Can the Ouya game console succeed?
It's hard not to be impressed with the Ouya so far.
First unveiled in July, it's a full-fledged home console system powered by the Android OS. Every Ouya is a developer's kit, turning every owner into a potential developer for the system. It costs $99, hooks up to your TV, comes with a gamepad, and is the size of a Rubik's Cube. Pretty compelling stuff.
And in large part, gamers have agreed. The little console that could popped up on Kickstarter a month ago with the lofty goal of raising $900,000 -- a figure that would have put it in the crowd-funding site's top 15 earners of all time.
It passed that goal within a day. And by the time all was said and done, backers had donated more than $8.5 million, making it the second biggest earner in Kickstarter history.
It turns out, though, that the fundraising might have been the easy part. Over 63,000 people reached in their pockets to make Ouya a reality. The company says it plans to begin sales in the first quarter of next year.
But people expecting the system to have a significant impact on the reign of the Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii are likely to be disappointed.
Ouya, for now, will be sold as an online exclusive, which will limit its exposure to the general public (who buy the majority of consoles). Talks are already underway with retail giants, and if they're successful, it could dampen that problem, but to not have an initial presence at retail will undoubtedly hurt.
A $99 console is certain to turn some heads, but it could still be a hard sell to the masses with no physical games to accompany it in stores. Ouya, of course, relies strictly on a digital distribution model for its software. While core gamers (those who make up the majority of the system's backers) are largely on board for that transition, it's taking a little longer for the rest of the world. The future might be digital, but the present still prefers the tactile sensation of a physical disc.