Ouya Brings $99 Game Console Via Kickstarter

July 10, 2012
Ouya used the website Kickstarter to brings a $99 game console to the masses. It is based on NVidia's quad core Tegra 3 processor.

Do you have a great idea? Need some cash to get started? The Internet can help. Just check out Kickstarter.

One of the hottest projects on Kickstarter these days is Ouya with its new gaming console (Fig. 1). It runs NVidia's Tegra 3 with quad core Cortext-A9 plus an extra 12-core NVidia GPU. The Tegra 3 is also at the heart of the Google Nexus 7 tablet (see iFixit Tears Down The Google Nexus 7 Tablet) and a lot of other smartphones and tablets. Like the Nexus 7, Ouya's box runs Android.

Figure 1. Ouya's game console runs Google's Android and it is built around NVidia's Tegra 3.

Ouya is taking on the big boys including the Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation 3 and Microsoft's XBox but there is a major difference. Those platforms were purpose built for gaming and have very high performance processors. Ouya uses a standard chip that is not in the same league. Still, it has enough pep to drive an HDTV and run some nifty games.

The project needed to hit $950,000 by August 9th. It is well beyond that. Right now it has over 11,000 backers that have pledged almost $1.5 million.

You can essentially sign up to buy one. If you are looking to write applications for it then you pledge a few more bucks.

The platform is actually more on par with the new Google Nexus Q. This ball has Texas Instruments' OMAP4460 inside. It is a dual Cortex-A9 and it runs Android. Of course, what else would a Google product run.

The Nexus Q targets IPTV. Ok, IPTV is not the hot term these days but that is what it is. Ouya's box is actually better and it comes with a game controller.

It will be interesting to see which platform is more open. The Ouya box is not available and neither is the Nexus Q. Both will be shipping shortly.

Google's ball could wind up like a lot of the streaming platforms like the Roku box. Those may support multiple streaming services like Vudu, Netflix and Amazon but they are locked down tight. Most will not even stream data from a local PC and forget about a generic IPTV interface. Each service has its own.

I haven't signed up for one of Ouya's boxes yet but I may. I have more things hooked up to my HDTV these days so I would actually need to buy an HDMI switcher.

I couldn't end a Kickstarter article without mentioning my daughter Jenn's project, the Project Ninja Panda Taco game (Fig. 2).

"In Project Ninja Panda Taco you get to play a Mastermind character who must create a three step plan to take over the world. The Mastermind with the most steps completed at the end of the game wins and will rule the world."

Figure 2. Project Ninja Panda Taco is not the next game console solution but it could wind up on the Ouya.

Jenn's project has not reached its goal yet so if you like games then check it out. This is one I invested in but then again I am a bit biased. I like these kinds of games too. You never know. It might wind up on the Ouya box.

About the Author

William Wong Blog | Senior Content Director

Bill Wong covers Digital, Embedded, Systems and Software topics at Electronic Design. He writes a number of columns, including Lab Bench and alt.embedded, plus Bill's Workbench hands-on column. Bill is a Georgia Tech alumni with a B.S in Electrical Engineering and a master's degree in computer science for Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

He has written a dozen books and was the first Director of PC Labs at PC Magazine. He has worked in the computer and publication industry for almost 40 years and has been with Electronic Design since 2000. He helps run the Mercer Science and Engineering Fair in Mercer County, NJ.

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