The little Android-based gaming console that could is in on track for March as promised for Kickstarter backers, but the public launch in June looks to be an equally splashy affair with retail support from some of the biggest U.S. chains. OUYA announced today to backers that it would be selling the console to the general public beginning in June at Amazon, Best Buy, Target and GameStop.
Pre-orders begin today for retail partners (they’re currently live at Best Buy, Amazon and Target), with pricing set at $99.99 for the console and one controller. Additional controllers are available as well, for $49.99 each (the console supports up to four controllers at one time.
OUYA founder Julie Uhrman sat down with the Wall Street Journal to discuss the upcoming launch and some of the details around it, laying out that Kickstarter backers would get their units first, followed by pre-order customers who ordered through the OUYA website in April, and then wide retail release including physical store presence beginning in June. She reiterated some of the details around launch day content previously announced, including the fact that there will be around 200 titles coming to OUYA as of right now, with Final Fantasy 3 one of the premiere titles from launch partner Square Enix, which will feature exclusive content.
Uhrman also revealed that part of the funds the company raised on Kickstarter are going towards directly supporting game development. “There are games that we are supporting today,” she said, but she remained mum about any specific software OUYA itself was backing for the platform. Uhrman also said that while she couldn’t reveal specifics about how many pre-orders the console currently has, the number made since the Kickstarter campaign definitely exceeds the 68,000 backers it picked up during the crowdfunding effort. That, she told the WSJ, was a key factor in attracting big retail partners.
OUYA has come a long way from its origins as a project many were skeptical would ever be anything other than a vaporware dream. The company shipped out its developer units on time, and then worked to redesign the controller in response to user feedback about ergonomics, components used and control location. Now, it looks poised to deliver on its original timeline and hit full scale production shortly after. It’ll be well worth watching how the OUYA competes with this year’s crop of new consoles from players like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, since we’re in a period of transition for each of those companies.
OUYA was created in 2012 by Julie Uhrman, a video game industry veteran who saw an opportunity to open up the last closed game platform — the TV. Julie and an initial team of game developers and advisors brought the concept to life with the help of Yves Behar and the fuseproject, and took it to Kickstarter in July of 2012. It became one of the most successful Kickstarter projects ever, with tens of thousands of backers pledging to...