Games gadget is fastest crowdfunded project ever

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Backed by $1 million of crowdfunding, the new Ouya games console is threatening to rewrite the rules for investing and developing in technology.

Money has poured in to the project via US investor site Kickstarter, making Ouya streak ahead as the crowdfunding project that has raised the most money in the fastest time.

The pitch is to build a $99 games console aimed at hackers, developers and open-source software designers – with the added bonus of tampering with the insides will not void a warranty.

The spec is pretty hot as well – 8 gigs of flash storage, 1 gig of RAM, HDMI audio and video output built round a Tegra 3 SoC processor.

heading the project is an impressive list of technology gurus, including Ed Fries, who headed up game publishing at the dawn of the Xbox revolution for Microsoft.

The issue is whether investors are putting their money in to the project with their hearts and minds.

It’s one thing for techies to dream up the ideal console and another to make that dream a profitable business.

The Ouya is built around the concept of root access for all – effectively giving anyone a free hand to write the software that runs the console.

What remains to be seen is whether games developers will support the brand when users can hack their product.

In the end it comes down to numbers. If Ouya can sell enough units to become a credible rival to Xbox, Nintendo and PlayStation, then the console may prosper. If not, it’s a niche electronic gadget.

If developers take a chance on an open platform, and if the big players don’t take action to wipe out Ouya with steep hardware discounts and targeted programs, then the console might have a slender chance.

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