//WILL THE GAMING REVOLUTION BE TELEVISED? — Android-powered open game console OUYA crosses $3 million mark on Kickstarter, after ONE day//
This is a new record: in just 8 hours, Ouya smashed its kickstarter goal to raise $1 million - the fastest project to hit the 7-figure mark.
It was only last week, that game design legend Will Wright practically declared the commercial console model dead. “I think all the console guys are running scared,” said the creator of SIMS and SPORE in interview with GI. “Not so much because of the hardware, but because of the business models.” Console games are hugely costly to produce — and face a declining audience. (The average price of game production surged from US$1M–4M in 2000 to over 5M in 2006 to over 20M in 2010. Estimated costs for Wright’s last game Spore, released in 2008, are between $50M-$80M.) Lately, the industry focus has been on mobile gaming: Sony’s PlayStation Vita and Nintendo’s WiiU enter from the console side, while every tablet and smartphone now practically turns into a controller.
“There has been a brain drain towards mobile in the gaming industry,” says Ouya founder and gaming veteran July Uhrman. The video game console business is historically dominated by large studios and practically inaccessible for independent developers. Uhrman’s mission — take the best of both worlds.
“Let’s open this sucker up!” - Bring games back to TV, make them less expensive to make, and less expensive to buy.
Uhrman got product design icon Yves Behar on board to create the stylish Ouya game cube. Behar, the award winning creator behind Jambox and One Laptop per Child, is an expert in designing sleek and simple technology products for a mass market.
Ouya will be shipped in March 2013 at a cost of $99. Running Android 4.0, the device already comes with an SDK kit and is intentionally hackable. According to Ouya’s Kickstarter page, the only rule for developers is that some portion of the game has to be free to try. After that, pricing and monetization is entirely flexible.
“If we raise this money, it means we have arrived and there is a need for an open game console and that there is support from developers and gamers alike,” said Uhrman in the Kickstarter video. “We are the signal to the world, that this is wanted,” said Uhrman.
That signal is rather strong: At time of writing, Ouya had just crossed the $3M mark - 340% funding with 28 days to go.
Is this an indication, how to revive the video game console market? Fact is, as Kickstarter founder Yancey Strickler points out, over 20k people have ordered an Ouya, without ever having seen one before. When XBox360 launched in November 2005 it sold 326k units within a week — with a multi-million marketing budget attached. We’ll check back in how many Ouya units will be sold a week from now.
BTW: Game development is scoring high on Kickstarter. The previous record holder to hit the $1M in funds was adventure game Double Fine Adventure with 17 hours and 30 minutes.