Have you heard about the OUYA?  It’s a new video game console that was pitched through Kickstarter and got a TON of support.  They asked for just under $1 million, and received over $8.5 million in pledges!  The OUYA is being promoted as an “open” console, for both players and developers.  Here are some key points:

  • The console is only $99.
  • All games are free-to-try, enough for you to determine if you want to pay for a full experience.  Models include free demos with paid full versions, subscriptions, and DLC.
  • Every console will come with all the development tools necessary to create OUYA games.
  • The game submission and review process will be much more accessible than traditional console development, and will be similar to current Android app submission.
  • It’s super tiny and adorable (okay, that’s neither here nor there, but who wants another big blocky console?)

The point is to give all developers an easy way to get their games onto a console/TV, a market which has generally had a very high barrier of entry in the past (even development and submission for PSN/XBLA can be expensive and arduous for indie developers).  As gamers and game developers, my husband and I thought this all sounded pretty awesome, so we backed to get a console and two controllers.  The console is scheduled for release this March, which is coming right up.

It seems like there are a lot of people who are kind of hating on the OUYA, who are either misguided about its purpose (the point isn’t for it to replace your PS3 as an eight-generation console, but it also isn’t just a glorified smartphone — the Tegra 3 is really powerful) or just cynical about its viability.  The good news is that OUYA is on track to deliver its promised early developer kits on time at the end of the month, an impressive feat for a product like this.  The early dev kits will include the development tools that will come with every OUYA and will allow early developers to test on the console and get their games ready for release with the launch of the console in March.  Even more good news, OUYA is giving away ten of these early dev kits to interested developers who couldn’t afford to pledge for one in the Kickstarter!

Nick and I would love to develop a game for OUYA, along with our friend Nick W (who was part of our team for Ludum Dare back in August, and who teaches us so much about great game design), so we’re throwing our hats in the ring to win an early dev kit!  You can read more about the game we want to make here at this page.  If it sounds like a game you’d like to play, we’d appreciate your support in spreading the word via Twitter with the hashtag #myouyagame =)  Even if we don’t win, we’re still going to do our best to develop the game (the contest was the perfect spark we needed to get moving!), and win or lose, it’s really exciting for us to be taking part in this pivotal moment in indie game development.

Did any of you back the OUYA, or had you heard about it before?  What are your thoughts and feelings?  Are you skeptical about their ability to deliver, or the viability of a new console on the market?  Are you optimistic about the impact it might have on the gaming industry?