Playstation 3. Xbox 360. Wii. These are the types of names you expect to hear in an article about consoles.
But the big 3 might not be the big 3 after long. For years there have always been about 2 or 3 competitors For a while it was Sega and Nintendo, Then Sega, Sony, and Nintendo. Then Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. But the big 3 might also start to include the little 300, as more and more cheap download-based home consoles come along.
There is no doubt that smart phones have started to cut into sales of the DS and PS Vita in a big way. Expect the little 300 to dig in their teeth, in a big way, especially is all these different home consoles run on one open source operating system, very much mimicking the way Android approached smart phones. Android is the largest mobile platform worldwide, and yet it isn’t even 1 specific phone, like the iPhone. It’s 1,000 plus different phones, all with their varying levels of internal parts and levels of performance. One might argue that the PC is most open source gaming platform of all time. This is true, but the truth is, there is a large dedicated group of people who will never prefer the PC over the home console. Because PCs and Consoles still have a lot of difference, an open source, specifically on-the-couch experience is really the only way to go.
The device I want to highlight today is called Ouya. It will be $99, a far lower price than the big name players. It won’t be a graphics powerhouse. It’s said to have better graphics than Playstation 2, but not as good as Xbox 360.
Despite this, the device can still be considered a next generation console. The omission of any kind of optical drive is a big deal, and in my opinion is a step in the right direction. Downloadable games have become a huge thing, thanks to Xbox Live Marketplace, the Playstation Store, Google play, etc.
The industry already seems to be going in this direction, and taking away the optical drive seals the deal. Reportedly, it runs on the Android platform. Instead of new iterations being released every 5 to 7 years, the company plans to release a new version of Ouya every year.
This is the same type of release schedule that Apple uses for their products. One benefit of this is that as computer and graphics power increases, console owners will be able to see a bump in the gaming performance. And at the price of $99, it’s far from breaking the bank. With two analog sticks, a d pad, face buttons, triggers, and a touch pad, the controller for the Ouya will look quite familiar, with some added functionality.
Although the Ouya will be running on a modified version of Android, the place to get games will not be the Google Play store. Instead, the Ouya will include its own exlcusive store called the Ouya Store.The approval process will be very lax compared to other video game and application stores. According to Engadget, games will simply be checked for intellectual property infringement, malware, and excessive pornography. If a game passes all three of those requirements, it will make it’s way 0n to the store. This is a way different approach than any game company has ever used in the past. Every game will include some kind of free to play aspect. Also unlike any video game console in the past, hacking and modifying the Ouya will not void the warranty. In fact, it is encouraged. The makers of the console want users to create new controllers and interfaces for the device, and with each coming year, users might even see their new designs incorporated into the latest release of the console.
Ouya is set to launch in June of this year, and will be available at Amazon, Target, Best Buy and Game Stop.