Though the big gaming news these days might be all about the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, an almost silent competitor has emerged, and it doesn’t exactly fit traditional conceptions of gaming. You may not have heard of the Ouya micro console, but chances are that you will in the near future, especially if early sales are an indicator of its future success.
The $99 console, which is powered by Android and features an open-source development platform, recently hit the market and almost immediately sold out at online retailers like Amazon and physical retailer GameStop, according to CNET. Of course, the makers behind the console have pledged to replenish supply soon, but it is certainly surprising that a small box without any big name publishers behind it could make such a strong debut.
The Ouya micro console doesn’t have multiple processors, can’t support the latest graphics technology, and doesn’t even have a disc drive. However, it does have the support of the development community behind it and already has 170 games ready for download. Users who fancy themselves as amateur game developers will also find that the console has a software development kit packed in, which encourages players to make their own games for the platform.
The idea of an open-source gaming platform has been tried before, but with little to no success. In the past, conventional wisdom has been that the gamer crowd wants blockbuster games on consoles with the latest technology and aren’t interested in a low-cost, open-source console. However, the Ouya’s unexpectedly stellar debut may be changing a few minds in the industry.
In addition to downloading games, Ouya can also support a plethora of non-gaming apps and currently features streaming applications from Plex, XBMC, and iHeartRadio. Apps for Netflix and Hulu Plus have been confirmed to be coming soon to the platform.
In response to the day-one sales, Ouya CEO and co-founder Julie Uhrman said in a statement, “It’s incredible to think that a little under a year ago OUYA was just an idea — we wanted to do something completely new in console gaming: build a $99 game console, with no discs to buy, open to all developers, and affordable to all gamers.”
While the Ouya console may not be trying to make waves within the larger gaming industry, it certainly seems like a console to watch. In addition to the console itself, the $99 entry fee also includes one controller. Gamers can purchase a second controller for $49.99. The Ouya currently only supports two players.