Ouya Closes On Kickstarter, Begins Pre-Orders; Release Date Scheduled For Early April 2013

 @redletterdave
on August 09 2012 6:02 PM
Ouya Closes On Kickstarter, Begins Pre-Orders; Release Date Scheduled For Early April 2013
Ouya's Kickstarter campaign finally closed on Thursday morning, and just as Uhrman predicted, Ouya has finally arrived. Gamers, developers and fans looking to pre-order an Ouya can now do so via the company's website. Ouya said the expected release date for its Android-based gaming console is April 2013. Courtesy

"When we raise this money, it means that we have arrived, that there is a need for an open-game console, and that there is support from gamers and developers alike." - Julie Uhrman, founder of Ouya

When Uhrman made these comments before Ouya's Kickstarter campaign launched July 10, the company had originally set a goal of just $950,000 to get the Android-based game console in development. Ouya beat that goal in just 24 hours, raising $1 million.

Ouya's Kickstarter campaign finally closed Thursday morning, and just as Uhrman predicted, Ouya has finally arrived. In about a month of fundraising from Kickstarter, Ouya raised $8,596,475 from 63,416 backers, which is more than eight times what the company hoped to raise.

"We did it gang! Together. Stay in on the adventure at ouya.tv," the company tweeted on Thursday.

Gamers, developers and fans looking to pre-order an Ouya can now do so via the company's website. In the U.S., Ouya plays to sell one console with one controller for $109, one console and two controllers for $139, and one console with four controllers for $199. International orders will cost $10 more for each bundle, and $20 extra for shipping.

"This is a big undertaking," Uhrman said. "Effectively, we're trying to disrupt an established industry. It takes a lot of guts and courage, and if I wasn't a female, I'd say big balls."

Uhrman, who has plenty of experience in the gaming business as the former VP of digital at GameFly and VP of digital distribution and business development at IGN Entertainment, said Ouya was inspired by memories of playing video games in the living room.

"I love videogames, but more and more people are moving away from the television," Uhrman said. "There's a lot of focus today on the mobile and web platform. It's easier to develop games for those platforms than the television. It costs a lot of money, you have to work with established players in the space, and I've been trying to figure out how do we get them back to it?"

To make console gaming truly accessible, Uhrman decided to lower the entry level for gamers and developers alike. For gamers, all games are free to play at the start. For developers, Ouya is built on Android's popular open-source technology. By giving gamers an unlimited number of free games to try and play, Ouya has effectively opened up console gaming to developers outside of the console industry.

"The console business as it is today is completely closed to the independent developer," said Brian Fargo, founder of gaming company inXile. "The more we have something like this open console that can break that, it's gonna open up a new business sentiment for the independent developers."

Uhrman promises the Ouya will "all the game genres you love," including shooters, platformers, sports and RPGs, as well as games from big-name and indie console publishers.

"Minecraft is going to be on it, and Twitch.TV, so you can watch Starcraft and League of Legends," Uhrman said.

Ouya also says the console will provide game streaming through OnLive, and it will also host a streaming media app from XBMC, music from TuneIn and iHeartRadio, and even music videos from Vevo.

"This is the perfect hybrid of something that's inexpensive, open, and it comes with a fantastic controller," Fargo said.

Yves Behar, designer and founder of Fuseproject, was also the lead product designer on Ouya. He was charged with the company's most important task: Designing the controller.

"We really focus a lot on what the gamers are looking for. Precise controls, tactility, right sizing," Behar said. "What makes Ouya different and gives it the potential of changing the gaming environment is, "Are you able to build things right from the start, where you don't have to pay outrageous amounts of money for a dev kit, or you don't have to have a lot of credentials. Just good ideas."

According to the company, the specs of the Ouya console include a built-in Tegra3 quad-core processor, 8 GB of internal flash storage, and 1 GB of RAM. As far as connectivity goes, Ouya is Bluetooth 4.0 enabled, has a single USB 2.0 port, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, ethernet, and an HDMI port for the TV, which can support up to 1080p HD. Ouya's controller's are wireless, built with two analog sticks, eight action buttons, a system button, and a directional (D)-pad.

Ouya said the expected release date for the open-source console is April 2013.

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