There have always been two or three big video game consoles in any generation. From the Atari 2600, Amiga, and Colecovision to the WiiU, XBox One, and Playstation 4, the video game world is kind of a rarefied place to be, with companies spending millions of dollars to develop, market, and maintain consoles. That’s not counting the millions of dollars needed to run online gaming networks, develop games, market games, and all the other expenses associated with developing the modern video game industry. However, there’s always room at the bottom of the margin. Usually, it’s handheld games that dominate the cheap seats, but now a new company is trying to sneak in at the bottom of the video game market. The OUYA is a $99 video game console designed for both the poor developer and the poor player.
The OUYA started life as a Kickstarter project from video game industry lifer Julie Uhrman, who has been seeking to bring democracy to the gaming world. Democracy, in this case, takes the form of a small gray Android-powered box and a controller. Inside the box is 1GB of RAM and 8GB of Flash memory. It’s not going to blow the doors off the living room, but at $99, the hope is that the OUYA’s focus on substance and inexpensive fun will win a place at the table with the flash and gimmicks provided by the AAA providers.
“The idea of an open game console where any creator could develop games for the television, where you remove all of the barriers, where you have a business model that is free to play for all gamers, I thought would really resonate,” said Uhrman, whose console has one really unique selling point. ”It’s not right that you have to pay $60 for a game before you know if you even like it. As a result of that, and the huge budgets for the triple-A publishers, you’re seeing fewer and fewer titles every single year — and mostly just sequels to games you’ve already played. You’re not getting the opportunity to play games from new developers that are incredibly creative and may offer a different story and different kind of play.”
The OUYA is available today, June 25, and is already sold out on Amazon.com, though you can still place your order here.
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