OOH-YAH: Indie Gaming Comes to TV Sets

An Android based games console has destroyed its targets to become the second best-funded project ever on Kickstarter. The makers of the OUYA console had bid for $950,000 of funding from the public but wound up with just short of $8.6 million.

The idea of the console is to combine the creativity and independent spirit of today’s smartphone and tablet games with the wow factor of playing on a TV screen. It’s designed to be an alternative to the major consoles where games often have high budgets and thus low creative risks.

Developers will be able to release games for OUYA without any restrictions, other than at least some of the gameplay must be free of charge, even if it’s just a demo. The developers are then open to charge a subscription fee, a one-off upgrade fee for the full game, or offer in-game purchases. As with most mobile game platforms, the developers take 70 percent of any revenue, with the other 30 percent kept by the console makers.

It’s already confirmed that Final Fantasy III and a prequel to Human Element will be available on the console, while Minecraft is also set to appear at some point.

Any existing Android apps can be ported to OUYA and can make use of a touchpad built into the controller. Users can root the console if they choose, as well as creating new peripherals for USB or Bluetooth connection. The software development toolkit for creating games will be available directly on the console itself.

The developers of OUYA haven’t explained the name, though it’s pronounced “ooh-yah” in the style of a Randy Savage impersonator from the deep south. The console might be a bit tricky to market in parts of Africa as the name reportedly sounds similar to the Swahili version of a particularly vulgar insult beginning with c.

The console is scheduled to be shipping next spring and will sell for $99 with one controller and $30 for an extra controller. Between the various Kickstarter options, 58,000 consoles have already been pre-ordered.