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Ouya, an Android-based video game console, raised a record-breaking $2.59 million in a day on Kickstarter. It became the fastest project to raise a million dollars, doing so in eight hours and 22 minutes. It also surpassed Double Fine Adventure to be come the most funded project in Kickstater’s Games category.
The pledges are continuing to come in at a rapid pace, meaning Ouya may take over the Pebble Watch, which raised $10.3 million, as the most funded project on Kickstarter. At the time of this writing, Ouya had raised just over $4 million, with 27 days to go.
“As we were approaching the Kickstarter launch, none of us knew what to expect,” Julie Uhrman, Ouya’s CEO, told Crowdsourcing.org. “It's been a wild ride. Some of our team members kept clicking refresh in disbelief as we inched towards our goal.”
So what made Ouya so appealing to the 30,000 backers who pledged enough money to pre-order the console? The price may have been a deciding factor for some – Ouya costs only $99. As with most other crowdfunded projects, however, the price is only a part of the console’s appeal. Individuals tend to back the projects they believe in, and Ouya seems to have won over many people with the premise behind its campaign.
For one, Ouya promises to be a fully open console. The team behind Ouya goes so far as to encourage rooting. Hackers will be able to open the console without voiding the warranty and connect their homemade peripherals to a USB port or via Bluetooth. Developers will be able to easily create games for the console, as each Ouya ships with a development kit. Since it is built on Android, game creators will have little trouble making cool games for the console right from the get-go.
Keeping with the openness theme, Ouya will require all games to be free to play. This means gamers will be able to try game demos, or play full versions for free, choosing to pay for certain perks. While the list of anticipated launch games is being kept under wraps, Mojang has hinted that it will bring Minecraft (and perhaps other titles) to Ouya.
Most of all, Ouya may have struck a cord with those longing for a return to platform gaming in the absence of new consoles from giants Nintendo, Sony, and Micosoft. In stark contrast to new mobile games and sophisticated motion controllers, Ouya is designing its controller “to be a love letter to console gaming.”
In short, Ouya is looking to take the old video game experience and mix it with the best of what today’s gaming technology has to offer. Whether it can succeed remains to be seen – raising money is just the beginning of the process, and it will have to execute its plan flawlessly if it intends to break into the mainstream video game market. But while it faces many challenges ahead, the team behind the console deserves hearty congratulations for its dynamic start.