On the surface it all sounds like a really good idea. The OUYA games console is planned to be an open competitor to the likes of Xbox and PS3. It seems so good that it has been crowd funded to the tune of $1 million — but why exactly is it needed? There must be a good reason — after all the wisdom of crowds is never wrong.
The simple answer seems to be freedom.
The company claims that you can do what you want to the machine. A CyanogenMod will allow you to do what you like to the OS and it won't void your warranty. You can hack the hardware or software. However, it is important to note that this isn't open hardware. You can ask for the design and they might or might not give it to you. In the same way the software seems to be open and yet controlled. You have to include a free level for people to play but if you don't — what? The Kickstarter page says
"When we say, “open” we mean it. We've made many decisions based on this philosophy:.."
But it isn't Open Source.
And yet it is so much better than the alternative. Perhaps this is a sign of just how desperate we all are to get away from the control of the big console manufacturers, that we will fund anything that sounds even slightly reasonable.
The walled gardens of Apple, Sony and Microsoft no longer seem the warm and welcoming places they once did (if they ever did)