The Hackable Console Ouya – Wait, it’s done already?

10 Jul

UPDATE: Two days after launch (7/12), the kickstarter campaign is up to $4,000,000 with 30,000 backers. There’s still plenty of $100+ pledges available which gives you a console before they hit store shelves.

UPDATE: The day AFTER the launch of the kickstarter campaign, they have raised $3,000,000. That’s TWO MILLION DOLLARS over what they were asking for. They’ve also upped the amount of units purchasable right now so as of 7/11, there are 30,000 still purchasable.

What. The. Fuck.

So today (7/10), a Kickstarter campaign launched to bring gamers an all new console, the Ouya (“ooh-yuh”). A fully hackable console that is designed for indie developers. Julie Uhrma and her team (including early Xbox pioneer Ed Fries and One Laptop Per Child designer Yves Behar) think it’s high time Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo rethink how they make consoles.

“I just think closed is the wrong way of doing things,” Julie Uhrma said. “I see unbelievable indie content out there, and watching ‘Indie Game the Movie’ and watching their faces as they wait for Microsoft to approve [their game], it just didn’t make any sense.”

If you don’t know, the current consoles made by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are all closed systems. That means they only let licensed developers make games for their consoles and only grant those developers the debug kits that are required to create games. Plus, all game development must be approved before it can be sold so as Kotaku put it, they “serve as gatekeepers for nearly every game made on their machines.”

But not the Ouya:

“The circuit board will have well-documented test points. People can swap out chips, add, etc. We may even publish the hardware design if enough people are curious. Because Ouya will also have Bluetooth and a USB, hardware hobbyists can also make their own peripherals (someone already suggested pinball controls to us). Regarding the software, you’ll be able to root the device easily. It won’t void your warranty. Every unit has a debug console. We are even working on the idea of a “plant”—which will restore your profile after rooting your device (reverse your root). Because it’s built on Android, you’ll understand the source code well, too. (Obviously if a hacker roots the device, our integrated user experience and game store will no longer be available while the device is rooted — so there is, as always, a tradeoff between customizing your device and enjoying the benefits of standardization. We expect the true hackers to be an elite, but small proportion of the total number of people who buy the box. Most people will probably just use the standard setup.)”

Here’s the real kicker: the Kickstarter campaign is already fully funded. As of 5PM, they’re almost $200 thousand over what they originally asked for with only 3,000 $100 pledges left up for grabs. This thing is happening people, so if you want in at the beginning of the race, buy one NOW.

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