It’s been an awfully long wait, but OUYA’s budget Android-based video game console has finally hit store shelves.
The tiny machine is being sold in the US, Canada and UK today through a number of retail partners including Best Buy, GameStop, Target, GAME and Amazon. It’s also available to purchase through the company’s official website for $99.99, with additional controllers costing $49.99 each.
OUYA finished its wildly popular Kickstarter campaign last August with $8,580,359 in the bank. It was an ambitious project, promising players an inexpensive way of playing Android video games on their television. The sleek 3-inch by 3-inch cube was also rather novel to behold and promised to be completely hackable; a major win for the modding and emulation community which was later bolstered by the ability to make custom cases, courtesy of Makerbot.
With dedicated hardware, consumers are now able to enjoy Android titles with a solid controller, and hopefully discover new experiences through an intuitive, curated interface and digital storefront.
OUYA has arguably been successful over the last year or so because players have been crying out for a new video game console. When it launched on Kickstarter, the Nintendo Wii U had failed to make an impact and the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were still yet to be confirmed. OUYA felt like a breath of fresh air and a company that truly understood the growing demand for new, innovative titles.
The console is launching today with over 170 games in the store, as well as 17,000 registered developers. It’s a not a guarantee that OUYA will receive consistent support from small and independent developers alike, but suggests that the console’s library will continue to expand in the coming months. It’s worth noting here that because the system runs on Android, all titles are digital and also free-to-play; OUYA is forcing every title to have at least some of the content available for free, be it a demo, free-to-play model or ‘lite’ version.
Initial reviews based on the OUYA consoles sent to backers have been mixed, but the company promised to fix many of the bugs and minor annoyances before its retail launch. The upstart hardware manufacturer’s challenge truly begins now – can it sustain and feed its own hype to a point where it can withstand the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year? The jury is still out, but with the holiday season fast approaching it’s only a matter of time.