The $99 Android-based console, Ouya, will start shipping to Kickstarter backers on March 28, this year. Backers who donated $95 (about Rs 5,215) or above—more than 50,000 people—will each get a console much before it hits stores in June. Ouya's Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $8.5 million so far.

Ouya also stated that the production and assembly process has begun and Kickstarter backers can expect an email with their console’s tracking number and estimated delivery date.

A few games for Ouya will be out by the time it is shipped. Kim Swift, who was involved in the development of games like Portal and Left 4 Dead, and Airtight games are together developing a new, exclusive title for Ouya. Tripwire Interactive is porting The Ball to Ouya, and is also working on an exclusive title.

Ouya will be powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core CPU, and will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It will have 1GB of RAM and 8GB of flash memory for storage. Connectivity options include an Ethernet port, an HDMI port for connecting the console to TVs, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. 

The Ouya

The lucky Kickstarter backers will get their consoles soon enough

The developers have tried to make Ouya very hacker-friendly: both the console and the controller can be opened easily, and you can root the device without voiding warranty. An SDK is also included in the package.

The controller is wireless, has two analogue sticks, a d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button and a touchpad. We have no doubt the touchpad will be put to good use when ports of mobile games make it to the console. 

Strangely, the controller runs on two AA batteries, which is disappointing. No one in this day and age keeps a stash of batteries handy, and since the controller is wireless, we have a bad feeling avid gamers may have to replace batteries every few weeks. Ouya could have easily included a standard, rechargeable Lithium Ion battery and made life easier for a lot of folks. 

Preorders for the console began earlier this month. It is available on the official Ouya site for $99 (about Rs 5,303) and will come with one controller; an extra controller will cost you $49.99 (about Rs 2,651). On launch, Ouya will be available at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and GameStop.

While the console seems to be on schedule for launch in June, CEO Juile Uhrman is thinking much farther ahead. She recently announced that the console would be refreshed every year to keep up with the developments in the fast-paced mobile hardware industry, and her team is planning on releasing a new version of the Ouya each and every year.

Uhrman said, “Our plan is to have a yearly refresh of Ouya where we leverage the best-performing chips and take advantage of falling component prices to create the best experience we can at the $99 price point. If we could do it for less than $99, we would.”

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