The Ouya: Next Best Thing or Blunder of the Century?

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So, as you may be aware, the developer Boxer8 is working on a new console based around the Android operating system called the Ouya. The Ouya has received a decent amount of controversy in its release for several reasons, most of which have a good amount of legitimacy.

The most prominent critique of the system is its power. Currently boasting the Nvidia Tegra 3 graphics chip and not much else, the limits of this console are definitely a lot smaller than those of what we’ve grown accustomed to. In the first preview of the console, the design of the casing also presents a bit of a design flaw: the fan is completely enclosed. There are no vents anywhere on the case. While this is only a developer kit, this flaw has been, and ought to be, duly noted.

This flaw creates a perfect opportunity to discuss one of the major things that the Ouya has going for it, however. The Ouya is touted as being a completely hacker-accessible console. If you’re unfamiliar with the true meaning of the word hacker, I would refer you to one of the original MIT hacker’s definition. A hacker, in this case, could not only remedy the Ouya’s design flaw, but improve upon it immensely by adding more paths of ventilation. The hacking possibilities don’t just end with the hardware and case, though. Because of its completely open-source operating system, and the alleged ease of rooting, everything down to the software of the Ouya will be able to be tweaked to your liking.

In terms of games, there are 19 confirmed exclusives for the Ouya already, 300 OnLive games, and 80 other games confirmed thus far. This is more than anyone really expected for the fledgling system, with the aid of OnLive being a major proponent of its growth.

While the capabilities of the Ouya and its design flaws are completely valid arguments, they have yet to deter me from throwing my support behind this project. I’m not quite ready to expect the Ouya to be the “next best thing,” but I do believe that there is a large amount of potential in this little Android device, and I look forward to seeing just how it’s utilized in the near future.

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