G+ Exclusive Interview with OUYA's CEO!

Earlier this week, I published a post (http://bit.ly/Qq97lQ) asking G+ for questions they would ask the CEO of OUYA, the upstart Android-based console currently on Kickstarter (http://kck.st/Mfvs9z).  There were tons of great questions from many of you who were interested in OUYA as Android users, gamers, developers, and general technophiles.  I chose the most popular and representative questions and sent them over to Julie Uhrman, CEO of OUYA.  Here are her responses.

Christina Kelly: Thanks very much for taking the time to answer G+ community questions.  There’s a lot of excitement for OUYA on G+ and we appreciate the opportunity to hear from you. 

There are many Android developers and power users on G+, so one big area of interest is OUYA’s integration into the Android ecosystem.  Will OUYA receive firmware upgrades as they come out for “stock” Android, like the recently released Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) update?

Julie Uhrman: Yes, we intend to do Android upgrades. The timing of update releases from OUYA will depend on Android source code release and testing for compatibility with OUYA.

CK: Google recently announced the Nexus Q as an Android-based console for streaming content to a TV, speakers, etc.   Will OUYA share any features with the Nexus Q, particularly the ability to stream music and video from Android phones and tablets to other devices?

JU: OUYA is certainly capable of hosting streamed content for the television.  We’re talking to a number of potential partners, and it’s conceivable that we could partner with companies that stream music and video to expand our offering.  

CK: Are there any partnerships in the works with the Google Play Store or Amazon Appstore, like an “OUYA-optimized apps” section of each marketplace?

JU: Our focus will be on getting our own store right.

CK: G+ users are very interested in OUYA’s specs, particularly the custom-designed controller and the Tegra 3 chipset.  For the controller: is it connected via wireless or Bluetooth, and will the controller APIs be proprietary or available for use with other Android devices, PCs, etc.?  For the chipset: which model of the Tegra 3 will you be using (T30L, T30, T33)?

JU: The current spec for controller is 2.4Ghz wireless (not Bluetooth).  We will be using the Tegra T33 model.
CK: Gamers love getting their hands on the newest and best games, and G+ gamers are no different.  However, one issue with Android app stores in general is that it can be hard to find great niche or indie games in the shadow of blockbusters, particularly if there is an abundance of low-quality apps as well.  Will the OUYA store have content discovery tools for users to find high quality but lesser known games?

JU: Hey—we’re gamers too, so we know this is important.  It’s one of our top priorities. 

We’ve been discussing curation and discovery behind the scenes, and we’ve also received a ton of great feedbacks from the developers who’ve reached out to us and a lot of ideas from the Kickstarter backers as well.  We are currently working on a system to help all the best games find their audience. 

CK: Although the proposed hackability and modability of OUYA is a very refreshing stance for a console, gamers and developers may worry about modders gaining an unfair advantage in MMO environments.  How might OUYA address this concern?

JU: We’re not sure how having a hackable OS or hardware would give one gamer an advantage over another within a game – we’re not opening game code, that’s for developers to decide what to do with, not for OUYA to decide.

CK: Will purchased content be playable even without an internet connection?  

JU: Yes. 
CK: Most of the buzz about OUYA to date seems to have come from the tech community and tech-related social media.  Are there plans to market OUYA to a more mainstream audience when it’s released?

JU: You are right:  A lot of our early supporters are technophiles. I think that’s largely because we made our debut with a Kickstarter campaign that allowed us to fund our development, rather than revealing ourselves later with a TV ad that directed folks to head to their favorite retailers.  The combination of Kickstarter—which I would assume attracts a tech-savvy and start-up curious audience—and our subject matter, a new take on a familiar tech product—really inspired people who care about technology.  Many of our early supporters are game developers themselves, so for them this was an idea that could potentially remove some of the obstacles they face every day.  

Ultimately though, this product has broad appeal:
• It’s priced well and offers consumers a chance to try games prior to purchasing them.  
• It’s beautifully designed and will look amazing next to your television.
• It will feature a wide variety of games, spanning all genres--from RPGs to FPSs--and all types of developers - from established AAA publishers to basement-based indies.  We’ve even announced the first new game, to be built from the ground up for OUYA, Robotoki’s episodic prequel to Human Element. Over time, we hope to see the most creative new ideas in TV gaming come to OUYA.

CK: Finally, how is your engineering team shaping up so far, and are you hiring?

JU: We’re absolutely interested in hearing from great talent.  Information on where to send resumes can be found on our Kickstarter page.  We are especially interested in engineers who know the Android OS.

And there you have it!  Thanks very much to everyone who shared, +1'd, and/or commented on the original post (and this one).  Thanks also to Julie Uhrman and Tiffany Spencer at OUYA for their part in making this possible.  Check out the OUYA Kickstarter page for more information and to pre-order the OUYA: http://kck.st/Mfvs9z .

Full disclosure: the startup I work for, Apportable, is a backer of the OUYA project.

#gaming   #ouya   #consoles  
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