Crowd-funding and Kickstarter produce some very unpredictable projects, and there's nothing more surprising to me than today's biggest out-of-left field idea, the OUYA. The OUYA is a new platform -- that's right, a console platform -- being pitched on the idea that it's open, runs free games, and costs only $99. As I've written these previous sentences, the Kickstarter has received over $10,000 more in backing for a total of $640,000 of their $950,000 goal. What's scary, is that very little is known about this project and what is known is very sketchy.
What is known, however, is that this console is powered by Android, has reasonable specifications and will come bundled with a Twitch.TV app. The entire project is still in the prototype stage. Beyond these specific details, everything else about the project is conjecture and loose promises. Yet still, as I've written this second paragraph, over $20,000 more has been pledged to the project.
Here are the additional details OUYA is promising with their Kickstarter. OUYA is open, and by open they mean developers can publish any game they like, priced however they wish on the console. But, every single game released on the console will require some sort of free-to-play, whether that be a demo or the full game. If you don't like this system, OUYA promises their console is entirely hackable, the hardware easily accessible with a screwdriver, and comes standard with USB ports and Bluetooth. It sounds, well, in theory it sounds very promising.
Remain skeptical. Keep in mind just how out of the blue this project is, and how abnormal the rate of funding is. Consider how expensive modern consoles are, and yet OUYA is comparable and selling at a mere $99, its controllers $30, and a mere $950,000 to go into full production. Next, consider its promise to provide any game a developer wants, but only if it meets their free requirements. In an interview with Ars Technica, OUYA admits this is through an online store similar to Xbox marketplace, or PSN. There is not free reign to acquire apps through Google Play or Amazon. OUYA is the gatekeeper, they will make a profit off of sales, and they aren't mentioning this in their Kickstarter.
While I wrote these last two paragraphs, OUYA just passed $700,000 in pledged funds. Expect to hear more on this project soon, and feel free to check out the Kickstarter for yourself.
Quick thanks to Shadow of Death for the tip.
Update: The project's $950,000 goal has been met just prior to 2:00 PM PST, and continues to garner pledges at an astounding rate.