The Ouya, a $99 video game console powered by the Android operating system. (Courtesy: The Associated Press)
Ouya, a bite-sized game console running on Google's Android operating system, wants to take a bite out of the video game system market long ruled by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.
The console, which went on sale Tuesday for $100, lets players try games for free before buying them, a selling point that Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman likes to bring up since new games for the big three consoles often cost as much as $60 and that's before trying.
"We are definitely disrupting the console market," Uhrman said. "We offer something different."
There are more than 170 games available for Ouya, ranging from the likes of "Crazy Cat Lady" to the more established "Final Fantasy III" from Square Enix, with more to come.
Non-gaming apps include TuneIn Radio. Pricing is up to the game developers and generally in the single-digits. "Final Fantasy" is an exception at $16. While you won't find "Grand Theft Auto IV" or the latest "Call of Duty" among the available titles, there are plenty of others from independent developers who wouldn't necessarily make it on to the dominant consoles.
Ouya is unlikely to make a dent in the demand for high-end video game consoles coming out from Sony and Microsoft later this year, lacking high-end graphics and computing power, not to mention blockbuster games such as the latest "Call of Duty."
But at a fraction of the price (it costs $500 for the Xbox One and $400 for the PlayStation 4), it could appeal to budget-conscious gamers, gadget geeks and those looking for a second or third console.
"We sought to build a $99 game console where all the games are free to try, where any developer whether established or newcomer can bring the games to television," siad Uhrman.
The project to build the console launched on Kickstarter last July. "We brought it to Kickstarter because we wanted to know if anybody really wanted this," Uhrman said.
On Aug. 9, 2012, Ouya's funding period ended with $8.6 million pledged, more than nine times the original $950,000 goal its creators had set out to reach.
More than 63,000 people donated, with 12 pledging $10,000 or more. This May, Ouya received another $15 million, this time in venture capital funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and other VC firms, along with chip maker Nvidia.