OUYA is finally here, but can it stand up against the pricier Nvidia Shield or a $199 tablet with HDMI output? Possibly, as it's already sold out at GameStop and Amazon.
The boxy little Android console called OUYA has finally gone retail, arriving at online and local store shelves across North America, Canada and the UK for $99.99 USD. Participating retailers include Amazon (U.S., Canada, and the UK), Best Buy, GAME (UK), GameStop, and Target, and on OUYA.tv. Additional controllers retail for $49.99.
"On OUYA, gamers can try out every game with no obligation to buy, and new games are uploaded constantly. Games are ranked based on the “fun factor,” not revenue or number of downloads, with all games and apps digitally delivered – meaning no more discs to buy, and you own your games forever," the company said on Tuesday.
The actual console measures just 3 x 3 inches and features a brushed aluminum finish. It has a forked version of Android, relying on a custom four-channel interface that's simple to use. It's powered by Nvidia's Tegra 3 chip which as of now is a bit outdated given Tegra 4 is rolling out in products like the competing Nvidia Shield Android handheld console. But it's also $100 compared to Nvidia's $300 pricetag.
As shown in our hands-on at E3, the interface includes a Discover Channel which categorizes games by player engagement while also listing favorites by guest developers. There's also a Make Channel that uses OUYA’s built-in software development kit to enable creators to build and test games, later allowing a direct relationship with OUYA gamers through the system.
"To date, more than 17,000 game creators worldwide have registered to make an OUYA game -- from established publishers like Sega and Square Enix, to emerging studios like Double Fine Productions, Tripwire Interactive, and Kim Swift’s Airtight Games, and up-and-coming indie creators like Matt Thorson and Adam Spragg – ensuring a steady stream of games spanning familiar genres to mind-blowing, out-of-this-world game experiences," the company said.
OUYA began as a Kickstarter project on July 10, 2012. The funding period ended on August 9, 2012, and reeled in 63,416 backers pledging $8,596,474 USD – the goal was merely $950,000 USD. The console was released to developers on December 28, 2012 followed by Kickstarter funders on March 28. Both were incomplete models, the latter of which leading to early but negative hands-on reviews. We're still waiting to get our own console.
One possible roadblock OUYA may face is its closed network. Customers who already purchased games from Google Play and Amazon Appstore will be required to purchase their titles again whereas owners of the Nvidia Shield and the upcoming Mad Catz M.O.J.O. and GameStick consoles won't be required to repurchase games (GamePop will use a subscription model).
UPDATE: That was quick: it's already sold out at Amazon and GameStop. Even more, not all Kickstarter backers have received their console as of this news post.