Android-based Ouya Video Game Console Nearing Release

The new Android-based Ouya video game console is getting closer to release. The device is now being shipped to developers who will begin building games for the April 2013 launch.

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Here’s how Ouya works: for $699 developers get the device and permission to code games. Developers are then required to make games that offer some gameplay for free but also provide players with the option of expanding their experience by purchasing in-game upgrades.

In essence, Ouya takes the “free to play” idea and runs with it.

Ouya is optimized for home-grown open-source gaming. It’s the size of an adult’s fist and secured with four standard screws (which makes accessing the hardware a breeze).

Ouya supports up to four controllers and its hardware includes a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB on-board flash storage, WiFi, USB 2.0 port, and Ethernet port.

It runs the Android 4.0 operating system also known as Ice Cream Sandwich.

Although it’s likely Ouya will feature lots of games from amateur developers, several major video game companies are also making games for the device. For example, Final Fantasy developer Square Enix has signed on to build titles for the device. Ouya has also roped in Namco Bandai, arguably best known for its tougher-than-nails Dark/Demon’s Souls franchise.

The Ouya is available for pre-order from the company’s website. The best part: at $109 for the console and one controller, it’s bloody cheap.

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