29 days left? We could see a new level of participation beyond Double Fine ...

      • reply
        July 10, 2012 7:56 PM

        I'm betting we hit $10M on this.

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        July 10, 2012 7:59 PM

        In betting the hit $10M

      • reply
        July 10, 2012 8:30 PM

        Could be bigger than Pebble.

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        July 10, 2012 9:06 PM

        But they've probably got a limited number of consoles they can promise to sell, so soon it will all the $99 consoles will be sold out.

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      July 10, 2012 8:13 PM

      I think the 99 cost for what they purpose( along with design costs, packaging costs and shipping costs) is unrealisti

      • reply
        July 10, 2012 8:56 PM

        Snowwolf? Snowwolf! SNOOOOOOWWOOOOOOOOLF!!

      • reply
        July 10, 2012 9:00 PM

        Yeah I agree. They will have to have actual investors, because by the look of their video they will burn through 1.5M in a few months of staff alone without building any consoles

        • reply
          July 11, 2012 12:49 AM

          my guess is they have investment already. I'd wager they are using Kickstarter as a clever marketing tool that actually sells them some early unity and gets then some bonus funds.

          They seem smart and professional enough to know 1m isnt enough to bring a product like this to market.

          • reply
            July 11, 2012 2:38 AM

            +inf, this seems very likely given the office, staff and equipment they showed in that video. In which case it's a very smart move to use it for marketing.

      • reply
        July 10, 2012 9:08 PM

        Rip Snowwolf

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 9:24 PM

      Can someone do a refresher on how Kickstarter works...

      Once it goes past the target goal within the time limit, your cc gets charged and there's no actual guarantee of the promises being delivered, right? Is it all based on trust and the reputation of the ppl behind the project?

      • reply
        July 10, 2012 9:53 PM

        No, you're only charged when the time expires and they are above the funding goal, the rest is correct.

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          July 10, 2012 10:00 PM

          So why are so many people confident these guys will deliver? I haven't really heard of any of them until today. I mean to create and ship a real piece of Android hardware doesn't seem trivial to me...

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            July 11, 2012 12:52 AM

            People don't know, its all based on an honor system.

            We're still waiting to get the first big Kick starter failure, there have been small ones, but we haven't seen one of the bigger ones fall to the way side yet. It will happen, and when it does it will hurt the whole process as more eager donators realize what they're paying (gambling on) for.

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              July 11, 2012 12:18 PM

              You only have to put up a little money, so even if it does fail your risk would be pretty small. But yes, at some point a project with a lot of eyes on it will either turn out to be a scam, or crash and burn, which will likely cause Kickstarter to have more rigid policies for getting projects onto the site, which will lock out the very indies they want to appeal to.

              But for now it's working, and your investment is small. If a product you'd love to have isn't worth a 15 dollars of risk to see happen, then you're really leaving up to the large companies to serve you.

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 9:28 PM

      Also, anyone notice the similarity of the concept with the nD? http://the-nd.com/ Except this one's less vapourware.

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 9:58 PM

      Of course, I can't forget the obligatory OnLive plug. It's interesting to me that this is so hugely popular while OnLive also sells their "console" box with a controller for $99.

      So what makes this project so much more popular?

      Is it because it runs games locally rather than on the cloud?

      Is it because it's open, free, indie/developer-friendly and such?

      The marketing?

      There's an OnLive client for Android so you can always use it that way too.

    • reply
      July 10, 2012 10:27 PM

      I gotta get into this internet pan-handling bid'ness.

    • reply
      July 11, 2012 3:36 AM

      What about the resolution ? Will it depend on the TV ? will it support full HD (1920 x 1080) ?

      • reply
        July 11, 2012 6:46 AM

        It has an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of flash storage, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, one USB 2.0 port, and HDMI output with support for 1080p HD television displays.

    • reply
      July 11, 2012 4:06 AM

      I hope Kool-Aid guy is the sponsor! OH YAH!

      +next version of Android should be Kool Aid!

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      July 11, 2012 6:32 AM

      I backed it. I'm thinking, the least it will be is a great emulator box.

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      July 11, 2012 7:01 AM

      I'll read through the thread in a minute. What do you guys thing about Ouya vs.
      - Steam
      - Desura
      - OnLive
      - iOS App Store
      - Traditional Channels
      - - PC Games
      - - Xbox Indie games (typically 80 pts)
      - - PS3 Indie & Mini games
      - - Rumored expansion of Wii U reaching out to Indie devs

      I'm very interested, but I wonder about market penetration and the reality that other options are already readily available.

    • reply
      July 14, 2012 7:39 AM

      So it's for android games? That doesn't sound appealing at all.

      If the idea is to have a box for indie games in general, with all the very same games you can get on XBLA and PSN but without the inflated $15 price tags then maybe, maybe I'd be on board. Other than that, I don't see the point.

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        July 16, 2012 1:23 PM

        Dude, check the link and read for 5-10 minutes the point is to get a console that's cheap, both for developers and the gamers and one that works on the free-to-play model.

        The fact that it runs android is a big deal, take a step back an look at the big picture, sure the things you will probably see there first will be android phone games, angry birds and all that crap but the android SDK is out there now and it's free... Think that Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on licensing fees, dev-kits, deals with publishers etc. You can start working (for free) on something for that console RIGHT NOW, not when you get your developer console, NOW.

        That means that if you get an Idea for a game about a unicorn-riding-ice-cream man on the vein of the old paper boy you can do it, you could do it on your pajamas and nobody would care.

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