Who Needs Original Content? OUYA To Launch With Nintendo 64, SNES And NES Emulation Support

The OUYA Android-based gaming console is getting ready for its debut: the stated beginning shipping date for Kickstarter backers is March 28. At launch, it sill isn’t clear exactly how many software titles the console will offer, but a new report suggests that at the very least, early backers will have emulators to play with on the small, inexpensive console.

OUYA forum admin and owner Ed Krassenstein said in a post on his site that EMUya, a NES emulator, has been submitted to OUYA for review and should definitely be available at launch, and a couple of SNES emulation options are confirmed, including the SuperGNES and the Mupen64Plus Nintendo 64 emulators. The Mupen64Plus project is also said to be available at launch, with the developer behind it posting that it has already been approved by OUYA for inclusion in the official store.

Emulators on OUYA aren’t new in and of themselves. Back in January, footage surfaced of the developer kits of the console running Nintendo 64 games, as well as SNES titles. Emulation support appears to even be sanctioned at the top: the N64 emulator’s inclusion in the actual OUYA store proper means users shouldn’t even have to sideload the titles themselves to get access. We’ve reached out to OUYA to see if it has an official stance on emulation and its acceptability on the OUYA platform, and will update if they respond.

Whether or not it gets the “official” nod, emulators coming to OUYA is a good thing for the upstart. A lot of the apprehension around the console’s upcoming launch centers around how much content it will be able to offer at launch, and the quality of that content. OUYA has been making a point of announcing as many software partners as possible, but it still isn’t exactly clear what the launch lineup will look like when it first becomes widely available for consumers.

Emulators mean that at least early adopters will have a rich selection of software to choose from, even if that content isn’t exactly “legal” to use. But emulators are freely available for virtually every platform out there, including Android smartphones and media center PCs. OUYA might succeed by finally making the tech truly plug-and-play, by integrating it into a set-top device designed to be used from a couch with a gamepad. The appeal will still be limited, but it might be enough to keep user attention as OUYA ramps up for its big splashy retail and wide consumer market launch later on this year.