Ouya game console getting some retail love
Ouya, a $100 Android-based gaming system, will go on sale in June at Best Buy, Target, GameStop, and Amazon. This should give traditional game-console makers another reason to worry.
The system will cost roughly the same via those retailers as it does on Ouya's site, the Wall Street Journal reports, while each additional game controller will cost $50. Amazon and Best Buy already have Ouya feature pages up on their websites, and Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman said the company is also trying to acquire high-profile in-store placement for hands-on demos.
Ouya made waves last July when its Kickstarter campaign quickly reached its funding goals. The concept is long overdue: Take the same free or cheap gaming model found in phones and tablets and bring it to a TV in the living room. Ouya will have its own app store, and anyone will be able to develop games for it.
Some existing Android games, such as Dead Trigger and Canabalt, already have controller support and should be fairly easy to bring over to the new system. Uhrman told the Journal that Ouya is funding some game development, as well.
Not everyone will need to wait till June. Uhrman said Kickstarter backers should get their Ouya systems in March, and early pre-order customers will get them in April. New pre-orders are expected to arrive in June, around the same time that Ouya will appear in stores.
Ouya probably won't destroy the traditional console business; Uhrman even admitted that beating Microsoft or Sony isn't the goal. However, it could become one of many destabilizing factors for established console makers, along with smartphone and tablet gaming and other alternatives such as GameStick and Nvidia's Project Shield.
Retail availability only makes the threat of Ouya more realistic. It's not hard to imagine a casual player shopping at Best Buy or Target and deciding that a $100 game console with cheap games is good enough—especially when the alternative is a $300 console and $60 games.
Ouya must be onto something, because even GameStop is getting in on the action. When a company that lives off used game sales embraces a console with download-only content, you know the writing's on the wall for packaged games as we knew them.