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Ouya: The new kid on the gaming block

Suddenly, Ouya is the name on everyone’s lips when it comes to games consoles.

Unheard of until its founders went to Kickstarter, the funding platform for creative projects, now everyone is taking about Ouya.

Makers of the Android-based games device were hoping to raise $950,000 in a month, but they passed that amount within a few hours, with the fund sitting at nearly $4m after just two days.

After being pledged more money than they dreamed of, makers said: “Do you realize what you’ve done? You proved consoles aren’t dead. You shocked the world. And us!”

They said they had been “blown away” by public support and added: “Now we want to blow you away. The biggest thing for us right now: we are working on our stretch goals, what we can do if we raise more money.”

Due to launch in early 2013 with a range of free-to-play games, Ouya’s aim is to bring back the days of retro gaming with a modern twist.

The US start-up firm will be selling its consoles for under $100 when they go on sale in the first quarter of the New Year.

The Ouya has been designed by Yves Béhar, who is best known for his work on Jawbones’ Jambox Speaker. The device will run using Google’s Android 4.0 software, with a customised user interface designed for use with TVs, and its own curated app store.  It will come with a wireless gaming controller with two analogue sticks, a D-pad, eight buttons and a touchpad.

Each game in Ouya’s store will have a free component – either demo games where you can then pay to upgrade or a free full version which makes its money from in-app purchases.

Julie Uhrman, Ouya’s chief executive said while smartphones and tablets were soaring in popularity, console’s still had their place in the market.

“TV is still the best screen,” she said, “the number one platform if you survey gamers. It’s where the majority of gameplay happens and the majority of dollars are spent, and it’s the best screen, from its HD quality to surround sound to that lean-back communal experience. We want to bring games back to the television.”

In its marketing pitch to get funding on Kickstart, Ouya says: “There’s something about a big HD TV and digital surround sound that fills up a living room. Shooters, platformers, sports games, arcade classics and experimental indie games just feel bigger on a TV screen. It’s how most of us grew up gaming.”

Ouya is aiming to bring back “innovation, experimentation, and creativity” to the big screen while making games less expensive.

The console will also be developer friendly, taking away many of the roadblocks of bringing console games to the market as it is built on Android so developers already know how it works.

Creators are now set to use their Kickstart funding to convert their prototype to production-ready models ready to sell in 2013.

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