As Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony work on their next development in console gaming, a crowd source campaign could give gamers a fourth option. A Kickstarter campaign for the Ouya video game console has raised a record-setting $9.5 million to date.
Julie Uhrman, a 38-year-old former investment banker and gaming veteran, started the campaign to raise funding for the console last year. Her hope then was to get $950,000 to get development off the ground and running. The new console will run on the Google Android operating system and is built from off the shelf parts.
The console made headlines this week, raising another $15 million and preparing for a release date of June 23. That’s two weeks after the big E3 show wraps. The release date has been pushed back. Uhrman says in a press release the delay is to address some concerns about the console before it hits the market. One complaint has been about the controllers.
“We’ve had incredibly positive reactions from our retail partners, and so in order to meet their greater than expected demand, we decided to shift the launch date by a couple of weeks — three weeks — which will allow us to create more units and, basically, have more units on store shelves in June,” she said in a press release.
The new release date puts the console in competition with GameStick, a flash drive-sized, Android-based game console designed to plug directly into Smart TVs (or to a standard TV through an HDMI dock)
Ouya consoles are shipping out to those who initially funded the Kickstarter campaign and the newly designed controllers are part of the release.
The console has some big video game names chipping in on it. This week’s $15 million came from sources like Kleiner Perkins and Nvidia, which makes the graphics chips that power Ouya. Ex-Electronic Arts exec and Kleiner Perkins partner Bing Gordon will also join the board run by Roy Bahat, former president of the game site publisher IGN Entertainment, a division of Fox.
Games are in development for the console and they’re taking a similar approach to games you can purchase in the Play stay for your Smart Phone. When a game is ready, it undergoes a two- or three-day approval process to ensure it meets some basic requirements. Approved titles end up first in an onscreen menu area called the “Sandbox.” Popular games get elevated into different curated gaming categories like “short on time” or “fight.”
The only real catch? All titles must be free-to-play up front. How developers choose to monetize their games — virtual goods, a monthly subscription — is up to them.