Ouya Game Console Ships to Kickstarter Backers; Sales Begin June 4

Yahoo Contributor Network

Ouya, the world's first game console to be funded on the Kickstarter crowd-funding website, began shipping to people who donated at least $95 through Kickstarter today.

If you didn't back Ouya on Kickstarter, you won't be able to get one just yet. Sales to the general public start on June 4, and both Ouya and its retail partners -- including Amazon, Target, and Best Buy -- are taking preorders right now. The console costs $99, and additional wireless controllers are priced at $49 each.

How does Ouya compare to the PlayStation and Xbox?

Ouya's much cheaper and smaller (it's about the size of a Rubik's cube), and has fewer games right now. It's also less powerful; while it can play 1080p games on an HD television, the graphics quality isn't quite as good as the most demanding current-gen games.

What are Ouya's tech specs like?

It uses the Tegra 3 chipset, which is the same one used in Google's "designed with gaming in mind" Nexus 7 tablet. It also has 8 GB of internal storage, which is about as much as the cheaper Xbox 360 or Wii U models have. This is enough for a couple of dozen smaller games, or a small handful of larger ones. Additional storage can be added via USB.

What kind of games are available for Ouya?

A total of 104 games are available so far, many of them written just for Ouya but some familiar to Android tablet owners. Perhaps the most recognizable game is Square-Enix's Final Fantasy III, which appeared on the Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable before it showed up on Android (and also costs more than most Android games).

Ouya's website says "Eight thousand [game] developers have created developer accounts," and that more games will be coming out in the near future.

Can you make your own games for Ouya?

Every Ouya has a "Make" button on its main menu, which lets you install games that you've either written yourself or downloaded from the Internet. You can use the free Ouya Development Kit to write Ouya games, the same way that you'd write Android games or apps.

What does it mean that they say the Ouya is "open?"

Ouya's website says that "we welcome you to unscrew it and have a look around," and Ouya has partnered with MakerBot to let you build your own custom case for it -- if you can afford the $2,199 MakerBot 3D printer. MakerBot's website does not say whether third parties are allowed to sell custom cases they've printed.

Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.

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