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Newcomer hopes to disrupt the console market with an open Android box
Newcomer hopes to disrupt the console market with an open Android box Exclusive
July 10, 2012 | By Frank Cifaldi




"I'm not alone in thinking the console industry has experienced a brain-drain in recent years."

That's Julie Uhrman, speaking to us last week about her pet project, Ouya, a new bit of hardware introduced today on Kickstarter that hopes to disrupt the traditional television console business by offering a (mostly) open platform.

[Update: After just a few hours, the Kickstarter campaign has reached its funding goal of $950,000. There are still 29 days for the campaign to rack up additional funds.]

For a $99 Kickstarter pledge, Ouya backers will receive a small, stylish box with some reasonably high-end tech under the hood, a unique wireless controller (imagine something like a PlayStation or Xbox controller, but with a touchpad in the middle), and access to a wide variety of Android-based games that were either built from the ground up or have been modified to play on a television.

The attraction for game developers is in Ouya's ability to offer the best of both worlds: an open platform allowing just about anyone to publish a game, much like a modern smartphone, along with a traditional game controller and television display.

"The television is still the best screen for playing games," Uhrman tells us. "It's still where the most time and dollars are spent."

But what may be somewhat off-putting for developers thinking about getting on board with Ouya is that some key business aspects for the platform -- namely the approval process -- are still shrouded in mystery. The exact plans for Ouya's platform are still too early to talk about, but for game developers specifically, here's what we've been able to find out.

The Ouya runs on Android 4.0

Porting games from their tablet and smartphone versions should prove to be a simple procedure. Software is launched from a custom menu that, at least in its current prototype form, is reminiscent of the modern Xbox 360 dashboard.

Under the hood is, basically, a Nexus 7

The Ouya uses a Tegra 3 processor, similar to the one used in many Android-based Asus tablets (including the Nexus 7 and the Transformer Pad series). It also includes 1GB of RAM and 8GB of on-board Flash memory, just like the Nexus 7.

There's a touchpad on the controller

Given that this console is meant to attract those who are already developing touchscreen-based games, the Ouya's included controller has a touchpad directly on the face, as with most modern laptops.

The SDK is free

A big push of the Ouya is in how "open" the unit is. To that extent, we're told an SDK will be included with every unit. Additionally, much like modern phones, every Ouya box also functions as a debug unit for testing.

Ouya takes a 30% cut

Much like Apple, Ouya will take a 30% cut of all transactions made in games on its platform. Oh, and speaking of:

Every game must have some free gameplay

Uhrman says Ouya game developers are required to make some of the gameplay available for free. This can be provided in the form of a free demo with a paid full-game upgrade, a base game with virtual item sales and other free-to-play business models. Subscriptions are also supported.

And finally:

We're not clear on the approval process

And, perhaps, neither is Ouya itself. Our repeated questions as to the nature of the approval process and, more importantly, how Ouya will solve the Android's ever-present discoverability problem were dodged, with Uhlman only saying that the company is "working closely" with independent developers to "build a solution with them in mind."

The Kickstarter campaign, which launched today, is seeking $950,000 to complete development of both the hardware and software platform, as well as partially fund some game development.

[Update: The article originally said games must use the free-to-play business model. More correctly, games are required to provide at least some free gameplay. Sorry for any confusion.]


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Comments


Ian Bogost
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"The attraction for game developers is in Ouya's ability to offer the best of both worlds: an open platform allowing just about anyone to publish a game, much like a modern smartphone, along with a traditional game controller and television display."

Is this really the best of both worlds? Or is it the worst of both?

Derek Reynolds
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"Well, it's like a more open XBLIG, you see, and....wait, where are you going?!"

E Zachary Knight
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With a really good rating and sorting feature, the amount of junk could be moot. If they make it easy to find the games that you want, the games that are popular and the games that are well received, does it really matter that the new release section is filled with crap?

Michael Rooney
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@"With a really good rating and sorting feature"

You say that like it's simple.

Lars Doucet
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@Michael Rooney

It's by no means simple, but it *is* a mostly solved problem, and there's many who do it right. The App Store doesn't even try, so it's one of the worst examples.

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/LarsDoucet/20120607/172033/The_Hol
y_Grail_of_Digital_Distribution.php

Ian Uniacke
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Can you point to examples of companies doing it right? I mainly ask because it's easy to judge Apple's system when they have so many more apps to deal with making their problems potentially much more difficult to solve.

Lars Doucet
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@Ian:

Read the linked article

Michael Rooney
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@Lars: I don't see how that article is much different than the Android store (I can't say for iOS).

It has multiple categories (Brain & Puzzle, Cards & Casino, Casual, Arcade & Action, etc) and multiple easy to access pages for top performers in each (featured, Top Paid, Top Free, Top Grossing, Top New Paid, Top New Free).

The only thing I could really see being different according to the article is that games are allowed into a holding pen before they're considered launched, which I think is good, but it's still only part of an unsolved problem.

Ian Uniacke
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sorry lars it was first thing in the morning don't know what I was thinking :P

Lars Doucet
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The real difference is the user ranking system. Kongregate and NG use a pretty sophisticated algorithm on the back-end that take various features of your past behavior and on-site reputation into account, not unlike Stack Overflow. Kong and NG have different approaches, but both achieve about the same thing.

The "problem" as I see it is when a game that the given platform's audience would love never gets attention because it gets buried in crap submissions the audience doesn't care about.

Kong and NG have more or less solved that problem, hands down. I've been part of the community for years as both a player and a developer and the environment is drastically different from the mobile space in terms of discoverability. Of course, absent a few outliers, there's still not a lot of *money* in browser games for rank-and-file kong/ng devs, even if they have a fair shot of getting attention.

The Kong/NG model certainly does not solve *all* problems, so we might be talking about different "problems" related to visibility.

Whether OUYA will use anything like this model, of course, is an open question. There's still plenty of ways for them to ruin discoverability.

Tynan Sylvester
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I'm pretty sure more than 99% of what's uploaded to YouTube is crap, yet I have no trouble finding good videos that I like. Ditto Amazon.

Or hell, just look at the Internet as a whole. The vast majority of material on it is useless to met, yet I have no trouble finding what I need through Google and other mechanisms.

I believe the discoverability problem is solvable with technology. That is, if people can resist the urge to twist and manipulate the system in pursuit of short-sighted business goals.

Hell, perhaps Ouya could let people publish their own search and organization systems.

Michael Rooney
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@"I'm pretty sure more than 99% of what's uploaded to YouTube is crap, yet I have no trouble finding good videos that I like. Ditto Amazon."

The discovery problem isn't that people can't find good content, it's that people can't find your good content. Finding good content is easy; finding customers for your good content is incredibly difficult.

My point on comparing it to iOS and Android is that both of them have good systems for making some good content visible to the consumer, but neither of them has especially good systems for making specific good content visible to the consumer on average.

I'd imagine Kongregate has plenty of games that are rated highly by a small number of people who've played them, but never had the success of some games rated similarly.

Joe Wreschnig
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It makes no sense to call this open when you can't charge what you want for games, nor when the approval process is shrouded in mystery. At this point there's no difference between this and Apple's App Store, except on the App Store you can charge whatever you want.

Disruptive? Sure (if they can get the ball rolling - which involves more than just finishing their Kickstarter successfully). Open? No way.

E Zachary Knight
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You can charge what you want. But you have to provide some form of free access to the game, whether a demo with a paid full version or a free to play game with microtransactions.

Joe Wreschnig
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@E,

I'm all for encouraging demos, but there's a lot of games where it just doesn't make sense. For example, Ian Bogost's Guru Meditation. Even outside of "art games" I have a hard time picturing a demo of, say, Tiny Wings or Canabalt or Zaga-33, which is both playable and doesn't cannibalize real sales (other than the "limited play count" approach which Nintendo is the only company using today, and gets no end of complaints about).

If at the end of the day they're forcing you to make a demo before they'll put your game on their service, that's fine - it'll exclude some games that can't get revenue that way but still allow plenty of others. But if so, it's more restrictive than Apple and Google's own markets, so it's pretty disingenuous to crow about it being open.

E Zachary Knight
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Joe,

Then that may be left as a design decision on the developer's part. If they cannot work Ouya's model into their game, then that is what ultimately happens. I wouldn't want a developer to sacrifice their design goals for a single platform.

However, the console is rootable, so it is theoretically possible at this point that you would be able to purchase and run software that is available outside the Ouya store.

EDIT: Here is what their FAQ says about it being "open"

When we say, “open” we mean it. We’ve made many decisions based on this philosophy:

Launching on Kickstarter – this isn't just a way to raise funds. It's our way of involving supporters from the get go. We want your feedback as well as your support.

For gamers, we believe that OUYA will be more open than any platform on the market to a broad range of content that is really new and interesting, from the best known names in games to exciting indies that you may be getting to know for the first time.

For developers, open means that any developer can publish a game – if you've got a game, you can put it on OUYA. You can price your game however you like – it's your game! We just want to help you bring it to life on the TV. Just make some part of the experience free to the OUYAs. We use open-source software and standard chipsets – we're on Android because developers are speaking the language. Our chipsets aren't proprietary or secretive – open OUYA up and have a look! We’ll even publish the hardware design if people want it.

For hackers: root it. Go ahead. Your warranty is safe. Even the hardware is hackable. Want to get inside? You’ll need a standard screwdriver and nothing more. Go to town. We have standard USB ports and Bluetooth, so you’ll even be able to create your own peripherals.

As with every platform, though, we have to balance openness with a quality user experience. So we'll have a standard user interface. We'll curate your games in our storefront so they're easy for everyone to get to. And we’ll require that all games we put in our store include a free experience. If you don’t like our choices, root the device and make it your own.

Joe Wreschnig
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Rooting does a lot of things that ordinary users are not comfortable with, and even experienced users shy away from because just doing it in the first place will greatly increase the device's maintenance burden. It's pretty extreme when they could just support sideloading (or as we used to call it, "installing"). Ideally also with some CA/signature system so you can do "safe" sideloading, a la Apple. Or they just support games of that type in their store in the first place - what's the harm?

And most importantly, I don't see how you can pitch it as "open" if your first response to "how come I can't do this?" is "well you can, just root it." If I have to root it, the platform per se is not open, even if it can be incorporated into part of an open platform (viz. Steam is *on* an open platform, but Steam *is not* an open platform).

E McNeill
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Joe: While I don't think that a limited play count or limited time trial is that bad (plenty of other systems get no end of complaints too), I ultimately agree that they're being more restrictive than necessary. If free-to-try is that important, the market will make it clear.

My devil's advocacy only extends so far. :)

E McNeill
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I'm not sure what to think of this yet (I'm a little skeptical that they can really deliver at that price), but to play devil's advocate:

- Free-to-play isn't the same thing as pay-to-win. Give the first level away for free and make people pay for the rest, and it's pretty much just a demo model.

- If they really can deliver as advertised, this is one hell of a sales pitch: a home console, with controller, full of free games for $99. It's their game to lose at that point.

- There's not a great place for small, indie console-based games now. This could succeed where XLBIG largely failed, which could be good for everyone.

Ian Uniacke
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I doubt the console will be 99$. It's 99$ for supporters as a way to get people to invest.

Doug Poston
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@Ian: If they can't sell it for $99 they've already lost.

They might be able to sell it for $99 plus $xx a month subscription. But if they can't produce the hardware spec-ed for under $99 they're in the wrong business.

Bob Johnson
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Not going anywhere. Make a real console not a mobile device console.

Consumers can already play the "best of" indie games on the 360. And on their pcs too. Many are on our mobile devices as well.

So there is little reason to own this.

Doug Poston
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Looks like they're going to break $2,000,000 in the first 24 hours, so they're going somewhere. ;)

But I'm not entirely sure *why* people are so excited other than the fact that it's a sub-$100 console and the current generation of consoles are showing their age.

Chuck Bartholomew
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I think its assuming a lot of things to say that the "best of" indie games are on the 360. Think about that for a moment. If its on the 360, who decided it was a "best of" title? Who's the gate keeper? I can't even make an indie game for the 360 without paying money to Microsoft, and even then there is no guarantee that they will post it on XBLA for others to play.

Also, this thing costs far less than a 360 or a PC. In today's economy, that's an important consideration. Bear in mind that not everyone has a PC (some have Macs) or a 360 (or any other console) so this has the potential to bring new players into the video game market.

Finally, the reason why I'm excited about this console: all of the development tools are freely available. Other than the OUYA SDK, you can get these tools now - for free. And the OUYA SDK comes with the console. This console is a game changer. Even if years from now we all look back at OUYA as a flash in the pan, it is going to have an effect on the console market, and likely the entire industry.

Luke Schneider
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As a developer of games that work best with a controller (mostly), I'm intrigued. A standard console-based platform that would (likely) work with Unity and has an iOS-like low barrier to entry sounds cool to me. I'm not quite ready to spend $700 for early access though.

Of all the approval processes I've dealt with, I actually prefer Apple's model for iOS over others (Steam, XBLA, XBLIG, etc), so I hope it's something similar to that (but maybe a bit more stringent to prevent rip-offs). Working with Desura has also been quite enjoyable and gives developers a high level of control over how games are presented and sold.

As for how games are featured and discoverable, that's an issue that no one has solved very well. Having a weekly featured section (similar to Apple) works ok as one part of the solution, but beyond that there should be more ways to recommend and find games.

Bob Johnson
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Well you can't exactly solve how thousands of games per year are discovered and featured. There are just too many games. Law of large numbers.

About all you can do is what Valve announced. They will look at games with the most votes from fans. And decide from that pool if the game gets on Steam. Or have a team play aaa many new games as they can and recommend the best of them. Websites already feature many of the better games.

Ultimately the real solution is to make a great game.

Lars Doucet
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I'd argue that Kongregate and Newgrounds has done a great job of solving the problem, at least in the browser space, and they deal in incredibly large numbers.

It is incredibly rare for a game to get uploaded to NG/Kong that the audience would enjoy, but not get attention. On the contrary, games are uploaded to the App Store every day that people on the platform would love, but have no chance of being discovered.

Bob Johnson
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@Lars

I hear ya. I checked out Kronegate when you mentioned it before.. It does a good job.

Still ultimately I don't see the problem here or complaint.

If you think you have a great game it would be fairly easy to get discovered. Send it to people. Send it to gaming sites. Blogs. Etc. etc.

This is how I discover games on iOS.. I hear about them from the internets and then check them out.

In the end though I only have so much time. If a thousand people make a great game during the year I won't play 90% of them even if i know about them. I think I am pretty average in that regard.

Mitchell Fujino
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Hmm. I need more info on this before I donate.
Or to put it in a joking/sadly apt way: how many times do they expect to get sued by patent trolls before their project collapses?

E Zachary Knight
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They are using off the shelf hardware that has a built in patent barrier. They only real area of patent threat is in the software side of things. I can expect Microsoft to want its cut since Microsoft seems to think it invented the Android OS. They might get s few other trolls coming out of the woodwork as well. So it is a wait and see situation.

TC Weidner
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Best of luck to them, Hardware is tough, to try introduce a new hardware platform and get market penetration and a foothold is a tall order. But hey I hope they prove the odds wrong.

Derek Reynolds
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Yeah, despite my earlier comment, it does sound like an interesting project, and it may be good to have an alternate console out on the market. I'd certainly develop for it.

Micah Betts
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This device is useless, it doesn't do anything you can't do with a Tegra 3 tablet or phone and an HDMI output.

Kyle Redd
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It has a dedicated controller. So right there it's theoretically better than any Tegra 3 tablet or phone.

George Blott
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Are their Tegra3 tablets that run at approx 100$?

Chuck Bartholomew
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OR... it does!

Matthew Mouras
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This article could be updated. The Kickstarter reward tier for a cheaper console was $95 and it looks like that has sold out already as of this morning.

E Zachary Knight
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Yeah, that sold out in a matter of hours. The $99 tier still has plenty left.

Frank Cifaldi
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Ah! Interesting, they raised the price. The material Ouya gave me yesterday showed only a $90 tier, they didn't even have a $99 option. Seems like the switched worked out well for them...

Matthew Mouras
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I see a popular new reward tier model coming to a Kickstarter near you this summer :)

Dave Smith
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seems like they are aiming too low. a $200 dollar machine capable of better games would make more sense for a home console. this just seems like a shovelware box.

Bob Johnson
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Exactly. Keep the same idea but do something with some more power. I m not too excited about a standard controller and a box in my living room that is as powerful as my phone.

Chuck Bartholomew
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Keep in mind that your phone has more power in it than the previous generation of game consoles. For a dedicated machine, that's still a lot of power.

Besides, as good as phone and tablet games are looking these days, throwing a game of that quality on a television screen and having a gamepad in your hand is definitely worth $99.

Paul Marzagalli
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Contributed at the $99 and looking forward to it. Deep in talks with my fellow team members (we're working on a KS-funded game) about buying in at the $699 level. Doing some more research.

As strictly a fan, though, I love the philosophy driving this and hope it works out.

k s
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It is my intention to support this as a gamer and a developer, I'm all for an open game console. I'd support mobile but I don't care for touch controls for most games and mobile doesn't really offer gamepad controls so this solves my problem.

k s
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I've already pledged my support and it's currently siting at $3.3 million in user support so people do want this.

Michael Rooney
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I'm curious how they are going to deal with hacking if hardware and software modding are openly supported by the platform.

I'm also curious how rooting doesn't void the warranty. Couldn't somebody just continuously brick their device and demand new hardware?

Joe Wreschnig
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"I'm curious how they are going to deal with hacking if hardware and software modding are openly supported by the platform."

Presumably the same way the PC world does it - don't invent shitty, insecure networking protocols. Console (and many iOS) games developers have been lazy about this for the entire generation.

Chuck Bartholomew
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Hacking and cheating are two separate things. Cheating can be minimized with good software engineering, for example a client-server model that only lets the client know about the game objects it needs to know about.

As for the hardware mods, there may be push-back if you send in your bricked console and its fried because you did something stupid to it.

Bruno Xavier
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Wonder if we say to the player on a tutorial: "Good Job! Now press O to continue..."
(All buttons are "O") rofl. Or tell a color-blind person: "Press the Blue O button..."

But well, once again, another platform. I wish them best of luck; They will need.

Matthew Mouras
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Ha! I didn't catch that from the prototype pics. It's the little things...

Bob Charone
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i think its supposed to be the colour of the whole button, to save money perhaps

Doug Poston
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I think that's just for the prototype. The mockup screens and other comments make me think the final buttons with be: 'O', 'U', 'Y', and 'A' (for some strange reason ;)).

Eric McVinney
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I'll call it right now.


Hello, Phantom. Where have you been? Oh what's that, where are you going?

Chris Melby
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The one thing this has going for it though, that the phantom did not, is actual components that can fit in a tiny space, that are already being mass produced.

Eric McVinney
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Still won't help it break the mold or that of which has already been established with PC and mobile games.

E Zachary Knight
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I think the fact that thousands of people actually want it is going to help it avoid the fate of the Phantom. That is the great thing about crowdfunding.

Kyle Redd
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Yeah, at this point I'd say the OUYA will come out, guaranteed. $1.5 million in a single day... maybe up to $10 million or so when it's all over. That's enough for them to make it to market. Whether it get's much further than that we'll have to see.

Good luck to them I say.

*edit* Make that $1.75 million in a day. Good lord...

*edit2* As of now they're pulling in about $3,000 every minute. The $99 "get a console" level is going to sell out sometime tomorrow.

Alan Rimkeit
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Make that $1,956,468....

EDIT: or maybe $2,006,976....

Doug Poston
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@Eric: My first thought was Phantom too but the specs for Ouya are reasonable, the people running the company (as far as I can tell) don't have a shady history, and they're backed by a multi-million dollar Kickstarter.

I may be wrong but, right now, I think there is a good chance people might actually have physical hardware in their homes by March 2013.

Mike Griffin
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> Holy Crap:

The Ouya is sitting at $560,000 in funding on Kickstarter at 2:30pm EST, rising at a pace of approximately $50,000 per hour. At this rate the Ouya project is likely to reach its funding goal within a day or two.

Looks like the limited run of $99 donation console packages will run out soon, or already.

In any case, it appears as though Ouya (or perhaps the M.O. of the Ouya) is being embraced by the masses at an incredible pace.

E McNeill
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Selling a few thousand consoles via a well-publicized Kickstarter is still a long way from market success.

Michael DeFazio
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as much as i love the philosophy behind it (as well as the philosophy of "peace on earth") unless this controller is "the next THING in the evolution in video games" i have a hard time with the business proposition.

basically this is a Nexus 7 tablet with
+ controller
+ HDMI out
+ new interface

- no screen
- no battery
- no sensors
- not "portable"

for developers, you have to give them a 30% cut... seriously? (apple might command that, but for a new kid in town, i don't think so). So the developer proposition is:
if you've got an android compatible game
1) mutate it to use a controller
2) make it free to play
3) pay Ouya 30% of whatever you charge (however you charge people)

...if the next iteration of googles tablet (nexus 7+) has HDMI out; this thing is toast. (there are already adequate external controllers available for android phones/tablets)

also, saying how easy this thing can be hacked might interest consumers (free stuff)... but it might also deter developers (piracy, no revenue).

if the controller is revolutionary, and you can make it affordable, kickstart that.

Gern Blanston
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@Michael DeFazio

"- no screen - no battery - no sensors - not "portable"

Yes, this is a non-portable home console with a touch-pad controller. Is it a minus for the PS3 to not have a screen or not be portable?

The whole tablet vs home console argument is already moot. The home console w/ controller is an entirely different beast, and captures a different part of the market. The iPad didn't kill the console, and the Nexus 7 won't kill the Ouya. The controller interface, along with many games/software unavailable on tablets will prove its value. And the Ouya is half the price of the tablet, as well. I would be this console before a tablet any day.

I'm not clear on your view of how piracy might ruin this hardware.

Michael DeFazio
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@turd
(like your name btw... norm mcdonald rules)

"Yes, this is a non-portable home console with a touch-pad controller. Is it a minus for the PS3 to not have a screen or not be portable?"

-- the CONSUMER value proposition they present is for people who want to consume android-game-like content on the tv. (from their marketing they show developers with android games and how great this content is on your tv) imho, they really aren't competing with xbox360 or ps3 for mindshare since the features and games they are pushing are android games/content. from a power/platform/ecosystem perspective the most apples to apples you can get is to compare it to android tablets (which share most of the low level components, content and eocsystem to some extent). the "hook" (as compared to a nexus 7) is the controller and HDMI out (and maybe the ecosystem, but that remains to be seen).

So as a consumer,
(assuming I don't already own an android compatible tablet)
I have to decide if buying a non portable android device with a controller is worth $99.

...if i already own a tablet...is the HDMI out and controller worth $99?

-- the DEVELOPER value proposition is that they provide and alternative to Android market and take the same 30% cut.

this is the problem as i see it:
"is the juice worth the squeeze?"... or
"how much time and energy am i going to have to put forth to move my wares to a new platform?"

if they took less of a cut (30%... i mean come on), perhaps i would be willing to look into it, but if they are saying (hey, do all this custom work to sell your wares here) they better have a large install base, or forget it.

BTW, I'll probably buy one so i can play my apps on my tv, but I dunno about trying to make money on the thing...

Neko Otome
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At it's size, it's still portable. I'll be able to take it to friends places quite easily. Think PSone/PStwo.

"- no sensors"

They're in the controller.

"basically this is a Nexus 7 tablet with"

Half the cost.

"So the developer proposition is:
if you've got an android compatible game
1) mutate it to use a controller
2) make it free to play
3) pay Ouya 30% of whatever you charge (however you charge people)"

Any dev worth their salt already supports a couple controllers
A demo is easy.
And google already takes 30%, this is no different.

"...if the next iteration of googles tablet (nexus 7+) has HDMI out; "

I would have bought nexus7 if it had HDMI out. But it doesn't.

John Byrd
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#goodluckwiththat

Camilo R
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I'm intrigued, I don't think this is going into the same market as PS3/360 as far as full-retail-priced games go, but given its openness it could provide something that the others don't.

Alan Rimkeit
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All I do know is that it has all ready hit 800G's in the time it has been up and has 29 days to go. That is not bad at all. I want one just to mess about with. It sound like fun and for gamers who want a piece of the dev action this is a perfect way in.

6,486
BACKERS
$807,143
PLEDGED OF $950,000 GOAL
29
DAYS TO GO

Chuck Bartholomew
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Updating the numbers as of now, with 26 days to go:

Backers: 34,410
Pledged: $4,387,004

Not counting the 2,000 backers in the two lower tiers, that's 32,000 consoles in four days.

matt klinck
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with developers being able to name their own price with their games i can definitely see the draw. the big three hold you to the price they say your game should sell for and that just doesnt work for everyone, of course then you can seek out to sell on steam but their process is just as rough as the others, if this thing is as open as they say it will help a lot of new devs get into a market with a real controller and doesnt have all the red tape

Alan Rimkeit
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ROFL! They just added more consoles at the $99 level! There are now 10,00 available. Damn, if there are some left this Friday when I get paid I am SO buying one!

They also just hit 850G's. That is some fast cash.

Also, some one on Kickstarter commented on the controller buttons. They are just circles that are colored. What about color blind people? They made a good suggestion that they buttons could spell out the consoles name. O, U, Y, A. That would be sweet!

Bryce Walton
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In the video (0:27), the button labels at the bottom of the screen are O, U, and A, so I think they already have that planned.

Alan Rimkeit
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Which vid was that? In the Kickstarter page vid they have only circles on the controller.

Steven Stadnicki
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(As a heads-up: you realize that Kickstarter doesn't actually take money from you until the project's funding period expires, yes? 'Buying in' now shouldn't cost you anything as long as you have the money in your account somewhere before the expiry...)

Alan Rimkeit
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@Steven Stadnicki - Huh, my brain must not be working correctly today. Forget how Kickstarter works. That is true. Pledging now. Thanks for setting my brain straight. Derp...LOL

Bryce Walton
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The Kickstarter video shows a home screen for the console with button icons at the bottom 27 seconds in: "[O] EXTRAS [U] SEARCH [A] PLAY"

E Zachary Knight
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Alan,

The part of the video Bryce is referring to is a shot of the GUI with the options at the bottom of the screen labelled with the button color and letter on the button. That just hasn't been reflected on prototypes of the controller yet, my guess anyway.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Zach/Bryce - Oh. I did not see that. I see, it is the UI then. Cool. I hope that they make it an official design feature of the controller as many people all over the net are asking about the circle only design as see it as a hurdle to color blind gamers. I am sure that the Ouya people have it under consideration.

Bruno Xavier
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This is the first console Im interested on in ten+ years... I want to take a close look at it.

Alan Rimkeit
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I also want to know more about the SDK.

"The SDK is free

A big push of the Ouya is in how "open" the unit is. To that extent, we're told an SDK will be included with every unit. Additionally, much like modern phones, every Ouya box also functions as a debug unit for testing."

How will this work? Do we really just need the console? How will the process work? I know the graphics and such will have to made on a PC or Mac, and the programming as well. But the builds of the games being developed can be tested and de-bugged on the actual console. Am I right?

Also, will this work with Unity? Unity works with Android right? So there for Unity must work with the Ouya. Am I wrong? EDIT: Yep, Android is supported by Unity. Sweet.

E Zachary Knight
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I would assume that development functions pretty much the same as a console or mobile phone. You do the development on a computer, then run your builds on the console to test it.

As for Unity, I would assume that support would be built in as Unity support Android (you do have to pay extra to get that support). It may require some tweaks as this isn't a phone, but it would ultimately end up in the hands of the Unity Devs to support it fully.

Alan Rimkeit
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@E Zachary Knight - Thanks for the reply. So then the SDK is built in the Ouya then, right? This is all very exciting.

E Zachary Knight
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Not sure how they plan on delivering the SDK to purchasers of the console, but however it is done, it will most likely be simple enough.

Also, just read in the FAQs that Unity is a launch partner, which means Unity support from the get go.

Alan Rimkeit
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Yeah, saw that and downloaded Unity. Pretty cool stuff. I guess it is a wait and see thing with the SDK. I am actually way more interested in the Ouya as a development platform than as a gaming console. Not that playing games on it wont be fun, but the open"anyone can develop" attitude is very refreshing to say the least.

Neko Otome
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The SDK works exactly like Android.
Plug it into your PC via a USB cable, enable Debug mode in settings, and it's now a debug unit.
You press Play in your IDE, it compiles the app, sends it to the unit, it runs it.
It's VERY convenient compared to how I developed for PSP.

Christopher Totten
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I'm intrigued by this. As Mr. Bogost said above, this could either have the best or worst of both worlds in terms of control and how the market will play out. On the App Store, once a high quality game leaves the "featured" page (if it gets there at all) it's lost in the sea of junk unless you find its specific search terms. On the other hand, this is a very exciting prospect for studios launching Android games. It seems that a lot of devs are excited, but I guess we'll see how gamers react...

Mike Griffin
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I'd be pleased to see open controller compatibility on Ouya via the USB jack and Bluetooth, like keyboards/mice/arcade sticks/headsets/headtrackers/zappers, or even third-party controllers with accelerometers.
... heck, even MIDI devices.

Alan Rimkeit
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From the Kickstarter page:

"Hackers welcome.

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!"

So yeah, use a keyboard if you want. It is open like a grass field to play in!

Alan Rimkeit
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7,631
BACKERS
$950,253
PLEDGED OF $950,000 GOAL

Goal made. That was FAST.

EDIT: 1 mils pledged. Goal epicly crushed. I wonder how much more they will be pledged in the next 29 days?

Now at $1,501,965 and counting. Some are saying that they are going to break 50 mils if the momentum keeps going.

Brian Tsukerman
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How will this system deal with Android Apps that function as emulators for older consoles and such? I can't imagine that Sony or Nintendo would sit idly by while people play old SNES and PSX roms on an open-source console.

But at a price point of under $100, I can easily see this system pulling a Wii. Even more so if it can utilize services like OnLive or Steam.

Bruno Xavier
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As they say, their store will be curated.
I assume that means it wont be like Google Play.

Alan Rimkeit
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Yeah, but the system is made to be hacked. There are so many people on Ars Technica and Engadget that are going to put emulators on the Ouya with in 2.5 milliseconds of getting their hands on the console. This will be the most ultimate emulator console ever.

This should actually be the official console of the Electronic Freedom Foundation! LOL

Bruno Xavier
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Man, if they do things right; It's going to be a historic accomplishment.
Ffs! I wish they make 1kk+ a day.

Jane Castle
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At 99$ a console how do they make money on this thing. I guess they are following the same model as the traditional players and selling the hardware at a loss.

Joe Wreschnig
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Google's selling the Nexus 7 for $200 right now, for a profit but not much of one. This is that, less the screen and fancy case, plus controller, and most importantly nine months in the future.

$100 sounds like a reasonable break-even target price to me. If they miss it, it'll probably be just barely.

Tony Downey
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They are also taking 30% of all in-game or for-game transactions.

Jane Castle
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@joe well this console also comes with a fancy case and the controller is not as cheap as you think it is. So I think they will sell for a loss. I have some experience with building hardware and unless you are producing 100s of thousands of pieces it is VERY HARD to obtain lower costs.

This is from my experience in creating an I\O board, unless you build in very large quantities forget it, you will not get decent pricing.

I am with Tony, they will make their money back from the software sales.

Gern Blanston
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I know nothing about how to develop a game, nor have I ever been interested in doing so. But after hearing about this console, I'm interested in learning how to develop for the first time in my life. The proposal by the creators of the Ouya gives an 'anyone can do it' feel to the hardware. If things really are being designed to be so approachable, would I give $.30 to the $1.00 for the freedom do make whatever game I want and price it accordingly? Absolutely, and I think that this could very well be the most important gaming platform this century.

Neko Otome
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I recommend buying Basic4Android. It's very easy to learn

Mike Griffin
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I'd venture to say Unity is the ideal development platform to get a head start on things with Ouya-focused Android titles, or if one's goals and resources are healthier, UE3 has matured nicely on the platform.

Both offer strong Tegra3 support and optimization.

Games like Demons' Score, Dead Trigger, Bounty Arms, and Heroes Call are fairly indicative of what the Tegra3 can get away with at the high end. Sonic 4 Ep.II is pretty on Tegra as well.

Alan Rimkeit
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Just downloaded Unity. Interface looks a lot like messing around with the Source and Unreal engines. Cool stuff indeed.

Mike Griffin
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When folks criticize development or gaming on Android, the most frequent complaint is usually:

"There are so many different Android device specifications out there, so what's my target device and can X game be played on Y device?"

Sometimes followed by: "Screw it, let's get the game on iOS."

This little box offers a 'Standard Spec' for Android developers and users to target, for the first time.

A unified and predictable hardware feature set for games on Android, similar to what iOS developers experience through Apple's closed hardware standards.

Ouya offers a standardized hardware spec to hit for Android games, but within an unconstrained development environment.

Presumably NVIDIA is on board as an investor/partner, since the Ouya could become one of its Tegra-equipped champions if it builds momentum and permeates the mainstream.

Alan Rimkeit
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"Ouya offers a standardized hardware spec to hit for Android games, but within an unconstrained development environment."

This is what gets me pumped about the Ouya. This is going to be very cool.

Jeremy Reaban
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This is really where I felt Sony could have led with the Vita and their Playstation Suite (now Mobile). But not surprisingly, they've managed to drop the ball with it.

Kevin Reilly
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I wish OUYA and the developers they selected for launch the best of luck. In the meantime gamers (people who actually make the market attractive to developers) will continue to play the indie games featured on the video on their iPhones or PC/Mac browser. Honestly their pitch is to developers and home brewers, not the consumer who wants to play Gears of War or Mario. How far will they get without mainstream marketing and distribution?

Alan Rimkeit
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The Ouya is not about people who only want to play GoW or Mario. This is about the Meat Boy and Minecraft fans who love the idea of a truly and honestly open game platform. No one will ever tell them they can't hack the box because the box is designed to be hacked. Game devs will love it because there are no fees up front. It does not matter if this "beats" the Sony's or the Nintendo's or the Microsoft's. It is not supposed to. This just creates a new game field in which to be creative that is open and free to be expressive.

As for IPhone it does not have a controller. Not only that but the Ouya has a touch screen on the controller. Bad ass. And for Mac/PC's that is all good, Ouya and that market place can co-exist together with no issues at all IMHO. Giving consumers more options at an inexpressive cost is great. Offering these options to budding future game developers is just epic and awesome. New blood to keep the game development community alive and healthy, right?

Kevin Reilly
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@ Alan, the point you seem to be missing is that all those factors don't mean the games will make money. True Apple is over-crowded and Sony/MSFT are semi-closed gardens, but they have players willing to pay money to buy games. Yes, new entrants is great for the community of developers but right now all OUYA has is a successful kickstarter campaign and a lot of hype based on speculation about its capabilities. Just ask Google or Hi-5 how their social gaming networks are doing.

Last time I checked it still costs money to get a pro developer to sit down and make a game. So if there are no gamers to play those games to recoup the cost of development, then who is going to waste their time developing for it besides hobbyists and newbies? Also they tend to ignore who will be curating the content, which after a few crappy games people will be returning this thing and asking for refunds. Not a good business model for anybody if you ask me.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Kevin Reilly - From the Kickstarter page it seems like quite a few pro devs are interested in at least giving it a go. And as for those hobbyists and newbies, who knows if the next big name in games is somewhere in that crowd? I just have hope and a will to take advantage of what is happening. It looks cool to me and I am not the only one. I also think movements like this are great for the console market as a whole.

Kenneth Blaney
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Hmm... will this be the first Android device without a touch screen? I have a half of a library of Android books which all mention that touch screen is an assumption on every Android device and so you don't need to check if it exists the way you would with a front facing camera, GPS, Bluetooth, keyboard, etc. Maybe this is just too simple a concern and it is already covered, but if not pretty much every game not designed specifically for the Ouya will crash instantly... so no pre-existing game library to help spur the launch.

My major hope here is that Epic looks at this device and says, "Yeah, UDK will work well on that," so they start supporting Android.

Alan Rimkeit
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The controller has the touch screen. :)

Kyle Redd
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So... Alan, you're kind of pumped about this OUYA console, huh?

Alan Rimkeit
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Yes, for potential small time devs like me this is a great opportunity to make console games with a much lower bar of entry. Will I get rich or some such like that? Most likely not. But it will be fun trying to make games on it.

I wanted to get into Android/iOS games but was always put off by the lack of a traditional controller. Getting into the PSN or XBL is more cost prohibitive from what I have read. This offers a good place to start for a million aspiring game maker like me and my friends.

Amir Sharar
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Alan Rimkeit said: "Getting into the PSN or XBL is more cost prohibitive from what I have read."

It only costs $99 for a year's subscription to make Indie games, and $60 for Live.

You make the game in XNA with a free version of Visual C#.

You keep 70% of revenues.

It's not cost prohibitive at all.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Amir Sharar - I stand corrected.

E Zachary Knight
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Amir,

But with XBLIG you suffer severe discoverability problems (something that has been somewhat rectified, but is nowhere near that of other platforms)

Kenneth Blaney
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Good to hear about the touch screen. At least stuff won't break.

It isn't a console directly speaking, but Sony has a program similar to XBLIG for the Vita currently in beta. http://www.playstation.com/psm/developer/index_e.html There are more and more options for bedroom programmers to get their games working on previously assumed to be closed.

Neko Otome
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To me, $99 a year is prohibitive.
Google Play cost me $25, period.

Darcy Nelson
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I feel like such a dork. The system is called OUYA... the four buttons are O, U, Y and A. I am going to retire my brain now.

Eric McVinney
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Ok, NOW I'm interested since it has already gotten past the goal mark :P

Marcus Feital
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One thing that I did not find answer for (or I might not have looked hard enough), but will you be able to root it in some way that you can run a side store from the official one and, lets say, that one only take 5% from devs that publish on it? Or charges nothing at all?

E Zachary Knight
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All the consoles are rootable. Meaning they will be able to install software from anywhere. So if you can make a successful OUYA store with a lower take, then by all means.

Marcus Feital
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My question was not much if it will be doable, but if it will be legally allowed. Reading their interview at Kotaku it seems that once rooted you will lose the dashboard and access to their store, but nothing more. So, could Sony took their PS store for android and dump it inside a rooted device? I don't think that Sony would be the one to do that, just a android-enabled example, but it can open up the possibilities, and make a return on investment based on software sales a little harder.

Amir Sharar
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I'm not too excited about the business model. For one, I'm not sure what they are going for here. They have clearly targeted the developer market. They didn't speak much about communicating their vision to the general public, or hint at the level of interest the general public would have in this product. Sure, glossing over these details makes sense when your goal is to get money from developers, but when speaking to an experienced investor, things like a plan are important.

They didn't mention how they plan to get this product to consumers. Will these be sold exclusively online? With game purchases being made online, there isn't much incentive for retailers to stock the console. With the Wii U coming out this Fall, we'll have 6 gaming machines (4 consoles, 2 handhelds) cluttering shelves. The Kindle did well for an online only product, so it's not a gamebreaker, but it would be nice to know what the plan is.

How different is it from Xbox Live Indie Games, apart from game visibility and marketing? By next March the 360 Arcade could be at a comparable price point. All it takes is a more focused effort from MS (which, I'll admit, is not in their DNA) to render the OUYA largely redundant. Yes, there are constraints with XBLIG, but looking at the most popular Android and iPhone titles out there, those constraints wouldn't have prevented those experiences from being created on the XBLIG platform.

What experiences will move the console? Angry Birds didn't sell iPhones. The experience of the iPhone (and Android smartphones) encompasses the ability to surf the web, make calls, organize your life, take notes, social networking, etc. and the value proposition to customers was apparent. When people had this platform, it made sense to purchase software relevant to their interests including games. Will there be an experience on the OUYA that will push the console to skeptics? Is there even a hint of a system seller? It seems that most people here are attracted to an "open console" but that is a value proposition most of the general public do not understand.

There is some potential in this machine being a competent streaming media box. A $99 Netflix box perhaps. But in terms of gaming, you really have to ask yourself what this offers that other machines don't. How "open" do we need our machines to be? How restrictive is Steam (which will likely have its own hardware platform), XBLIG, etc. (both established platforms with millions of users) to the point where those look like platforms that Indies should stay away from?

Look at Dust: an Elysian Tale. It was made by an artist who knew little about programming. He made it on XBLIG because it cost next to nothing to make games for that platform. If people truly want to make Indie Games to play on a TV, we'd be seeing that platform be far more active than it is.

If it boils down to having these experiences on a TV, then it makes more sense to design a "standard" Android controller. Most new Android devices (both phones and tablets) support HDMI out to TVs. There have been over 400 million Android devices sold, let's say 1/8 that can be hooked up to a TV. That userbase is 50 million more than what OUYA has. While I understand the appeal of a standardized set of hardware, the fact is that the hardware will become outdated in a year's time. My new Android phone purchased in 2014 may eclipse this machine.

Maybe I should open up MS Paint, design a BlueTooth controller specifically for Android phones and tablets, and start up a KickStarter project..."Use this controller for all your Android devices!"..."Android developers from all over will make their games compatible with this controller!"..."No need to buy a console, you already own it! Just hook up your phone/tablet to your TV!"..."Forget about licensing fees, retail fees, and publishing fees!".

While this post may read as overly negative, I do want to mention a big positive that it has going for it. While there may be other great alternatives for Indies to publish games to a console, while there may be other Android gaming devices (PS Vita), and while this concept may not be exactly new or novel (Android game development has existed for the past few years), the manner in which this is packaged and presented can be the most important thing. We all know the iPod wasn't the first portable MP3 player out there. It wasn't exactly groundbreaking or new. But it was packaged and presented in a manner that led to wild success. The OUYA can be something like that. If the excitement from developers can trickle down to the gaming market (or maybe even the mass market), they'll have a winner on their hands.

Michael DeFazio
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+1 good analysis... i see the "hot new gadget" appeal, and as a developer i like the idea of having a controller, (and i want to get it to hack it)

from the consumer side: i wonder how many people are in my camp (just want to buy it to hack around with it) -vs- potential "paying customers". this machine has "mame / old school console emulation written all over it".

from the developer side: what engines (unity, etc.) are going to support this platform? how easy/hard is it going to be to upgrade/manage my uploaded apps on this thing... how easy to use is the marketplace, how does app "promotion/marketing" happening? (geez that's just the tip of the iceburg, so many questions...)

being a cynic by nature, i got the feeling people are willfully looking at this device through "rose colored glasses", i'll wait and see what is actually delivered a year from now...

Nuttachai Tipprasert
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I had the same opinion as yours when I first read this news. The major problem of this business model is, it didn't answer who's the actual target audience for this platform. From consumer point of view, it doesn't matter if the platform is opened or closed, they only care about what games the platform will offer to them. Million of people (including me) already owned Android devices, why do they need to buy another one just for playing games? Maybe it's controller -- most of the games on Android are optimized for touch interface, why do they need controller? Maybe it's TV output capability -- you don't need high resolution or 3D ready TV just for playing Angry Bird, right? The open nature of the platform only benefits developers not consumers. While most of the developers may see this system as the next big thing, I don't think consumers would agree with them.

Michael Rooney
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There are a couple developer concerns too that weren't answered (why I didn't back it).

- How big is the split on games released on their market?
- How controlling are they going to be with the market? How strict/numerous are their TCRs going to be (Strictly enforcing minimum quality is better imo)?
- Is there a size limitation on games if there's only 8GB internal flash memory?
- General lack of information on how they're going to help game visibility/store layout etc.

Matthew Mouras
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Good analysis. Agreed with most of your points. The only one I have a contention with is the assertion that Dean Dodrill of Dust: An Elysian Tale "knew little about programming". I've read some his statements regarding the development of the game. He was a skilled hobbyist before he began working with XNA. Now I'd say he vastly outclasses many of the programmers working on deploying to XBLIG.

Joe Wreschnig
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"Is there a size limitation on games if there's only 8GB internal flash memory?"

If their SDK is a proper Android SDK, there's a 4GB size limit (there are ways to work around that but you lose a lot of niceties).

8GB seems very small to me. I was surprised to see it in the Nexus 7 and this seems like it would have far greater storage requirements since the argument for 8GB in the Nexus is that you'll stream most of your music/movies from Play.

Amir Sharar
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Micheal Rooney said: "He [Dean Dodrill] was a skilled hobbyist before he began working with XNA. Now I'd say he vastly outclasses many of the programmers working on deploying to XBLIG."

From what I've read from his posts on the older XNA Community forums is that creating a console videogame from scratch was a new experience for him. My words didn't portray that correctly, so I think you're correction is warranted.

He is certainly a multi-talented guy who has a work ethic I admire. His end product demonstrates exceptional ability in all areas, from programming, to animation (which is what his background was, from what I recall), to game design.

Michael Rooney
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@Amir: That was Matthew not me :)

Nou Phabmixay
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I'm excited just for the controller. It's going to be great fun using it on something else, like a Nexus 7!

Joe Wreschnig
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Well, to quote their Kotaku interview,

"Obviously if a hacker roots the device, our integrated user experience and game store will no longer be available while the device is rooted — so there is, as always, a tradeoff between customizing your device and enjoying the benefits of standardization. We expect the true hackers to be an elite, but small proportion of the total number of people who buy the box. Most people will probably just use the standard setup."

Which means this thing is about as "open" as an iPhone. Except with a more restrictive store.

(I also have no idea why that's "Obviously" - I've rooted my iPhone and my Android phone and both still have access to their respective markets. PCs are by definition rooted and still have access to Steam.)

Bob Johnson
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Open. Bah. The public barely can handle today's consoles. The talk about rooting the console ....well it was meant to stir up $99 donations from that crowd.

Thibault Coupart
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"the interest of this product is clearly for developpers", "what about the audience??"

Yeah sure but... developpers are creating contents... and contents attract people (= audience). So it sounds like a beneficial loop, isn't it?...

... actually the kind of loop that has been lost on console market since the first playstation, but it's just my opinion.

As already said, the way the box is presented is the bullet point. I guess everybody here can't avoid hearing the rope which is vibrating inside when looking at the ad tv show of the product on kick starter.

Success or not, this is a good thing.

GameViewPoint Developer
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Unless I'm missing something what on earth is the point of this? Everyone is talking about the death of consoles for good reason, all content is soon going to be delivered via "start" TV's, add to that next year will probably see new consoles from Sony and Microsoft, so this is not going to be competing at the high end of the market. If it's aiming at smaller games, well devs will be developing these mostly for phones and tablets, and mostly for iOS.

Many years back I liked the idea of bringing a new console to market, it seemed there was space for such a device, but things have changed so much over the recent years that it's not needed anymore.

Having said all that, congratulations on raising the funds, and I wish them well in their endeavours, but you can't help feel that there really is projects that could shake things up and give developers something special to work with that could do with $1.5 mil, but I'm not sure this is one of them.

Nooh Ha
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Odds on this being the first high profile, high fund-raise Kickstarter failure?

Carl Chavez
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So, I wake up this morning and see that all 200 of the early-SDK pledges are sold out, plus 83 of the higher-level pledges. That means there will be at least 283 dev kits in use if the campaign stopped right now.

I can't think of any other console that had that many potential launch titles or that number of enthusiastic developers willing to make games for the launch. Even if only 20% of those developers had a title ready by launch, the Ouya's launch would have the largest launch library ever seen! (50+ titles) Considering the ease and relatively low cost of developing or porting a mobile Android app to Ouya, I think the number of launch titles may be considerably higher.

Bruno Xavier
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I am waiting on december to have my hands on it and start porting stuff ;)
OUYA is the thingy I was waiting to happen, Im tired of the state of Apple Store and Google Play and REALLY hope the shovelware makers stay where they are now, so I can just smoothly move away from them.

Some people here are saying it is going to fail because its a product for developers and not for the audience. I dont get it. The pladges for developers are still open in most options and almost every pledge comes from end users who just want to play the games.
They want it because it is cheap like phone games while playable on their TVs. Simple.
I am always skeptic about platforms, I tend to hate new platforms... But I am not fool enough to close my eyes trying not to see the rise of this thing.
Of course it is a risk to jump in as developer so early, but what isnt nowadays?!

Holden Link
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If you're comparing it to other consoles, you should also consider that most developers order as large a number of early SDKs as they can get their hands on. 200 early SDK sales could mean as many as 200 or as few as 20 developers. Those sales weren't restricted to developers either - they could easily just be enthusiasts who wanted to get their hands on it early.

If you want a more useful comparison, look at the XBLIG service launch - there were about 70 titles available in the launch window for Xbox Live Community Games when the install base for the Xbox 360 was well over 20 million, and anyone had access to make a game.

tl;dr Sales of the developer-level Kickstarter rewards are not a useful metric for determining developer support of the platform.

Joe Wreschnig
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"If you want a more useful comparison, look at the XBLIG service launch - there were about 70 titles available in the launch window for Xbox Live Community Games when the install base for the Xbox 360 was well over 20 million, and anyone had access to make a game."

If you look at the iPhone App Store at launch you have hundreds of apps at launch, probably well over 100 games. If you extend the "launch window" a couple months later, there's *thousands*. I believe there were about 10 million iPhones in the wild at that time.

So with 70 titles for 20 million users; thousands of titles for 10 million users. It's too big a variance to predict anything about the Ouya launch without more points of comparison.

Thibault Coupart
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not that far from 3 millions now... oh my god :)

Alan Rimkeit
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$3,089,060!! :D

Caleb Garner
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I'm just not fond of paying $99 and then waiting till they finish the product.. what if they fail to deliver something? no accountability. Did they offer a launch date or is it more of a "when its done" approach?

I'll take my chances and buy the console when it's completed. I doubt the final product will cost much more than $99 and i get to keep my money till they finish. i'm rooting for them though.

Joe Wreschnig
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There's some legitimate concern if you're a dev and you want your game on the service near-launch *and* expect them to be supply limited.

Otherwise yeah, as a player I don't see the point in paying $100 now and getting the console next March, when I could just pay $100 next March and get the console next March.

Nooh Ha
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This is my concern; I think this is a hugely risky project.
For a start, there is a major Cost of Goods question here, in particular for the 81,000 potential $95/$99 consoles they are committing to provide. This is a new company with no manufacturing experience and no manufacturing scale assembling and shipping for free (in the US) a relatively sophisticated consumer electronics device. Compared to a typical Kickstarter software project Ouya's fulfillment costs are going to be a really significant proportion of its funds raised. I think the COGs will be higher than $95 and when you add in the amortised R&D, the loss per unit could well be substantial. Given the additional costs of distribution, marketing and sales it is going to be a challenge for them to do much without raising additional finance IMO.

Joe Wreschnig
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"Compared to a typical Kickstarter software project Ouya's fulfillment costs are going to be a really significant proportion of its funds raised."

Yeah but compared to a typical Kickstarter design project this looks pretty standard. The price is low and the company is new, but it's also staffed with people who have delivered plenty of real physical products in the past, and the physical product is 80% a Nexus 7 in a new case. I would be very surprised if this thing fails to deliver its initial goals. (Presumably their 20k unit limit is based on some real logistical analysis!)

I'd be a lot more worried about six months later. Can they keep the pipeline going? Can they really get games out for it? Or is it just going to be tens of thousands of boxes rooted to run emulators and a shipment schedule that looks like RPi but without any noble goals?

Alan Rimkeit
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@Joe - Actually they have increased the $99 entry pledges up to 80,000.

Joe Wreschnig
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I cited that number from memory so hopefully I just misremembered. Otherwise... uh.. hopefully that 80k is based on real logistical analysis?

Jean-Michel Vilain
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All I hope is that all this will enlighten SONY, Nintendo and Microsoft.

Neko Otome
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Well Sony already has something similar for PS Vita and their Android devices (PS Mobile)

Armando Marini
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I don't fully understand the allure yet. How will it be less expensive to develop for it? If it's a console, it needs to have console quality content. The expense of that is not in the dev kits, it's in the manpower needed to produce the content and the cost of marketing the game.

Its sounds like a great business for Ouya (Take 30% from everyone making any money on the console) but for independent developers to float a full console team on their own sounds daunting to me. They'll still need publishers. Maybe publishers from the far east could be coaxed into a deal or something.

Sascha Tausend
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Head over to the inofficial OUYA forums @ http://www.my-ouya.com and participate in the discussions. We are looking forward to see you.

Christopher Totten
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3.2 million and counting.

Assuming that in March (or December for some), we will be receiving the Ouya box in the mail (I backed it), there are a few things I think they need to do to really take off:

1. Make good on getting the developers they're showing in their Kickstarter page: Some of the devs contacted after the page went up expressed a "we're curious but we'll see how it goes" feeling towards the device. Clearly they're already playing Mad Finger's games on it, so who else of those quoted devs can they get? If they make good on this promise it could be a nice win for them. You've hyped Minecraft...now get Mojang to commit.

2. Have developers signing on with previously released mobile content give a reason to download the game on the Oyua: Okay so I can play Shadowgun on my tv...that's pretty cool (similarities to Gears of War nonwithstanding.) However, it may not be enough for some. Companies porting anything from mobile should pay extra special attention to the Ouya version or offer a somehow transformed play experience through extra content, updated visuals, or other things.

3. Have a killer app: This thing needs its Super Mario Bros.: a game that comes installed on every box from day 1 that shows off what this thing is capable of. Somehow get an exciting, unique, and exclusive experience for the device and make people want it.

4. Try to get other apps: According to the FAQ on the Kickstarter page, this thing can utilize other Android Apps. The Ouya team needs to maximize this by offering other entertainment experiences. Twitch.TV is interesting, but will a wider audience want to watch other people play Starcraft? This thing needs Netflix, Hulu, and all the other things available on other consoles. Is there an app for that? Yes? Cool, get it on the Ouya.

5. Open platform? Give the layman the tools to make their own games and post them to a network: This is a wish list item. If companies like Unity are apparently signed partners to this thing, there should be some game making tools that the layman can enjoy along with us devs. Make a Little Big Planet style tool set part of your console and give people a place to post their results. Devs are excited that they can play and launch games on this console without the hoops of the big three, so why not let the public get in on the action?

To cut down on how cluttered the Ouya's online store will most likely be with small devs posting content, maybe have user games posted to a separate area of the device. If some of these efforts prove to be really well made, then perhaps offer a voting or approval system (complete with contracts and paperwork and the like) for getting the game into the larger market.

Leon T
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Sometimes it pays to learn from history. An opened console lead to the home console market crashing back before the NES was introduced. That's one of the reasons why consoles are closed systems today. It might work better with a digital game only console though.

The problem with this device is that it is not needed in any sense. Existing and soon to launch ( Wii U) consoles can already have these digital games ported to them. If people want another device in the home to play those games on they can choose from the newer TVs, Blu Ray players, or cheap roku like device to play them.

Oh and the failure of the psp go also leads me to think that home console owners would reject a digital only box in a similar manner.

Jeremy Reaban
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I think this has already sold more than the PSPGo...

Leon T
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Maybe, but it can still fail in the same manner as in not appealing to a large enough audience.

Quang Kim
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This is amazing, just some thoughts:

- They need to do this well: "convenient", the same reason with CloudGaming : Why we are listening to low quality Mp3, watching low res youtube movie, playing low quality game on mobile...

- So If this box is not mobile, my content is not in the cloud this will be failed very soon. I don't see people will have an Xbox + this, the console is just one time invest why should I go for this and miss all the better games.

- The controller, the openess, the free SDK, free to play... Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo can do that too...If they want...Why not?

E Zachary Knight
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" The controller, the openess, the free SDK, free to play... Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo can do that too...If they want...Why not?"

Why won't Microsoft, Sony and nintendo follow through with an open development and distribution platform? Because they like control. They want to control everything from who develops to what is released when where and for how much. They don't want to cede that control to anyone else.

As for quality, that is in the eye of the beholder. Hundreds of thousands of people buy the Humble Indie Bundle each time, not because the games are from the biggest AAA developers. They buy them because they are quality indie games that provide a different experience than can be found on major consoles. That is why people will buy this console and the games for it.

Don't see why the lack of cloud storage will make it fail. No consoles have it yet and they are still around.

Neko Otome
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"Why won't Microsoft, Sony and nintendo follow through with an open development and distribution platform?"

Sony did. See PS Mobile.

Mike Griffin
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I just need it to support SD card storage up to at least 32 GB, and/or include a board that can handle a USB multi-card reader/adapter. Presumably it does that.

John Byrd
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Personally, I feel that this Kickstarter is being funded by a lot of people who don't understand how new game consoles are developed, advertised, and sold at retail. I know of GP32X, Phantom, 3DO, and a raft of other under NDA "open source" game console designs that were developed under this business model. I know of zero consoles that have been profitable under this business model.

The bloom is still on the Kickstarter rose for the moment. But eventually, I'm afraid that about eighty thousand young guys are going to be pissed because they don't have the game console they were promised.

So many young people are coming into the game industry right now. In many ways that's good, but it means that we can't remember our own history, so I suppose we're doomed to repeat it from time to time.

Mike Griffin
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True history of game hardware flops, but none of them were based on an open source platform with an existing OS installed base of 250 million users globally, growing by close to a million per day. To compare 3DO, Phantom and GP32X -- including the eras in which they attempted to prosper -- to the Ouya, is impossible.

Being an Android-based device already guarantees hundreds of millions of existing users and potentially informed Ouya buyers, and a very mature development pipeline with high caliber mainstream tools support (Unity, Unreal). Ultimately a great deal of the "fear of the unknown" associated with previous open console flops can be mitigated.

Leon T
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Being Android base doesn't guarantee it anything. It doesn't even guarantee that it will get ports of the most popular Android games.

This is a console though so geting ports of tablet and smartphone games is only a small issue. The real question is same for any console hoping to succeed. What is the killer app that is going to sell it?

Neko Otome
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"Being Android base doesn't guarantee it anything"

It does actually. Even it has absolutely zero developer support.
I can root it and use it how I want, and it's already more useful than an AppleTV

Chuck Bartholomew
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I hear what John is saying about failed consoles. Fair enough. But I can plug an OUYA into my computer, fire up Unity, and crank out a game with no additional investment beyond the $99 for the console and my own spare time. For me, at least, even if the console doesn't take off and become the next revolution in indie game development, at least for me this console is still worth $99.


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