For those who hadn’t heard yet, a certain Kickstarter project has been making big waves the last few days in the gaming industry (well, at least, the indie part of it). The OUYA (pronounced oh-yeh) is a new type of gaming console–one that, at only $99, supports the free-to-play model and offers a hassle-free way for developers to create high end, HD console games. The OUYA will get rid of the roadblocks and difficulties of producing games for consoles, giving developers the freedoms they have on the PC and Mac fronts to make creative games… as the good ol’ days of gaming let them do, as it were.
This is all very exciting, but some of this really requires explanation… for example, what do they mean by ‘free-to-play model’? Well, their FAQ explains it well enough:
…every game will be free to play: what this means is that there will at least be a free demo, or you’ll be able to play the entirety of the game for free but may have access to additional items, upgrades, or other features that come at a cost.
Think of League of Legends: The game is completely free, and you can play it without spending a dime… but you can also get unique character skins, or unlock a character you want with money instead of using the in-game currency. It’s a model that’s worked in the past, and while it is yet unproven on consoles, the OUYA might yet thrive on it.
But what about games? A console, no matter how cool sounding, cannot survive without any games… but thankfully, that’s being worked on as well. If the project is successful, the makers od OUYA can send out developer kits to interested parties, so that when the console launches in 2013, they can have a nice set of launch games, as well as possible console exclusives! Also, since 300 people have already committed to the OUYA model that comes with developer’s tools built in the five days the Kickstarter has been up, it seems at least some are excited to make games for it as well as play them!
That does beg the question… will the project be successful? It already is! The project’s goal was a little under a million dollars, but in these past five days those expectations were completely shattered and the project has raised over FOUR AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS. In five days! It’s incredible! So many of the $99 pre-order OUYAs were sold, even, that the makers had to put up a second pledge listing for them, and that’s filling up fast, too.
Even if you don’t support the OUYA financially, or in other ways, it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on… while I’m not sold that this will completely change console gaming, I have to wonder how the big companies are going to respond if the system takes off.