OUYA is the hot item du jour on Kickstarter. This $99 Android-based game console has raised $2 million in its first day, blowing past the initial $950,000 goal within a record-breaking 12 hours, and is fast approaching $3 million in its second day. They still have 28 days left! OUYA creators seem to be just as shocked by this achievement as we are. They are asking backers for "stretch goals" ideas - suggestions on what to do with all that extra money. Users are asking for more features and faster chipsets, as you'd expect they would.
I like the idea of a cheap game console with easy-to-publish platform for 3rd party developers, but I wonder how useful this console will be in a few years. OUYA is set to be spec'd with a Tegra 3 quad-core processor and 1GB RAM, both of which are slightly dated already - and OUYA isn't shipping till March 2013. Mobile chipset companies innovate at a cutthroat pace. For instance, top-end chipsets from 2 years ago, such as the 1GHz Snapdragon processor, are found on entry-level smartphones now. In 2 years, OUYA will not be able to run the latest Android games.
Also, OUYA will likely introduce a new type of fragmentation to Android. Will existing touch-friendly games work seamlessly with button-based controllers? Will games developed for OUYA work on touch-based devices? Games that are designed specifically for physical controllers tend to feel awkward on touch devices, and vice versa. OUYA's success may entice game developers to make more games for Android, but those games will be targeted at OUYA with physical controllers. Touch-based Android tablets and smartphones will be left in the cold, or will get subpar ports designed for touch. In this sense, OUYA is another forked version of Android, no different from the Kindle Fire. Stratification of Android is not healthy for the platform as a whole.
But then again, this thing is only $99 on Kickstarter. Maybe I'm asking too much from this. You can support OUYA at the source link below.
Source: OUYA (Kickstarter)