Having secured over $5.5 million in Kickstarter funding, the $99 Rubik's cube-sized Ouya console has a lot of expectations to live up to. Designed as a console with low-cost games aimed at disrupting the console order in the living room, Ouya just announced its secret weapon: OnLive cloud gaming.
When we first got wind that the Ouya was more of a box with the capabilities of a high-end Android smartphone/tablet, only without the constraints of juggling battery life, our faces turned from wide-eyed and mouth agape to saggy-eyed and frowny.
This was not a next-gen console. It wouldn't be capable of pumping out Xbox 360 or PS3-quality graphics, although it's possible to come very close. It was a box that would bring high-end mobile gaming like Shadowgun to the living room. That and Angry Birds.
But, it looks like the team behind Ouya have stood their ground and put money where there mouths are and added what could be the console's saving grace: OnLive.
OnLive will provide the Ouya with hundreds of console-quality games from over 80 game publishers. OnLive on Ouya will also allow gamers to resume playing their games after starting them on PC, Mac, smartphones and tablets. And lastly, OnLive on Ouya will let gamers demo 30 minutes of games like Darksiders II before deciding if they want to buy it.
In short: Ouya will attempt to take a bite out of existing consoles on three fronts: small app-like games, free-to-play games and streaming console-quality games.
There's no doubt that streaming full-blown console-quality games is a trend that will only continue to see grow. Sony's recent purchase of rival cloud gaming service Gaikai and Samsung and LG's commitment to the same service with its Smart TVs indicates that a shift in gaming is coming.
What was thought impossible only a few years ago is quickly becoming the must-have feature of gaming and it's all because people have faster Internet connections than ever before. With cloud gaming services like OnLive, the Ouya doesn't need to spend hours downloading games and doesn't need expensive internal storage because all of the game's data is stored in the cloud.
The men and women behind Ouya are playing it smart and safe by including OnLive. They're hitting the "Big Three" (Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft) where it hurts with OnLive, without the expensive costs.
A new Ouya controller has also been revealed (see top pic). It's not a final design, but it should give you an idea of what your $99 is getting you.