OUYA: Can the mobile gaming community make the jump to your living room?

OUYA (pronounced OOO-Yah, not unlike the Kool-Aid guy’s saying) looks to take the ease of developing and selling mobile games and place it in your living room. According to their Kickstarter page, the project backers are big fans of console gaming, tugging at good memories from your past to get you interested. Their pitch is that mobile gaming is an easy market to develop for: unlike consoles, you don’t have to go through hundreds of hours of certification and disc printing before your product can reach the masses. This makes mobile gaming a lot easier to access than consoles for game developers, and cheaper for the consumer.

What is OUYA selling? The answer is two-fold. First, they’re selling you – the consumer – a small box and a controller. The box is said to be the size of a Rubik’s cube and a controller, both pictured above. The console part is home to a Tegra3 quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB of internal flash storage, HDMI with 1080p support, WiFi (b/g/n) Bluetooth 4.0, and a USB 2.0(?!) port, which allows the user to expand the internal storage via flash drive. It’ll run Android 4.0 from the start, and support Twitch.TV. Also, every console will ship with a single controller and the SDK. They’re also selling to the developer: They ask for assistance in developing some first-party games for their marketplace, as well as the ease of bringing your existing Android game to their marketplace, as long as some functionality of the game is free to play.

While this sounds awesome, I’m slightly reminded of the cheap “console” games of the past: the 100-in-1 combo boxes that hooked the controller directly to your TV, bringing you a ton of low-fi entertainment. Of course, the graphics on this bad-boy won’t be cutting-edge, but look at how fun existing mobile games are. Getting the average adult fingers off the screen and onto a full controller could be quite beneficial, and fun! Sure, CoD (if it comes to the system) won’t look spectacular, but you still get to be yelled at by 13 year olds, and side-scrollers are always fun: Look at Limbo. Plus, every game on the marketplace has to have some sort of free-to-play version, whether it be a trial or sell in-game items. That means you can test drive your games, or play a new one every day.

If you’re interested, head over to the Kickstarter page and donate $95 to get first crack at a console ($30 for a second controller) and reserved username. The first dev consoles ($699, and you get two controllers, game promotion with fancy emblem and a dev-ready console) are expected to ship in December 2012, with production consoles coming in March 2013. I am not sure if I’m willing to plunk down the cash, but I like the idea of a cheap-thrills system with tons of cheap-to-free games.

Oh, and Notch says Minecraft is coming. So there’s that.

Sources: USA Today, Kickstarter

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