The Android-based Ouya console is now official, and has raised over $2,000,000 on Kickstarter in a matter of hours - surpassing its $950,000 target with 28 days left of the campaign.
The campaign has raised so much, in fact, that company founder Julie Uhrman has asked supporters for feedback on what the project's "stretch goals" should be given the additional funding.
The full specs are at the bottom of this article, and reveal the console's modest power - no surprise given its $99 target price point - but more interesting is the controller, which is being designed - by One Laptop Per Child designer Yves Béhar - as a "love letter to console gaming".
The current concept for the weighty looking pad mixes brushed aluminium - echoing the Ouya console itself - and grey plastic to striking effect, and the campaign promises "fast buttons, triggers, laser-precise analog sticks [and] a D-pad". In addition to these traditional controls, however, it has a centralised touchpad to ease the transition for any games ported from mobile platforms - but it could equally be used for new games created specifically for the console.
As previously promised, all games on the console will be free-to-play - though Ouya has clarified this could mean anything from a demo to microtransactions - and is easily hacked. You won't void your warranty if you decide to root it and everything is sealed with standard screws.
A number of high-profile indie developers have voiced their support for the project on the Kickstarter, including Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman, thatgamecompany's Jenova Chen, Triple Town creator David Edery, and Mojang.
The huge show of support through Kickstarter will no doubt convince the team behind Ouya that they are on the right track, and suggests that gamers now used to both free-to-play and fast-moving mobile distribution are in fact ready for a device that offers a similar experience in the front room.
Whether its hardcore hacking ethos can go hand-in-hand with an approachable, mainstream image remains to be seen, however, and even with a $99 price tag, it's difficult to image it displacing Nintendo's Wii from the centre of family gaming.
Even so, if the company can bring Ouya to completion, there's a very real chance that it could represent the industry's first viable console rival to the big three since Sega, and has the potential to seriously disrupt the balance of the next-generation hardware race.
- Tegra3 quad-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB of internal flash storage
- HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth LE 4.0
- USB 2.0 (one)
- Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
- Android 4.0