Android Gets a Console

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Android Gets a Console

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Spend $99 dollars on the box, and not a thing on the games.

Console makers are usually wary of giving the average consumer too much access to the inner workings of their hardware, but a new company has the intention of doing the opposite. Tech startup Ouya is intending to release a $99 Android game console with an open developer ecosystem and all its games free to play.

The console, which can be connected to a TV, allows users to self publish their titles for others. Dev kits will be included with every purchase of the system, so budding developers can share their work straight out of the box. The project listing claims that it is "built to be hacked", so you can turn it into a media streaming centre, or build and program your own game controllers if you're so inclined. No details on the hardware have been released just yet, although one should expect modest specs for its initial asking price.

The Ouya team has some power-players in its ranks. IGN's Julie Uhrman is the project's founder and CEO, while ex-Microsoft vice president Ed Fries and One Laptop Per Child designer Yves Behar both play an advisory role. Muffi Ghadiali, who helped to ship Amazon's Kindle, is also on board.

The console's open environment for developers certainly promises some exciting potential projects beyond merely "Android on your TV", but it will ultimately be the console's hardware support that will be an indication of its true potential.

Source: The Verge

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Android is a smart phone, right? So don't it's games have to use it's touch screen as it does not have buttons. So how would that translate to a TV?

When I see a physical product pumped out, I'll investigate further.

For right now, I'll just say, "Color me intrigued," and leave it at that for now.

WHERE'S THE SECOND ANALOG STICK?

Now I just need a 42" touch screen TV and I can play Fruit Ninja the way it's meant to be played. Those arcade ones are actually fun.

i fear that people will take this as some kind of oooh android AAA games, when the language of android, java, is horrendous for making heavier games(see: minecraft). but as what they are advertising, it seems really nice. just dont expect the new gears of war to run on it or sth.(then again, given how old xbox is...)

um... so its a pc?

Thats pretty damn cool, and I do like the hands-off 'do your own thing' philosophy that seems to be the exact opposite idea of what most publishers want in this age of DRM, online passes, and accounts for every damn thing.

My only main reservation is that I can't think of anything this does that my PC can't do. Since they're not bragging about the games for the system or the high specs it leads me to believe that it's probably not going to feature too many AAA's.

Still worth keeping an eye on though.

interesting... an open console ecosystem... No point in hacking it because you have full access out of the box! I would like to see how this turns out

draythefingerless:
i fear that people will take this as some kind of oooh android AAA games, when the language of android, java, is horrendous for making heavier games(see: minecraft). but as what they are advertising, it seems really nice. just dont expect the new gears of war to run on it or sth.(then again, given how old xbox is...)

This is misleading.

Games made for Android must run on a Java Virtual Machine, but Java is not the only language for doing this. There is also JRuby, Groovy, Jython...

And, of course, you could make a HTML5 + Javascript game and use Open Web App (if I'm not mistaken, I'm on a phone and it's difficult to search) to ship it without a browser.

FogHornG36:
um... so its a pc?

That's basically what I got out of it.

Speaking on behalf my game development company, if we can't charge for games on it and not be able to generate revenue besides possibly ads, where is the point in developing games for it??

This sounds cool, but I fear an overabundance of ads. Interested, but cautious.

I thought consoles were dead?!

.....open... source(ish).... console?

I am fully(ish) behind this. I would like to see it come to pass. Though with a 99$ pricetag I would not expect much more than say.... PSP level capabilities.

Has a lot of potential to go either way.

Eric the Orange:
Android is a smart phone, right? So don't it's games have to use it's touch screen as it does not have buttons. So how would that translate to a TV?

Android is an operating system. It's usually used in smartphones and tablets but also available for PC - Which uses a mouse cursor instead of a touch screen, when it isn't available.
My guess is that it'll probably have gamepads for control.

I wonder why they chose Android, since many games won't work properly due to the TV not having a touch screen.

"It can be connected to a TV and allows users to self publish their titles for others. Dev kits will be included with every purchase of the system, so budding developers can share their work straight out of the box. The project listing claims that it is "built to be hacked", so you can turn it into a media streaming centre, or build and program your own game controllers if you're so inclined."

Yeah, PC's re pretty cool.

Baldr:
Speaking on behalf my game development company, if we can't charge for games on it and not be able to generate revenue besides possibly ads, where is the point in developing games for it??

Could the same question not be asked of the current Android/Itunes app stores?

Eric the Orange:
Android is a smart phone, right? So don't it's games have to use it's touch screen as it does not have buttons. So how would that translate to a TV?

On my touchscreen whnever i load a game thats not touch-screenbased there are touchscreen buttons at the bottom of the window. its the same principle just with real buttons here. infact i made it so it always load and paly with those buttons isntead of touchscreens, morep recision.

So this is basically "lets give you some hardware and you can do whatever you want with it" type of deal. sorry, already can, its called PC.

They trying to win over developers before steam box comes out or are the genuinely not evil companies just flooding the market with awesome products?

sleeky01:

Baldr:
Speaking on behalf my game development company, if we can't charge for games on it and not be able to generate revenue besides possibly ads, where is the point in developing games for it??

Could the same question not be asked of the current Android/Itunes app stores?

As of right now, the Android and the iTunes App store allow developers to set the price of the game and/or addon packs.

Eric the Orange:
Android is a smart phone, right? So don't it's games have to use it's touch screen as it does not have buttons. So how would that translate to a TV?

new smart tv's remotes act like a wii controller so it would basically be using that. although still not all games can run with it.

Eric the Orange:
Android is a smart phone, right? So don't it's games have to use it's touch screen as it does not have buttons. So how would that translate to a TV?

Android Phones still use physical buttons for anything that is either too hard to do with a touchscreen or is impossible, so it's possible to get a physical controller to work through android. Even if android phones didn't use physical buttons, they can always program that function into android since it's open source.

OP: I'm a skeptic by nature, so I'm not going to make a final decision about this console until I can see what it can do. But the possibilities of an open source console are staggering (no matter how weak the hardware is). Since it's open source, there's no limit to what kind of controller you can use, you could hook up a tablet and turn it into a persuado WiiU. In interested to see what developers do with something as flexible as this console is.

Isn't open source just fun!

Count me intrigued.

Baldr:
Speaking on behalf my game development company, if we can't charge for games on it and not be able to generate revenue besides possibly ads, where is the point in developing games for it??

I looked up the source, and they have a screenshot from the (concept?) menu/start screen. Someone probably misunderstood something somewhere in the press release process, because the menu clearly has a "Store" option, and the menu also clearly lists commercially available games.
image
Due to the open development kits and the Open Source nature, there's probably gonna be a lot of free homebrewn apps and ports of already open sourced games and software. But commercial Android apps and games will still stick around and be available for purchase.

Doom972:

Eric the Orange:
Android is a smart phone, right? So don't it's games have to use it's touch screen as it does not have buttons. So how would that translate to a TV?

Android is an operating system. It's usually used in smartphones and tablets but also available for PC - Which uses a mouse cursor instead of a touch screen, when it isn't available.
My guess is that it'll probably have gamepads for control.

I wonder why they chose Android, since many games won't work properly due to the TV not having a touch screen.

See attached photo, it's gonna be gamepad-based. Reason they chose Android? For that price, it has to be an ARM processor, the same kind of processor that runs in your phone/tablet/other small but powerful device that ain't your desktop. ARM processors can't run native x86(_64) code that also runs on your main desktop. That means they're limited to mobile platform OSes, how many of those do you know about that could be allowed to run on this device? iOS? Never gonna happen. Windows Phone 7/8? Nope. Android? Yes, that's a possibility. They could also have gone for some other ARM-optimized linux distribution like Ångström, but that would mean no launch-day AAA 3rd party titles.
So Android gives them a big library of existing commercial and free games, as well as the possibility of porting over even more Open Source games. Many Android games already support controller and gamepad buttons, there's apps that will allow you to map touch-screen controls to your gamepad, and if this things turns out a success, developers will also start adding native support for gamepads in their existing and new games.

So why did they choose Android? Because it's the only available option that will already give them a big library of good games, instead of a locked down system, or no native games at all.

Baldr:
Speaking on behalf my game development company, if we can't charge for games on it and not be able to generate revenue besides possibly ads, where is the point in developing games for it??

Why don't you ask Rovio, or any of the countless iOS and Android games making money? iPhone games have been around for years, a lot of them ad supported. It must be a viable business model or all the developers would have died out by now. Also, it only says free to play. That means there could well be micro transactions, add ons, ad removal etc, just like in current Android or iOS games.

OT: This console concept looks pretty cool, but unless I saw that on release people were releasing something more than Fruit Ninja, it wouldn't interest me. To be viable for me it would have to run at least late PS2 quality games. Graphics aren't the most important thing, but they are still important, and I don't want to play a horrid polygonal mess. Then again, considering that my phone plays GTA 3, I guess that's probably not that hard.

Yuri Albuquerque:

draythefingerless:
i fear that people will take this as some kind of oooh android AAA games, when the language of android, java, is horrendous for making heavier games(see: minecraft). but as what they are advertising, it seems really nice. just dont expect the new gears of war to run on it or sth.(then again, given how old xbox is...)

This is misleading.

Games made for Android must run on a Java Virtual Machine, but Java is not the only language for doing this. There is also JRuby, Groovy, Jython...

And, of course, you could make a HTML5 + Javascript game and use Open Web App (if I'm not mistaken, I'm on a phone and it's difficult to search) to ship it without a browser.

And all of those languages, by extension of having to run on the JVM, are slow as fuck. The functional languages are probably even slower than Java, just as they are slower than C when they're compiled. This console is going to suck balls.

Timothy Chang:
The console, which can be connected to a TV

A console which can be connected to a TV? What kind of wizardry is this?

Seriously though, it's a shitty cheap PC with an OS specifically designed to work with small, portable devices. Why the hell would anyone buy this rather than an actual cheap PC?

Baldr:

sleeky01:

Baldr:
Speaking on behalf my game development company, if we can't charge for games on it and not be able to generate revenue besides possibly ads, where is the point in developing games for it??

Could the same question not be asked of the current Android/Itunes app stores?

As of right now, the Android and the iTunes App store allow developers to set the price of the game and/or addon packs.

And they also allow developers to release free versions as well as priced versions. What would make you think this would be any different?

Meh. Can't see any really good games coming out for it.

Have you ever herd of the free to play model?

NLS:
Reason they chose Android? For that price, it has to be an ARM processor, the same kind of processor that runs in your phone/tablet/other small but powerful device that ain't your desktop. ARM processors can't run native x86(_64) code that also runs on your main desktop. That means they're limited to mobile platform OSes...

Windows 8 runs on ARM processors, and there are plenty of desktop OS's that run on RISC processor based systems.

Mac OSX was originally designed for a RISC processor system, PowerPC. RISC OS, a development of Acorn's earlier OS series Arther, is a full desktop OS that's been around since 1987. Linux, which to be fair can run on just about anything if you have the free time to compile it for your toaster/watch/hairdryer, has a multitude of ARM and other RISC platform implementations.

In fact, instead of writing them out, take a look at the wiki page on OS's that run on ARM platforms - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture#Operating_systems

Also, don't forget that a lot of Supercomputers are based on the RISC architecture. RISC processors can be incredibly powerful, so long as the system and programs running on it are well written.

Wouldn't the people who would be even remotely interested in this already have a capable device that is mobile? Developers would likely have a desktop PC to do their work. Who is this even aimed at?

Maybe I'm being too cynical but I expect this thing to tank.

My question is mostly who do they intend to sell this to? The 'casual gamer' who already has all these kinds of games on his mobile device, and actually prefers them because of it? The 'Farmville mother' who could just as easily play these kinds of games on the family computer on her Facebook account or some webpage? The 'core gamer' who probably has deeper, more complex things to play but can also get his fix on Flash games anywhere he wants? Frankly I don't know whether there's any big market this will appeal to.

The only sort of people I can really see this selling to properly is the tech-hobbyist. The sort of person who likes fiddling around with stuff like the Raspberry Pi. They can toy around with this in the same way as it's pretty much completely open source. Make their own games with all kinds of fancy controls they design themselves. But is that market big enough to stop this thing from tanking? I doubt it.

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