OUYA interests me for a variety of reasons, though the obvious one is it’s a new bit of kit that shares a common technological pedigree I’m very familiar with. It’s an Android based game console proposed for a $99 price tag.
So, random thoughts on its interesting nature:
Wow, over $8M in funding via Kickstarter. Impressive. This sort of validates my recent thinking on using commodity hardware and software for solving real problems. I think there are a number of possible products out there that combine various open source software solutions with open hardware based designs. Though, of course, I’m not sure this works when targeting gamers and home consumers.
I both like and dislike the Android choice as the platform. I like it because I understand it. I work with Android distributions at a low level, I run phone(s) with my own builds. I work with it in a professional capacity and I prefer it to the alternatives. However, I hate that it’s going to be judged on its ability (or lack of) to run AAA games. Which is what most will expect once the screen is the living room TV. Still, no matter the game it would be kind of cool watching someone playing it on their TV, from their own bean-bag chair.
It’s interesting as it’s an “open platform”. This means that, at least in theory, the barrier to entry for someone wanting to try their hand at a game is small. Development software is free, the devkit is the same as the end-user gets. It seems a good platform for indie development, at least how I view indie development. Then again, if it sees any kind of success you’ll see real indie pushed out in favor of Zynga and Popcap.
Ultimately I think there’s more success to be had pushing back into the living room, but not onto the TV. I think an Android based bit of hardware, similar to something like Sifteo does, is ideal. Interactive, multi-player gaming with cheap bits of commodity hardware. Imagine Risk, or Canasta with family or a group of friends. Only the games would be different, and would utilize the strengths of the hardware and interaction provided. The idea isn’t how to force Call of Duty onto the new kit, but what can you make with the new set of assumptions.