"... the Ouya will now be sold at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and GameStop this June, a tall order for a company as new as hers. And yet, (CEO and founder Julie) Uhrman is thinking much further ahead than June. She tells us that her team is already planning to introduce a new version of the Ouya — with as much mobile processing power as possible — each and every year.
As you might be aware, new mobile processors come fast and furious these days — as Qualcomm's Raj Talluri pointed out in a DICE keynote this morning, we've gone from single-core to dual-core to quad-core chipsets in just two years. And while the Ouya's Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset is no slouch, there's already a Tegra 4 inbound, and at least one developer is already questioning the Ouya's hardware limitations. But now there's no telling there won't be a Tegra 4-based Ouya next year: "Our plan is to have a yearly refresh of Ouya where we leverage the best-performing chips and take advantage of falling component prices to create the best experience we can at the $99 price point," Uhrman tells us.
"If we could do it for less than $99, we would," she adds. Even now, the Ouya should be slightly more powerful than a comparable Tegra 3 tablet. Since the Ouya plugs into the wall with no need to save battery, Uhrman tells us all four Tegra processor cores can run continuously at 1.6GHz. And though some have complained that the console's 8GB of internal flash storage might not hold many games, you'll be able to hook up an external hard drive to the device's USB port.
Uhrman told us that while Ouya will conduct a "light review" to filter out copyright infringement, malware, and pornography, there's no standard for quality. Of course, for developers, that wide-open platform is part of the appeal: "You can be a triple-A publisher, or you can be an independent developer who hasn't released his first game yet, or you can be a student who is just learning the tricks of the trade, and all of you can develop games for the television." How might you find good games in the heap, assuming the Ouya takes off? Uhrman had an interesting response: she wants to curate the Ouya app store based on engagement metrics rather than sales data. "We don't believe it's the number of downloads, or the amount of money spent. It's how many times you play a game in a given period of time, and how quickly you start playing a game. When you boot up Ouya, how many times is it the first game you play? How many friends do you tell about a particular game? These are indicators that you really love a game," Uhrman tells us. Assuming Ouya can easily measure those things, it can use them to rank games. Lastly, where most game consoles have historically bargained to chain desirable games exclusively to their platforms, Uhrman's willing to settle for less right now. "Our goal is to have television-exclusive games," she told us. "Television exclusivity""They may be available on other platforms, but the only place that you can find them on the television is through Ouya." Previously, Square Enix's Final Fantasy III was announced as a TV-exclusive for Ouya, and today Uhrman announced that Double Fine's Kickstarter project Reds will make its only TV appearance on Ouya as well... even though HDMI cables and AirPlay mean that you could probably pipe the upcoming PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and / or Android versions to a television if you really wanted to.