A most interesting news appeared today on Twitter, and it’s already shaking the video game world. A new, cheap console named OUYA is being planned. It will be powered by Android, it will cost just $99 and it will be open for hackers to do as they please. Being an Android platform, it will support everything Android devices support today (gaming, web browsing, video streaming, photos, etc.). It will, of course, have a controller, so gaming will not be limited to the mostly touch screen-reliant Android games of today. Developers will have a lot of freedom.
Here are the specifications:
Tegra3 quad-core processor
8GB of internal flash storage
HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth LE 4.0
USB 2.0 (one)
Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
The Kickstarter funding has already reached 25% of the $950,000 goal within a couple of hours… We can safely say the project will be funded.
Provided it is implemented, can OUYA shake the very foundations of the console industry? Could Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft suddenly face a dangerous competitor? It seems unlikely, but I am certainly excited about the possibilities. The latest trends in gaming clearly indicate that an “open” model is the way to go.
SEGA has announced that the sequel to one of the finest online RPGs and a pioneer of the genre, Phantasy Star Online, will be free-to-download and free-to-play. The game model will be based on microtransactions with items and other benefits costing money. However, it will not be required to buy anything in order to progress and there will not be a level cap or any other restrictions for non-paying customers.
PSO2 had already been announced for PC and PlayStation Vita, and now we know that a third version is being developed – one for Android and iOS devices. This version will share character data with the main PC/Vita versions, but will be more simplistic and will not offer cross-platform play.
The PC version is scheduled for a summer 2012 release in Japan, the smart phone version follows in the winter, and the Vita version is to be released in early 2013. The PC version’s second alpha test for the game was recently completed and reached a scale of 50,000 users. A closed beta for the PC version will start in April, with a scale set to 100,000 players.
I am really happy with this news. Since I would not be able to put in more than 10-20 hours of play a month, I was never going to get the game if it had monthly fees. Now it is a definite for me. If it has even half of PSO’s magic, I will enjoy it greatly. I have a total of about 200 hours logged into Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst for the PC (138 on my currently existing character), and I still play it occasionally on Schthack’s server.