The lowdown on Ouya: is it your next games console?

Ouya runs Android Jelly Bean

The news that Amazon, Best Buy and Target will be selling the Android Jelly Bean-powered Ouya console means this little box could be a really big deal: it promises a very different gaming experience to the Xbox and PlayStation.

So what is it, and what does it want from us?

The Ouya console came from Kickstarter

Like many interesting things these days, Ouya was announced on Kickstarter: pledge $950,000, its creators said, and we'll make it. Backers pledged a bit more than that, and the final total was a massive $8,596,474 from 63,416 people. Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman says that pre-orders have exceeded 68,000.

The Ouya release date is March for some, June for others

The Ouya release date is March, but only for the people who backed it on Kickstarter. The rest of us will have to wait until it ships in June, and you can pre-order it now. It's unclear whether Ouya will ship internationally then, or if we'll have to wait a little bit longer.

The Ouya price is $99

That's for people in Americaland, of course, and it works out as roughly £60 plus VAT. The European price hasn't been announced yet, but it'll include a hefty shipping fee.

The Ouya price includes one controller

A second controller will set you back $49.99. Pricey, yes, but the controllers do include touchpads, which obviously cost money to include. Touch controllers are officially A Thing this year: Sony is apparently prepping PS Vita-style touch controls for the PS4.


You'll need to fork out extra for controllers

The Ouya designer created the Jambox

The Ouya team hired award-winning designer Yves Behar and his fuseproject company to design the device, and while it's very pretty it also has all the bits you'd expect: "fast buttons, triggers, laser-precise analog sticks, a D-Pad – and it will have a touchpad for any games making the trek from mobile or tablet to the TV."

The Ouya console is much better looking than Project Shield

Then again, a huge horse's arse is much better looking than Project Shield.

The Ouya controller has been given a tweak

Ouya says it's redesigned its controller after getting feedback from testers and developers. The D-pad has been redesigned, the thumbsticks have been made more grippy, and the battery bit has been changed too.

The Ouya specifications are pretty tasty

Inside the Ouya there's a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, a gigabyte of RAM, 8GB of flash storage and Android 4.0. There's HDMI for up to 1080p HD on your TV, USB 2.0 and Ethernet connectors, Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) 4.0 and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.

The Ouya is a tellybox too, and a games streamer

The Ouya will launch with the app and the OnLive streaming game service, but potentially anything built for Android should run on it. The device isn't region locked or coded, although initially it'll only use English, but developers can choose not to support particular bits of the world if they so wish.

Stream games on demand

Stream games on demand

All Ouya games will be free to play

That doesn't mean they'll be free, but the pledge is that "there will at least be a free demo, or you'll be able to play the entirety of the game for free but may have access to additional items, upgrades, or other features that come at a cost." Ouya won't tell developers how much to charge, won't make them shell out for a dev kit - every Ouya is a dev kit - and won't charge licensing or publishing fees.

Ouya games won't just be lazy ports of mobile games

Many will be, of course, but Ouya "built this badboy to play the most creative content from today's best known AAA game designers as well as adored indie gamemakers." Square Enix says Final Fantasy III will be a launch title, and 23 other games are confirmed so far. That list doesn't include the hundreds of games available via OnLive.

Ouya is open, and hackable

Ouya has been designed with openness in mind: you don't need any special tools to open it, they won't be upset if you mod it, and you can root it without endangering your warranty. Ouya provides a standard user interface and a curated store, but if you don't like them, the official word is "root the device and make it your own."

Ouya means something awful in Swahili

But the manufacturers won't tell you what, and Google doesn't know.

Carrie Marshall


Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.