Julie Uhrman, founder and CEO of Ouya sat down with The Verge Editor-in-Chief Joshua Topolsky to discuss the company’s enormously successful Kickstarter campaign (raising $8.5M) and their vision to disrupt the video game industry, with crazy affordable prices and an Android-based OS that lowers the barriers for development.
Ouya promises to make gaming in the living room as accessible as smartphones have made it everywhere else. Ouya isn’t just a console, it’s a platform that is based on the Android OS, which means it’s much easier for independent developers to make games for than Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo consoles. Less barriers for development mean more titles for casual to hardcore gamers, at cheaper price points.
By expanding types of games beyond hardcore blockbuster titles like Modern Warfare 3 at a $60 a pop, Ouya hopes to bring casual gaming back to the living room for gamers of all skill levels. This was a point that Uhrman stressed most throughout the discussion. Casual, light hearted games, like Angry Birds, should not be relegated to tiny screens. We should bring it back to the days where we all played Tetris in the living room together.
Ouya isn’t trying to dethrone the 3 major consoles, yet. They position themselves as an additive device with games that major consoles won’t have, but you’ll still need the majors for the blockbuster titles that require more powerful hardware.
The device will be distributed to Kickstarter backers in May and be in big box stores this summer for $99.
That said, with that kind of vision and accessibility, one would think that the talk would have been a smash hit with the crowd of developers, gamers, and futurists. But reviews were definitely mixed as Uhrman didn’t go much beyond their vision in the Kickstarter campaign and some updates on product development.
Still regardless of how the talk went, you’d be hard pressed to find any person who played a pre-PS2 console, who isn’t excited for Ouya.
The gaming industry has matured, and like the film and music business, it’s time to lower the barriers for distribution and discovery of great content.