Traditionally, console makers like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft aim for five- to seven-year cycles between consoles. A PlayStation 3 purchased 2006 for $500 still has some life in it, and chances are that we’ll see games for the platform for at least the next year or two.
Ouya’s yearly upgrade cycle means that the machine will become obsolete faster than traditional consoles. However, the Ouya will cost $99 at launch, which is far less than the traditional $300 to $500 consumers pay for a new system from Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft. Furthermore, Ouya games will be backward compatible, says Uhrman. Players won’t have to worry about saying goodbye to their old game collections (digital, in this case). Ouya owners’ collections will also be tied to their account, so console upgrades are relatively painless — or at least that’s the plan.
Nvidia has also said that its Project Shield, another Android machine, will get yearly updates, signaling another company that’s changing of pace for the usual console update schedules.
Ouya and Shield are just two of the consoles that will serve as an alternative to traditional machines by Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. Consoles like the Piston (aka the rumored “Steam Box”) are also due for release before the end of the year, making for an increasingly cluttered market for alternative consoles.