updated 03:42 pm EDT, Tue July 10, 2012
Android-based console open to hardware hacking
A Kickstarter campaign to launch an Android-based home console has gained a considerable amount of traction early. The makers of Ouya, an Android-based game console, are seeking to create an open platform that will enable developers to make games without having to jump through the usual licensing and publishing hoops that mainstream titles face.
The Ouya is powered by a quad-core Tegra 3 processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal flash storage. Running on Android 4.0, the console will be equipped with a wireless controller sporting dual analog sticks, a directional pad, eight action buttons, a system button, and a touchpad. In contrast to normal console construction, the system will be rootable without voiding the warranty, and is fastened by standard screws, allowing hackers to change the hardware as they see fit without worrying about legal issues or security updates.
As the Ouya is running on Android, it is claimed that any app developer will be able to release their Android app to the console without having to submit the game to a publisher for approval, and without having to pay a licensing fee to the console manufacturer, although there is a 70/30 revenue share in favor of the developer. A number of gaming luminaries have spoken in support of the approach, including Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner, and the developers of indie hit Minecraft, Mojang.
According to the Kickstarter page, the team behind Ouya is seeking almost $1 million to cover the initial production orders and gain the necessary regulatory approvals. Within the first two hours of the project launch, it had raised $200,000, and already stands three-quarters of the way to its goal at the time of writing, leaving the project over 29 days to reach the set target. Backers at $95 or higher will receive the console in its first production run, with the higher-end pledges aimed more towards developers.