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February 05, 2013

Android-Powered Ouya Console a Whole New Game Against Competitors

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

There are some, undoubtedly, who look at the Ouya console, which recently completed a run on Kickstarter, and say this console has no chance of truly competing in the console gaming market. On a certain level they'd be right, but ask CEO Julie Uhrman, and what's discovered is that she doesn't even plan on competing with the likely upcoming new releases in console gaming, the Xbox and the PlayStation 4.

With the successful completion of the Kickstarter program, the plan from here – as laid out by Uhrman – is simple enough. Preorders will start up today, with the official unveiling to come in March, where Kickstarter donors will get their units and Ouya will go live. Then in April, units will be delivered to purchasers with an official launch in June.

The Ouya itself will cost $99, but the controller will cost an additional $50.

It may seem odd to pay half the cost of a console for a controller, but Uhrman clarified that the touchscreen is simply built into the controller.

Still, $150 for a complete gaming system isn't exactly onerous – used Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 systems can be had for about that price – but what about the launch game lineup? While Ouya is keeping the exact names and numbers on those titles close to the vest for now, Uhrman is quick to assure that there will be a substantial amount comprising both regular titles and Ouya exclusives.

Uhrman also noted that there were several community sites currently active – between half a dozen and a dozen by her reckoning – that had lists of titles, some measuring nearly 200 games strong.

But perhaps the most telling thing Uhrman had to say in regard to the Ouya launch was this: “We don't need to beat Xbox or Sony or any console that enters the marketplace, we need to carve out our own niche. Ouya offers a very different value proposition to the gaming you can currently experience. It's a box designed specifically for the television that leverages the screen, we support 3D gaming, HD, we support the controller, we added a touchpad to the controller.”

“The kind of content you'll see on Ouya,” she said, “[will] be inventive and creative, and has never been on the television.”

For the most part, she’d seem quite right. Ouya isn't supposed to be a competitor; it's supposed to be a complement. Like the Amazon Kindle Fire is a complement to the iPad or similar tablet, it's a tablet users can have alongside their current model to get a fuller, richer experience. Ouya is operating in its own style, in its own ecosystem. We're not likely to see a whole bunch of games get ported from the newest Xbox and PlayStation consoles when they finally emerge, with a possible exception made for the indie arcade titles.

Looking at some of the lists for likely Ouya releases – "Operation Giant" and "Rival Threads: Last Class Heroes" among them – it's clear there's not a lot of porting going on in the short term, if nothing else.

Whether or not users will be willing to fork over the $150 for access to the Ouya remains to be seen, but it's likely there will be plenty willing to try the experience alongside their current gaming setups.




Edited by Braden Becker
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