Android Game Development & the OUYA Game Console

By Vince Matthews

It’s a video-game console that isn’t made by Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft. So who would take on the task (and risk) of building a game machine that would compete with those big three?

Julie Uhrman is a former executive with Gamefly. As a veteran of the video-game industry, she saw an opportunity to launch a new game console with the Android operating system as its backbone. Julie started an OUYA Kickstarter page to raise the money. The results? After raising more than $8 million, the OUYA will be available in June. (Preorder the OUYA.)

This little black box could change the video-game business.

OUYA – The Game Console That Can
When game developers got their OUYA dev kits, OUYA launched a competition (or what they called a “a 10-day game-jam”) with Kill Screen called CREATE to challenge dev teams to produce games for the $99 console. In addition to $45,000 in prizes, developers were incentivized by the possibility of creating an OUYA launch game. There are 166 OUYA entries now waiting to see who gets picked.

For gamers, OUYA marks a great opportunity to get content that isn’t routed through a sometimes cumbersome and demanding approval system. At the same time, don’t look for the first batch of Ouya games to be on the same level as Skyrim. Instead, based on the 166 entries in the CREATE challenge, the games will be more along the lines of Angry Birds or Minecraft. Considering trends in the games business of gameplay over graphics, that’s not a bad thing.

Games like 2 Hando Commando are a throwback to days of the Atari, but even simple games like this can be challenging and fun.

OUYA’s developer pool also includes companies like Capcom and Square Enix, who are expected to bring franchises like Street Fighter and Final Fantasy to the platform. OUYA also marks an opportunity for game developers to really push the envelope with a massive selection of games. (OUYA’s distribution model is said to look more like the App Store.)

Developing for Android
OUYA promises a variety of games, including dungeon crawlers, action RPGs, brawlers, 4-player shooters, TCGs, platformers, word games, puzzlers and “some other cool stuff we just can’t put in a category.”

At DMA, we’re pretty excited to get our hands on the system and have already preordered ours. Be sure to check back in June when we start putting the system through its paces.

The OUYA controller–which will have a touch pad–looks oddly familiar. The company has, however, improved the controller based on feedback from consumers.

If you’re wanting to learn how to develop Android games, you’ve picked the right game platform; Android powers millions of smartphones–and now a game console–and continues growing in popularity.

Spending a week this summer with Digital Media Academy can put you on the fast track to becoming a game developer. DMA offers more than a dozen game design camps including Android game development. OUYA looks like it could take a serious run at Nintendo and Microsoft. So hopping on Android development now could help bring you to the front of the pack.