Developers are going to get their hands on the highly anticipated $99 console Ouya soon. According to The Verge, the company has started shipping the developer consoles early. Instead of the originally planned date of 28 December, Ouya had started shipping the console earlier than expected, leading to getting the console in developers’ hands earlier than expected.

Other good news for aspiring Ouya developers is that the developer portal for the console has been started. Devs can access all the information they want from the dev portal, along with downloading the Ouya Development Kit itself. Along with the ODK download and information, the dev portal also acts as a forum for those interested in developing for the $99 console.

An early version of the Ouya Developer Console

Devs are getting their hands on it

Earlier this month, Jules Kane had announced that the Ouya would be shipped to developers starting on 28 December. “Of course, when the final consoles ship, every Ouya will be a dev console,” noted Ouya's Jules Kane on the official blog. “What we didn't tell you was that the advance dev consoles you ordered are pretty special – you'll know what I mean when you open yours. They're rare drops.

The dev consoles are an early version of the Ouya, and will have controllers designed for testing games. The company is also testing an early version of the Ouya Development Kit (ODK). When the dev consoles ship to game developers, all developers, including those who don't have a dev console, will be able to get their hands on the ODK through a web portal.

Back in November, the company announced through a blog post that Ouya would be shipping with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The blog post doesn’t give out any more details of the Jelly Bean experience on the $99 console, but it does outline the system’s capabilities. So, game developers can start developing before the dev kits and the SDK for the console are released in December. The post gives a general overview of the game’s hardware, interface, display, payments, software settings, and game art.

Ouya will have a controller that’s similar to a standard gamepad in terms of the number and configuration of action buttons. It will also have a single-touch touchpad that will work like a mousepad does on laptops. The post states that games should use controller buttons for all input. Ouya will not have any back, menu, or volume buttons, but will instead have a system button on the controller, which will bring up a standard pause menu. Ouya will also have a soft keyboard for text input. The controller will be used for entering text with the soft keyboard, though.

The post specifies that on Ouya, developers can’t charge for games to be downloaded. However, developers can include in-app purchases or just give gamers a demo or a couple of levels to play before they’re asked to pay.

It’s also revealed that Ouya is designed to run only one game at a time. This means that there will only be a couple of light services running in the background and the system resources will be available solely for the currently running game.

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