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Outside the box: Ouya’s game platform heading to other devices

Above: Ouya's game library

Image Credit: GamesBeat

Ouya games will soon leave the constraints of the Ouya hardware.

The gaming startup responsible for one of the highest-profile Android-based microconsoles has a plan for the future that includes working with other hardware manufacturers. Ouya chief executive Julie Uhrman wants to enable other companies to embed the console’s OS and game store on their products, she revealed in an interview with [a]list Daily. The company will continue making its own devices, and it will also implement standards to ensure software on its Discover store will run well regardless of the hardware its running on.

“One thing you’ll start to see is Ouya on other people’s devices,” said Uhrman. “Now, we think the software is good enough, and it’s ready to be embedded in other people’s devices. We actually started having some of these conversations during CES, and the takeup was so great that we’re really jumping into the strategy with both feet this year.”

This solution to spread the reach of Ouya will face some hurdles. The fact that Ouya built its system on top of Android means that the games are easy ports for things like Android phones, Kindle Fire, or other devices running Google’s mobile operating system. Additionally, Ouya’s biggest game, the four-player arcade fighter Towerfall, is already heading to the PlayStation 4.

We’ve reached out to Ouya to determine why this new strategy is worth it for its partners and how the implementation works. We’ll update this story with any new information.

The Ouya CEO did hint at what kind of devices people can expect.

“If you think about the traditional game consoles, they’re custom hardware and custom chips. To get those games, you have to buy a box for hundreds of dollars,” she said. “We’ve always wanted to open that up. We started with a $99 box, but we always wanted to create a console platform that can live on other people’s devices. We just knew it was going to take us a little bit of time to get it ready.”

That might mean it’s time to start saving for a $400 Ouya-based console, kids.

It’s possible that this new strategy indicates that the Ouya hardware is struggling to catch on. The console started as a Kickstarter project. It’s also available to purchase at retailers like Target and GameStop, but Ouya hasn’t shared how well it is selling. One thing that is clear is that developers have voiced disappointment in how well their games are performing on the system in terms of revenue. Many of the biggest games have only brought in a few thousand dollars, according to a Gamasutra report in October.

Uhrman also spoke about potential upcoming competition from Amazon, Apple, and Google. All three conglomerates are reportedly working on their own microconsoles, with Amazon even going as far as to acquire its own gaming studio.

“It wouldn’t be a legitimate product category if Amazon or Apple didn’t try to compete in it,” said Uhrman. “We think that there is no better proof to our category that it’s worth pursuing than Amazon deciding to go into it. We remain focused on being about games first, and changing the way console gaming works.”

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More information:

OUYA was created in 2012 by Julie Uhrman, a video game industry veteran who saw an opportunity to open up the last closed game platform — the TV. Julie and an initial team of game developers and advisors brought the concept to life, ... read more »

Julie Uhrman is the founder of OUYA and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Julie Uhrman serves as the General Manager of Digital Distribution at IGN Entertainment, Inc. Julie Uhrman serves as a Director of OUYA, Inc. Julie holds... read more »

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