OUYA hits the gaming market for real

Since Nintendo released WiiU, Microsoft announced its new gaming console XBOX ONE and Sony is ready to deliver the new PS4, new developers are ready to hit the market with new gaming consoles. And what better way to become a well known competitor but to release a console using Android. This means low hardware requirements, a very active community that is eager to develop new games for any Android gadget and free to try products that offers the user a complete view of their quality. Boxer8 is the company responsible for the first gaming console based on Android operating system called Ouya.

Everything started as a Kickstarter project back in 2012 when Julie Uhrman decided it’s time for a change in the gaming industry. Along with designer Yves Béhar and Muffi Ghadiali as product manager, the project became an immediately hit in the Kickstarter community becoming the second highest-earning project. As a result, Ouya became reality and is already being shipped to the first costumers for the price of $99.

ouyascreen

The great value of this gadget comes from its simplicity. A single gamepad and a small block almost the size of a Raspberry Pi brings your TV back to life in 1080p. The ‘free to try’ philosophy promoted for each game released on Ouya’s own marketplace means that you can try the game for free for a limited period of time and if you like it only then you can buy it. All you’ll need is a valid credit card, debit card or redeemable code. Flexibility is another strong point of this console. They are offering a free developing kit in order to give the chance for any game aficionado to develop and publish their own creations.

From the technical point of view, Ouya features a NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage (expandable via USB), WiFi and Ethernet. You can download games, stream videos or music from Twitch.tv, Crunchyroll, iheartradio, TuneIn, XBMC, Plex and Flixster in Full HD quality. An interesting fact is that the company encourages the user to unscrew the device and do some modding without losing the warranty.

The Ouya controller is similar in design with the Xbox controller featuring dual analogue sticks, a directional pad positioned under the left stick, 4 buttons (labeled O, U, Y and A) and the usual back bumpers and triggers. The single-touch touchpad in the center of the controller is the thing that differentiate both gamepads. It may be possible to use alternate controllers but only for compatible games.

On a market ruled by titanic black boxes Ouya is a small ray of light. It is the most user-friendly console on the market with an open minded character giving the user the chance to modify and even root it without voiding the warranty.

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XBOX 720 Rumors

The Xbox 720 is the industry nickname for Microsoft’s next big addition to the console gaming and multimedia entertainment market. Given the popularity of the Xbox 360, it was inevitable that Microsoft would want to build on that success with a new and superior product and the company confirms that it began considering the next generation almost as soon as the current Xbox began to ship.

Rivals Sony have let slip that their own PlayStation 4 will also be shipping sometime in the next couple of years, estimating that it will hit the stores not much later than the Xbox 720 (codenamed “Durango”). Sony have a longer and more impressive track record as a purveyor of addictive games console technology than Microsoft and there’s considerable loyalty among PS gaming fans. Future purchasers will be looking both at the new consoles’ speed and graphical excellence from a gameplay perspective; but the winner in battle of the consoles will also need to compete on multimedia capabilities.

One hot rumour is that the new Xbox will incorporate a Blu-Ray drive. When the Xbox 360 first shipped, the format wars were still ongoing and Microsoft was a stanch member of Team HD DVD. Now that Blu-Ray has soundly trounced its rivals to become the reigning multimedia format, it seems an absolute certainty that both consoles will include Blu-Ray.

Another solid bet is that the new Xbox will have HDMI and Wi-Fi as standard. The Xbox 360 Elite offers HDMI; as of 2012, Wi-Fi also comes as standard. More to the point, the The PS3 already comes with Wi-Fi Ethernet and Bluetooth so we can reasonably assume that the PS4 will, too. To remain competitive, the Xbox 720 needs to match these capabilities.

The Xbox 720’s processor is another major focus for speculation. Rumours that the PS4 would be sticking with the PS3’s Cell processor have been quashed and industry insiders now believe it will employ an AMD x64 CPU. The Xbox 720 will need to compete with that to attract serious gaming enthusiasts. It’s probable that Microsoft will turn to its partner IBM for the latest in processor technology. IBM’s Power6 chip, a dual core 4.7GHz server CPU, would give the Xbox a serious edge over its rival. Rumour has it that the Xbox 720 will contain two GPUs for faster graphics.

Fans who have amassed a large collection of games and a virtual trophy cabinet of achievements needn’t fret. The Xbox 720 will almost certainly be backwards compatible, allowing you to play all your existing games, and achievements you’ve unlocked on the Xbox 360 will probably be carried over too. The Xbox 360 still has a lot to give and Microsoft will certainly continue supporting it after the Xbox 720’s release.

The new console could theoretically stand the gaming industry on its head, capitalising on the ground that Microsoft has already gained in the gaming and entertainment market. A firm launch date has yet to be announced but 2014 seems a likely estimate.

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