Free/open Android-based games console raises $2MM+ on Kickstarter in one day

The Ouya is an Android-based games console design that's been floated on Kickstarter. It's done spectacularly well, garnering over $2.3MM in the first day (now closing in on $4MM), far in excess of its target of $950,000. So much money has been raised, in fact, that the project's founders are now asking supporters for ideas on what to do with all the extra: "The biggest thing for us right now: we are working on our stretch goals, what we can do if we raise more money. It might take us a few days to figure that out, and we want your help."

Ouya's pitch is pretty awesome: a handsome, blobjecty console that is built on free/open source software, free SDKs to level the playing field to developers, with no publishing, licensing or retail fees. They promise easy-to-root hardware, and warranty support for rooted systems, and openness to hacker-designed peripherals.

Have at it: It's easy to root (and rooting won't void your warranty). Everything opens with standard screws. Hardware hackers can create their own peripherals, and connect via USB or Bluetooth. You want our hardware design? Let us know. We might just give it to you. Surprise us!


* Tegra3 quad-core processor
* 8GB of internal flash storage
* HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
* WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
* Bluetooth LE 4.0
* USB 2.0 (one)
* Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
Android 4.0

OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console (via Engadget)


  1. What is $2MM? Is it anything like $2M or $2,000,000? I’ve never seen that terminology before.

    1. 4 masturbating monkeys, I think.

      Truthfully, I read it as “4 mu-mu-millions!” like some gameshow host speaking. The question is, does Cory use $5KK to mean 5 thousand dollars?

    1.  Thanks for that link.  Everything about that video seemed wrong, but I was too lazy to research the improbabilities myself.  I’m glad someone did.

      All that ‘we can do this, we can make this happen!’ with no examples of what it does or how it works…  Bad vibes.

      1.  It’s the OLPC of gaming.
        It almost certainly won’t live up to the hype.  But recall that “netbooks” were unheard of before that tiny cheap green laptop caused such excitement.

        So maybe it’s not the product itself that’s important, it’s the meme: We want cheap, hackable, dedicated gaming consoles.  Most people who like to play games don’t want or need a damn PS3.  Why aren’t there other options?  The Ouya may not have a great answer, but it’s asking the question very loudly.

        1. I have a PC.  It’s pretty darn hackable.  Although it’s not cheap, it plays tens of thousands of games, has no issues with backwards compatibility, is easily upgraded, connects to the internet, and works with any controller I would like to use.  It has many tried-and-true methods for boundary-free game publishing.  It connects to my 46 inch LED screen.  I could easily find a mini-atx case, or micro-atx case, and pretend it’s a console.

          And to top it all off, I already need it for other things, so gaming on it is just a perk.  Most people who would buy this Ouya already have a computer that can do this stuff. 

          I realize there’s the allure of the simplicity of a console, but that’s been done (quite well) by MS, Sony, and Nintendo.  And we’ve seen fantastic games published for these platforms by independent companies and small publishers.

          Also, let’s see how ‘hackable’ their game store is…  That $99 price tag isn’t gonna cover their operating costs.

        2. Except this isn’t that…and we already have cellphones and other similar devices.  There isn’t a sudden groundswell for hackable, open-source consoles.  This thing is basically a souped-up Rasberry Pi.  Great for hobby enthusiasts, but it will never replace an honest-to-goodness console.

          This isn’t even a full-fledged PC: it’s an android tablet, without the tablet…using a control interface completely different than every other android tablet out there.  

          We already HAD a cheap, hackable dedicated gaming console: it was called the original Xbox.

    2. Same here. I want it to do something since the idea of this little startup managing to give a console that is actually fun and has an honest to god controller when everyone else is going for gimmiked schtick appeals to me (especially since I don’t mind ‘bad’ graphics in games. PS1/Dreamcast era graphics are fine by me. Really.)

      But really there’s nothing substantial there in the kickstarter.

    3. Interesting and I agree with most of it. But I think lots are taking the gamble that if the console doesn’t take off, they’ll have a 100$ android set top box.

      It seems like they’re overselling it in the Kickstarter video. While the idea of free to play games is nice, not every game is made for it (some game end up being free to play, pay to win and break multiplayer gaming). I’m not sure what’s so liberating for a game developer to be stuck in a free to play model… If demos are accepted as free to play, then great. Either way, they don’t quite come off as trust-worthy and there needs to be a sufficient user base in order to get games on it…

    4. One addendum that I find interesting is when the Ouya kickstarter started, they had the main reward tier ($99 for an Ouya) capped at 20K. I thought that was very smart/savvy, to have a cap of around 25K Ouyas they would produce in their first run.

      Now with it being popular, that tier is at 80K. I doubt that they had any manufacturing breakthroughs in the last couple of days. I think they saw all the hype/buzz/$$$ and wanted to get as much money upfront.

      1. My guess would be that the jump represents manufacturing breakpoints.  For electrical components, the price breaks for larger purchases can be incredible.  If the price is $X each for 100 or more units and for is $Y each for 1000 or more units, buying 1000 is almost always cheaper than buying 999, and it can even be cheaper than buying 500.  I believe the same holds true for getting something built.

        Of course, that assumes they are not being disingenuous or naive in the first place.

    5.  There are some issues with the OUYA, but there are some issues with that article as well.

      Number one, the device is standard android stuff. Saying it doesn’t exist is meaningless, it does exist, just not in this form factor. Its easily programmed for (java) and there is a huge android development community already. Adding physical controls to your touch screen game is much easier than porting it to a different platform.

      Number two, the comparison to XBLIG is inept at best. In order to publish on XBLIG, you must pay $99 a year, and you are only permitted a dozen or so releases in that time. You also must use MS’s proprietary XNA devkit for development. If the OUYA is truly open, there would be no entry fee, nor restrictions on development environment.

  2. “You want our hardware design? Let us know. We might just give it to you.”

    You might get the schematic, but without initmate details of the Tegra3’s GPU, it’s not going to be the nippiest machine out there if you have to do all the graphics handling on the ARM cores. Contrast this with the Raspberry Pi (which has way less grunt than a Tegra, I know): the foundation can’t release details of the Pi’s GPU even with the chip’s designer being behind the project, and having the manufacturer’s support. What hope does the small commercial entity behind the Ouya have?

    1.  The fact that it shares a common architecture with current android devices which are currently being developed for.

      1. Do you have anything you need to say, in the interest of full disclosure, perhaps?

        1.  Yeah, I made a few shareware games back in the floppy disk days, and all of the fervor over Indie games lately has rekindled my interest in game design. I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on what channels/ platforms/ languages are of interest. I think the OUYA is a great idea if it’s handled right, and I’d like to see what real faults the naysayers can point out.

          1. I simply pointed out another device, with similar functionality, that already exists.
            I would also like to point out the stupidity associated with comparing a device that is readily available; with the specifications and price of a device in the proposal stage, and a launch window of next march. It must be heresy to believe technology will progress as price relatively decreases over the next 8 months.

          2.  And I simply pointed out that your device is clearly not intended for playing videogames, while the OUYA clearly is.

            The cortex a8 in the device that you pointed out is already one year old tech as well. If thats what you were trying to say after you called me stupid.

          3. I said that comparing specifications of devices that are years apart is stupid, not that you are stupid. Having already read your comments, I was/ am inclined to believe you are an smart/intelligent person.

      2. Nobody can. That’s WHY this product is doomed to vapourware.

        It’s a Nexus 7 tablet at half the price with more than double the manufacturing.

  3. Most people haven’t seen the comments on linkedIn, and right now at the industry groups, most execs are ranting endlessly about the end of all things. They have been taken by surprise and they are scared shitless about the prospect of their oligopoly being taken away by indie devs. It’s so sad, it ain’t even funny.

    So you can get a sense of scale, the Xbox 360 sold 326.000 units on it’s first week (that is with microsoft’s marketing budget), and if OUYA’s 10.000 consoles sold per day rate keeps going, OUYA will hit a 300.000 consoles install base *before* it hits retail.

    The fact that this will be wide a open ecosystem will allow stuff that has been removed from the apple appstore because it messes up their abusive cashgrab strategy, like the Mobius browser that used OpenAl and OpenGl in order to play HTML5 games and apps at speeds way over 1000 fps on low end hardware. (Ipod Touch, for example)

    This will be awesome. It gives devs an ecosystem with a clear hardware target, and if the demoscene has taught us anything, is that you can do amazing stuff when you have a clear target.

    The real hurdle for OUYA will be to develop a search algorithm that sorts the ecosystem in such a way that it’s possible to find the diamonds between all the trash that will be uploaded.

    In order to be effective it has to work like a hybrid of Amazon,  IMDB and Netflix suggestions, instead of the “race to the bottom” model seen at the apple appstore, google play and facebook “social” games ecosystems, that encourage low cost, quick turnover, abyssmal quality content.

    1. wow do you work for OUYA?  nice cut and past to PA how about a link to these ”
      comments on linkedIn” also Xbox has sold over 60 million 300,000 is a small pool of people 

    2. Just so you can get a sense of scale, in the first year Microsoft lost over $4 billion dollars on the Xbox 360 and Sony lost just under $2 billion on the Playstation 3. On production costs alone.

      1. Yup, very much true. That’s when they lost the hardware battle against another small underpowered console that many people made fun off, the Nintendo Wii.

        The thing is, the people at Ouya are gonna leverage this pr success to raise VC. 

        @facebook-759544215:disqus Not possible due to how group invitations work. And after all, it’s sad (and not funny), because they are over reacting. Tho it’s not only about the OUYA, it’s becuase of social games and how they have failed to capitalize on that market, the mobile market, the casual market, the rumors about the steam box, etc (basically consoles as we know them will die out soon just like the Arcades did)

         Also I copy pasted my comment at PA because those guys live on product placement (and since the dickwolves thing, fuck those guys), so most probably someone paid for that “editorial”.

        And nope, I don’t work for Ouya, I’ve got my own start up

        You can call me a Ouya fanboy tho, i can live with that X-D

        1. I’ll admit, it was pretty stupid of Microsoft to lose the hardware battle to a console that didn’t release until an entire year later, but there you have it.

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