OUYA: A New, Fully Open-Source Game Console

OUYA has been all the buzz lately – a Kickstarter project that offers a new kind of video game console running on Android 4.0, with an integrated game store and custom TV UI. Funding for this open source platform began on July 10. Kickstarter set a $950,000 funding goal and the campaign had already received eight times this amount before the funding period was over.

What Makes OUYA Unique?

OUYA is different from the game consoles on the market because it welcomes users to root the device – and promises they can do so without voiding the warranty. Everything opens with standard screws and hardware hackers can create their own peripherals and connect via USB or Bluetooth LE 4.0. The console will be powered by Android 4.0, and an SDK will be available to ease the creation of new games and apps. For the first time, players will have full power over the machine – not just the OS.

Other Features OUYA Offers

  • Tegra3 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 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
  • ETHERNET! (Announced by Muffi 7/18)

The 2.4 Ghz RF wireless controller offers standard game controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons and a system button), but OUYA takes open-source to a new level and allows gamers to expand their controller options with the addition of a USB 2.0 port. Players with the drive and know-how can root the system and repurpose their favorite controllers from other consoles.

What Are The Drawbacks?

While an open-source gaming platform provides players with an array of benefits in customization, do those benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks?

Security
Being able to root the device is an awesome feature, but at what expense? Users may see a lot of malware. OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman recently stated that OUYA will be as secure as any other Android device. According to F-Secure, an antivirus firm, 75 percent of all phone-based malware targets Android devices. The inherent security of the console just doesn’t seem very tight. With the recent hack of Sony’s PlayStation Network, 77 million users had their usernames, passwords, credit card details, security answers, purchase history and addresses stolen. How will OUYA offer tighter security to users?

Availability Of Games
With OUYA being a new game console, there are no games for it available on the market as of yet. There have been quite a few titles confirmed for launch, but only time will tell how many game makers will release their games for this console.

What Will Happen?

OUYA offers a level of flexibility that will be very attractive to many gamers, but also has a couple potential drawbacks. Will OUYA become the next big thing in gaming? Only time will tell…

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