The crowd-funded, Android-powered OUYA system will hit retail locations this June, according to a Wall Street Journal interview with company CEO Julie Uhrman. According to the piece, the system is still on track to be shipped out to backers (of whom there are over 68,000) this March.
The console will retail for $99 and comes with one controller, while the controllers themselves will retail for $49.99—a seemingly steep price tag, but one Uhrman justifies by pointing out its bells and whistles:
“It’s a premium price for a controller, but with the inclusion of the touchpad really makes it a premium in the marketplace.”
That’s right—the OUYA controller has a little touchpad, just like the Wii U, and just like the PS4 pad is rumored to have. Welcome to the future, everyone.
The OUYA is available to pre-order from retailers like GameStop and Amazon right now, so if you didn’t get in on the Kickstarter funding last year, you can still get a console delivered to you when they’re released in June. Uhrman also says that the company’s working with retail locations like Best Buy and Target to have demo units out on the floor for prospective buyers to try out:
“We want to support OUYA as best we can, both online and in physical retail, making sure there’s visibility for the product, to see content and demo the box. Those are all conversations we’re having with retailers. Retail partners of this size don’t just jump into business with every company that has something to sell. We’re providing something that has responded so well to gamers and developers.”
Uhrman also explains that there are plenty of exclusive titles on the way for the console, and the company has many partnerships with game developers lined up. While Nvidia’s Shield and the GameStick are all new entrants into the Android-powered console race, for the time being, it seems like OUYA’s still the one to watch, if for no other reason than it’ll be the first one we’ll be able to walk into a store and buy.
One of the interesting takeaways from the piece is Uhrman’s attitude toward the major consoles from Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony:
“We don’t need to beat Xbox or Sony or any console that enters the marketplace, we need to carve out our own niche. OUYA offers a very different value proposition to the gaming you can currently experience. […]
For the last year or two years all we’ve been hearing is that the consoles are dead. The reason is there isn’t new, innovative intellectual property. It’s expensive to develop on it. You’re seeing a major shift of games being developed on the television. Our viewpoint has always been that console gaming isn’t dead, the way we think about it hasn’t changed.”
To me, this sounds a lot like what happened when Nintendo introduced the Wii. While, technologically, the Wii was inferior to the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, the thing managed to easily outsell both by changing the conversation. It competed with them by not trying to compete. I see a similar strategy with the OUYA. A hundred-dollar game system that plays cheap games that I can buy in Target? That’s actually attracting real game developers? I have a feeling big things are going to happen here.
And, just for the record, I’m now personally disappointed in myself for not backing it in the first place. I want one. Because I am weak.